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Buffalo Niagara in midst of digital evolution

The tech bubble may have burst seven years ago, when stock prices of technology companies plummeted, but the extravagance of the preceding tech bonanza left the United States with a wealth of new innovations and infrastructure.

But what about the Buffalo Niagara region? What did it get? Plenty.

In this, the 15th anniversary issue of Prospectus, we examine how technology -- from the common cell phone to miles of fiber optic cable -- has quietly seeped into almost every business. Factories, small and large companies, schools, agencies and individuals are accomplishing things that would have been impossible just 10 years ago.

Contractors are able to present clients with printed contracts moments after estimating a job; diners can place orders at touch pads; farmers electronically monitor milk production and feeding needs; call center workers have vast product information at their fingertips; shoppers can keep running tabs of their purchases as they shop ... and so on.

Yet for many, technology is a foreign word that makes eyes glaze over. Who can keep track of it all? Besides, it's just for the kids, right?

Not so. Technology is helping overcome the limitations of geography. It no longer matters where you are if your work can be zipped anywhere across fiber optic cable. Lawyers in Buffalo can do work for clients in New York City or California. And doctors and health care systems can use electronic records in a transformation that will improve treatments and reduce costs.

If you think technology is not affecting you, you might not be paying attention.

The Buffalo Niagara region is in the midst of a robust digital evolution. Our intrinsic value propositions -- educated, diligent workers, affordable housing, attractive lifestyles -- are all being magnified by technology.

In these pages you will find stories of how salespeople are improving their pitches with the help of wireless technology, and how house hunters are touring properties without leaving home.

Technology now controls many factory floors, so computer skills necessary for almost all jobs. To meet that need, area schools and vocational programs offer tech training.

Of course Western New York is not alone in embracing new technology. It's the way business is done everywhere. The world has never been smaller, nor opportunities greater.

So do you have an idea to make money in business? Technically speaking, it's all here.

A note of thanks to Deputy Business Editor Richard Haynes, whose professionalism shows throughout this Prospectus.

e-mail: gpotter@buffnews.com

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