Microsoft Philanthropies has set a goal of donating $1bn worth of cloud computing resources to serve the public good across the world.
The commitment involves providing cloud resources to 70,000 non-profit organisations within a three-year period.
Microsoft Philanthropies‘ efforts will also include increasing access to cloud resources for university researchers and helping solve last-mile internet access challenges.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for unlocking the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights, lead to breakthroughs in science and technology and address a whole range of social and economic challenges to benefit people.
He said cloud can also improve communications and problem-solving and help organisations work in a more productive and more efficient manner.
‘Now more than 70,000 organisations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally’
– SATYA NADELLA
“Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organisations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services – the most transformative technologies of our generation,” said Nadella, who will speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today (20 January).
“Now, more than 70,000 organisations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.”
Philanthropy 2016: where the cloud meets the internet of things
Specifically, the new global donation programme will make Microsoft Cloud Services, including Microsoft Azure, Power BI, CRM Online and the Enterprise Mobility Suite, more available to non-profit organisations through Microsoft Philanthropies. The programme builds upon an already successful programme that provides similar access to Office 365 for nonprofits.
Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies will expand by 50pc the Microsoft Azure for Research programme that gives free Azure storage and computing resources to help faculties accelerate their research on cutting-edge challenges.
Microsoft Philanthropies and Microsoft Business Development will combine donated access to Microsoft Cloud services with investments in new, low-cost last-mile internet access technologies and community training.
Microsoft Philanthropies intends to support 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the middle of 2017.
Among the cloud computing work Microsoft does with non-profits, Microsoft Research is working with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) Biodiversity Research Programme through the use of 700 wireless sensors, cloud technology and automated data-stream processing to understand how cloud forests work and study the impact of climate changes on the communities supported by those forests.
In Botswana, Microsoft is partnering with the Botswana Innovation Hub, Vista Life Sciences, the United States Agency for International Development and Global Broadband Solutions to assist Botswana, the University of Pennsylvania and the Botswana’s ministry of health in leveraging cloud-based health records management and internet access enabled by use of TV white spaces to remotely deliver specialised medicine, including cervical cancer screenings to women at rural healthcare clinics.