News


Danville announces technology push for iGATE, small businesses

Vision is to create 'virtual boardroom'

Two months after outgoing Mayor Karen Stepper alluded to it in a public forum, the Town of Danville has announced its push to create a technology center.

The plan is to create a state-of-the-art technology center that links to the Tri-Valley's iGATE (innovation for Green Advanced Transportation Excellence), and also allows small businesses to teleconference using high definition television.

iGATE is one of 12 centers across the state , said Tai Williams, Danville's transportation services and economic development director.

"The idea is to create new areas like Silicon Valley all across the state," Williams said. iGATE is in Livermore, based out of Sandia and Lawrence Livermore labs.

Danville's plan is to create a virtual boardroom, with life-sized HD video and spacial audio to let people collaborate across distances. The Danville plan will also give business owners 24/7 access to meeting spaces and offices to work with employees and clients across time zones all over the world, and provide support -- everything from packing and shipping to copying machines.

"People don't live in the same time zones," Stepper said.

The final piece of the plan would be a network club lounge, stocked with refreshments, magazines and newspapers and satellite TV.

Williams said a 2005 study showed very small firms with five or fewer employees generated more than $218,000 per employee, and that Danville is home to nearly 20 percent of those firms.

She pointed to one local company, whose owner regularly travels to New Jersey -- home to the bulk of his business, including his warehouse and employees -- which would benefit from being able to teleconference instead of flying there for meetings.

That owner chooses to live in Danville for the quality of life it provides, and by basing his home operations here, he can do business and still watch his child play soccer.

Another CEO could avoid traveling to Los Angeles by taking advantage of the space.

Stepper said many CEO choose Danville as their home because of what it has to offer and have made the trade-off of traveling to allow them to live here.

"These firms are not very traditional firms," Williams said, explaining that their partners are often geographically separated. "They're connected primarily by technology. What they don't have is the ability to meet in a larger office space than a table at Starbucks."

While the town hopes to have something up and running in three to five years, Stepper said it would require a public-private partnership to pay for the space and the technology.

The town is looking for a real estate firm to help find a space, hopefully near downtown, and looking for partners in technology, such as AT&T or Sisco.

She said a partner with the city would have the ability to showcase the space as potential sales tool.

"The town is involved at every level, (but) this is not going to build itself," Stepper said. "This idea is going to require partners."

Comments

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Dec 3, 2011 at 7:34 am

How much will this cost? Why is Danville betting taxpayer money on this idea?

If businesses want to teleconference, why not just use Skype for free?


Posted by [removed], a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

Dear Editor,

There are positives to this action by Danville Government. It illustrated a willingness to look beyond heritage and tradition to invite technology companies to locate in Danville's business district. This communication center will allow Danville's government to be more engaged in global commerce and reverse recent loss of funding that would have brought small footprint technology labs to Danville.

In humor, tradition is the excuse we make for the silly things we do repeatedly. Now, Danville can laugh and move on to participating in our global economy and technology.


Posted by Danville Grandma, a resident of Danville
on Dec 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

Sounds like a fine idea as long as government does not get involved. Haven't we learned anything from the economic mess this country is in? Let private investors do it. If it is needed and can be financially sustainable, the private sector would do a much better job. In fact, if it is so needed, the private sector would already have done it. Stay out of business with tax payer dollars. Keeping taxes low would draw more people to the area than another government run business. BTW, what happened to Danville using taxpayer dollars to buy commercial real estate downtown and competing with the commercial real estate property owners.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Have businesses requested this service? Seems so yesterday. Anyone heard of Skype?


Posted by PSMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

If this is a good idea (and with sufficient need to justify it and pay for it), then let a private enterprise business do it (from start to finish).
The government (Danville) has no right to be starting up a business using taxpayers money to compete with private enterprise.
This is exactly how the Government has become so large/expensive/controlling....and has so financially screwed up our economy today!!!
How do we get our government into control? How do we stop them?
They have paid employees who spend all day long dreaming up these schemes and projects to expand their empires.
Right now, they have two people that they claim would use this concept--although neither person has actually stated that they would use it.
Why wouldn't they just teleconference right from their own home office and home computer? It's not that much money or hard to setup right at home. This is a LOSER concept that us taxpayers are going to get stuck with paying for.


Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Good afternoon,

I think there may be some misunderstanding here, so if I can I'd like to take a moment and clarify an issue that seems to be of concern for those of you posting.

The Town's role in establishing any technology center in the area is one of facilitator and to assist in finding funding partners. This is not a situation of using taxpayer monies to compete with other businesses.

Hope this helps. Any further questions, don't hesitate to contact me or Transportation Director Tai Williams at (925) 314-3313 or twilliams@danville.ca.gov.
Thanks and have a good day!

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336
ggillette@danville.ca.gov


Posted by John, a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 6:47 am

all you people who rail against government funding and ask why not use skype have
A. not read the article
B don't really know what skype is

Go back to standing on street corners railing against government spending while using medicare, the VA and collecting social security


Posted by PsMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:34 am

Geoff, thanks for your comment. I always appreciate it when you give your input and info on a subject.
However, nothing that you have said has relieved our complaint--that Danville (The Town) is spending time, effort, personnel, and money on helping to create and start up a private business venture. Danville is engaging in a "project" and undertaking some "work" (which you have been fairly vague about in details) all at taxpayer's expense. It costs time and money! (Tell us the projected amount!)
Where, when, and how did the majority of Danville's citizens DECIDE that we want The Town to do this project?
That WE think there's such a vital, crucial need for and thereby want a Transportation Director to help setup a Teleconferencing Center? That we think we this center is going to solve our "traffic" problems (or what problems are we addressing?)?
If a Private Business wants to setup a Teleconferencing Center, let them do so! Let them research the "need" and risk their butts on their hunches. Let them pay the money and time to back their "gamble." Let them find their own financing and justify it to careful experienced VCs. Let them spend the time (just like any other startup business), take the risks, pay the costs, and then obtain the rewards (or failure--as in 90% of startups). Let their business stand on its own two feet and support itself without government subsidies.
I certainly hope that Danville is not "financing" any of this and not supplying any "subsidies" (less tax, free x), but I suspect that is in the intentions somewhere.
What most of the writers here are really arguing about is, WHAT IS THE PROPER ROLE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT?
In essence, Liberals believe in centralized, big Government solutions.
Conservatives believe in individuals taking all the actions to solve problems (for profit or for charity....or for whatever drives them internally).
The more "stuff" government decides to do (with one justification or another....and one sob story after another), the more government costs. And that's a problem for the larger economy because government is never a revenue creator, it's an expense.
The more business "stuff" that government engages in, the more it interferes with and competes against private enterprise. And that hurts individuals and their businesses. Ultimately government does a worse job, than private industry, at any business that it touches because it becomes a monopoly with no freedom of choice (kills competition), has worse customer service, has higher costs, becomes a monolithic giant that is slow to change and innovate, saves itself from its errors at taxpayers expense (has no real accountability), creates and perpetuates expensive (low productive) empire-building, and sometimes fosters political corruption.
So every time that any Governmental body (in this case Danville) starts extending its reach and efforts into new fields (in this case, new business ventures), it is leading us down an ultimate path of destruction. One small step after another.
It all starts with somebody's "Good Idea" to take care of some perceived, desperate "need". When the real question should be, how does the original Constitution allow for a governmental entity to be involved in this way? Not "wouldn't it be nice" if....
IMO, Government should limit itself to the smallest scope and size (and cost) that it can possibly be.............and thereby allow as much "individual determination" as possible--where individuals (not Government) undertake the risks and rewards of life by their own choice and effort.


Posted by Danville Grandma, a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

It is wonderful to read these posts and know that more people are trying to rectify the over reach of government everywhere. I still want to know what happened to the commercial property that Danville was purchasing downtown as "blighted" with redevelopment money. Really, is anything "blighted" in Danville. You all may want to know that the property taxes on these "blighted properties" goes back to the Redevelopment agency in the city instead of the county which means this tax money no longer supports our schools etc. as normal property taxes do. This ultimately increases property taxes for everyone else to cover these losses. And what does the local Redevelopment agencies do with the money/profit...... they go out and buy more property to compete with business. There is this rush to spend all this redevelopment money before it is discontinued as it should be. A town like Danville has no moral right to take this kind of money just because it can. This is just another abuse of the system - government spending whatever it can get its hands on. Who manages these properties...some crony of the local politicians? Check out this link to see how the redevelopment money circles around - Web Link . It doesn't explain where they got the seed money to start this fiasco. It's time all of this stopped.


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