In the context of demographically ageing communities across rural Europe Smart Villages have considerable potential to promote ageing healthy. Whilst in principle supporting healthy ageing in the context of the Smart Village might appear a relatively straightforward endeavour, in operational terms, successful development of smart, 21st century villages relies upon, and sometimes assumes, an appropriate interplay of socio-technological factors. Articulated through a lens provided by the digital ecosystem model advocated by the European Network for Rural Development (2018), this paper offers some observations from the field. We acknowledge the challenges faced by remote rural places in their journey to become ‘smart places’ and identify formal and informal interventions that could better position rural communities to become part of a wider, smart society.
Myriam Hivon, Pascale Lehoux, Christopher J. Longo, Bryn Williams-Jones and Fiona A. Miller
Websites are perceived as an additional communication space where public and private institutions and their stakeholders can interact and develop sustainable relationships. Although public relations scholars argue that both companies and consumers may benefit from virtual interactions, the growing online direct-to-consumer advertising and sale of health-related products has raised social and ethical concerns. Our study seeks to clarify the scope and nature of the virtual relationships that are specific to medical devices companies. Through a qualitative analysis of website, we show how four Canadian medical technology companies sought to enroll three types of stakeholders into their innovation development and commercialization strategies: investors, healthcare providers and patients. Our findings show that by reinforcing stereotypical relationships with investors, the websites maintain certain disconnect between the worlds of business and healthcare, and by creating proactive roles for healthcare providers and patients, they contribute to forge ethically convoluted relationships.