Year in Review for local technology - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Year in Review for local technology

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It was a big year for technology in the region.

Not only did several companies expand, but many added jobs and created their own unique products.

Boosting internet speeds to help local businesses grow became a top priority for many economic leaders across the area.

In the New River Valley, the Network Wireless Authority completed an $11.5 million project in July and extended high speed fiber cables from Wythe to Botetourt County.

Economic experts say it will help them market our area to prospective companies.

"Any company that's looking to relocate or expand, that's one of the first check boxes they're going to look at is what is the internet capability in their community where they're looking to locate," NRV Planning District Commission, Kevin Byrd says.

While the Roanoke Valley is closer than ever to receiving it's own broadband network too.

 The city of Salem became the fourth and final municipality joining the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority. 

 Project leaders say it could take several years, and a lot of money, but based on all the benefits, they say its well worth the wait.

"It will increase the capacity and the bandwidth here to improve telemedicine and those types of things," Salem Mayor Randy Foley says.

While for some technology businesses, 2013 has been their best year yet.

Interactive Achievement, a company that produces software to help educators, expanded and added jobs in Roanoke.

The business received a $3.5 million dollar investment and will add 15 to 20 jobs.

"We absolutely are so excited to be one of the greatest regions in the country right now. We are very lucky we started our company in the state of Virginia and the region of Roanoke and Blacksburg ," Jonathan Hagmaier, Interactive Achievement CEO says.

The company will also be expanding business in four other states.

In Floyd County, leaders broke ground on a new Innovation Center. The facility will offer space to bio-medical and high-tech companies.

While keeping more young people and Floyd County residents in the New River Valley for work.

"We're really targeting innovative companies and leading edge companies,"Chairman Jack Russel says. "We could be talking about biomedical and higher engineering higher applied sciences and advanced manufacturing."

In Montgomery County, Falling Branch Park is now bursting with growing tech companies.

Polymer Solutions is moving in AND investing just under $3-million for a new headquarters.

While the manufacturing company Aeroprobe built a new 20,000 square foot facility and created 40 jobs.

"Any growth has been good," Craig Meadows, Montgomery County Administrator. "We've didn't have a big decline and we are seeing slow and steady growth .It's been very positive."

We've also had the cool technology pop up in our area. 

 Torc Robotics in Blacksburg worked with a humanoid robot to save lives during disaster situations.

PixelOptics in Roanoke made new glasses that let you instantly focus your eyes when you read available to the public.

While a research team from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute helped developed a computer than can be controlled by your brain.

A lot of technology expanding across our area can only make for even better 2014.
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