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AlumNews: Eagles in the News

1991 - Noah Roberts

Wednesday, October 24, 2007  
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The following is an excerpt from an article that ran on Tuesday, October 23 in The Daily Oklahoman newspaper about 1991 OC alumnus Noah Roberts:
In the world of big ideas, a Tulsa technology startup called Docvia recently was recognized for its quest to connect millions of people worldwide to doctors via the Internet and wireless telephones.

Noah Roberts, Docvia's chief executive, was invited to make a presentation in June at the second TEDGlobal conference in the African nation of Tanzania.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, seeks to recognize big ideas that are innovative and audacious in their scope. The TEDGlobal conference centered on the question of "what are we going to do about Africa?” Roberts said.

In 2006, Docvia deployed its open-source software and expertise to the world's largest hospital in Soweto, South Africa, which serves more than 650,000 outpatients in a community where one in five citizens has contracted HIV.

Wireless telephone use is rapidly growing all across Africa, and Docvia saw an opportunity to connect up to 400 million people there to the health care system.

"The majority of the people on the continent live on less than $3 a day, but they will put minutes on their phones, that is their lifeline,” Roberts said. "We thought, ‘What if we made this same service available around the world, not just in the U.S. health care system.' That idea got us on the TED stage.”

Every year since 1984, the TED conference has provided a forum for innovators to gather and share their big ideas "worth spreading” at an event in Monterey, Calif. The presentations are videotaped and made available for everyone to see on the TED Web site at

TED went worldwide in 2005 with the first TEDGlobal conference held in England. The 2007 conference was held in Africa in June with 100 TED "Fellows” selected out of 1,000 nominated.

"We were thrilled that we were one of the 100, but what was really neat is that out of that 100 only 10 of those Fellows were asked to present,” Roberts said. "We were one out of 10 that got to present, and only three were from America.”

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