Today’s activities in Prague were focused on the launch of the commercial Secondary PC pilot in the Czech Republic. We spent some time with our partner Boxed Ltd. who, through the Community MAR Program, has been helping us deliver refurbished, branded computers loaded with Microsoft software to NGOs and educational institutions. The commercial pilot means Microsoft and Boxed are extending these offerings to consumers and small businesses. You’ll see from the video below that the Boxed headquarters is piled from floor to ceiling with PCs in different stages of the refurbishment process. Founder Josef Dostal gave us a quick tour of their facilities and talked about how the secondary PC market has flourished since the early days when he ran Boxed out of his dorm room.

 

When discussing the success of the MAR program, much of our conversation focused on providing schools with affordable refurbished PCs, but our Czech team wanted to make it clear that schools aren’t the only institutions that benefit from these programs in the region. Social service organizations for the elderly with limited budgets are a key recipient of refurbished PCs in the Czech market.

 

Data from 2005 shows that people over the age of 65 represent 14% of the population in the Czech Republic and the forecast for 2050 is 30%.  To get a feel for how this segment of the market uses computers we headed over to the lab at the Center for Social Services where men and woman over the age of 70 are offered free computer access and technology classes. The computer lab was packed when we arrived and we learned that many of the center participants use the computers to stay in touch with their children and keep up on current events.

 

I’ve pulled together a video about today’s events below – you’ll see Michael Rawding talking with Josef Dostal of Boxed, a Boxed worker in the midst of the refurbishment process and some quick shots at the Center for Social Services.

 

-       Greg Macris, Director, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group