By Tim Leeds
Havre residents have a chance to learn more about what modern technology the area has, what is used and what is wanted.
Bear Paw Development Corp. is putting the final touches on the results of its technology survey held earlier this year. It will present the findings at a meeting at the Holiday Village Shopping Center Tuesday night. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the center's community room.
Craig Erickson, Bear Paw Development planner, offered a sneak preview of the results.
"There needs to be some education done in our community about what technology is available," he said.
Only 122 businesses returned the surveys from more than 600 distributed, Erickson said. The most common responses from people who didn't return the surveys were that they didn't understand the questions, or they didn't feel that computers and Internet technology would ever be an important part of their business, Erickson added.
The reason Bear Paw conducted the survey was to find out what businesses do with computer technology.
"If it's nothing, we need to know that too," Erickson said.
The responses vary widely in content, he added.
"We're all over the place," he said.
Some people have extremely sophisticated computer businesses, doing direct business-to-business transactions online.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who have computers and use dial-up Internet access, but don't see how it can impact their business, he said.
"And that's OK we have to start someplace," Erickson added.
Erickson hopes the survey, or one like it, can be conducted again in a few years. The changes in knowledge and desires could be very interesting, he said.
Kate McMahon, president of Applied Communications in Great Falls, helped conduct the survey. McMahon will help present the results Tuesday.
Although Applied Communications has conducted many similar surveys around the country, McMahon said this is the first technology survey of its type conducted in Montana, according to Erickson.
The survey asked a series of questions to business owners about what computer and Internet technology they use and what technology they'd like to start using. Part of the results will be an inventory of what infrastructure, hardware and use is in place.