Winston-Salem is emerging as a leading technology center for health care, research, science, and advanced manufacturing. The Piedmont Triad ranked 28th nationally in a report of high tech job creation from 1992-97. The 2000 study indicated Triad companies created 17,615 new high-tech positions–more than Raleigh-Durham, Nashville and Indianapolis.

Local venture capital funds have been established to invest in promising technology companies. The top six targeted industries for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are Life Sciences, Plastics, Medical Products Fabrication, Electronic Assembly and Headquarters/Services.

WiFi on Fourth

In April 2003, Winston-Salem launched “WiFi on Fourth” which offers free Wireless Internet access along Fourth Street between Spruce and Main streets. People in restaurants and businesses along Fourth Street can access the Internet through high-speed connections and enjoy browsing the Web, checking and sending e-mail, or chatting through instant messaging services. When the city launched “WiFi on Fourth,” Winston-Salem was the first city in the nation to offer free wireless Internet access in a downtown area.

WiFi on Fourth uses the 802.11b wireless network standard. With the service, people with personal digital assistants or laptop computers with wireless modems that use the 802.11b standard can access the Internet.

Recently, Public Technology Inc. awarded Winston-Salem with its 2003 IT & Telecommunication Solutions Award for mid-sized cities for WiFi on Fourth.


WinstonNet is a high-speed fiber-optic communication system that links the schools, libraries, city and county government, medical centers, the Piedmont Triad Research Park, and local industry. WinstonNet operates under !deaalliance’s guidance. First conceived in 1997, WinstonNet today comprises a 25-mile fiber-optic ring connecting Wake Forest University with Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem State University and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System. The connection will soon be completed with the county’s public library system as well as other county and city governmental offices and the Chamber of Commerce. Future connections will include Salem College and the N.C. School of the Arts.

WinstonNet also hopes to serve at-risk or under-served populations with computer access and training. Winston-Salem State University — through its foundation — is providing wireless services via WinstonNet to five local churches. These churches, in turn, offer computer training in their neighborhoods with students from WSSU and Wake Forest providing technical support and assistance.

Piedmont Triad Research Park

Piedmont Triad Research Park (PTRP) is a unique campus-style development in downtown Winston-Salem. This world-class research environment is a collaborative effort between academia, government and the private sector, with developable sites to accommodate up to 300,000 square feet of lab and R&D buildings. PTRP provides value added services to growth companies by offering office and laboratory space in a highly interactive, master-planned, advanced technology community. The primary targets for the Park are the small-to medium-sized, high-growth technology companies focused on imaging, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, medical devices and information technologies.

The anchor of the Park is The Piedmont Triad Community Research Center (PTCRC), which houses the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Within this department is a newly acquired molecular biology core unit which is available to private sector companies located in the Park. PTCRC is also the home to the Department of Life Sciences of Winston-Salem State University. WSSU faculty members are involved with education and research in Biology, with a concentration in Molecular Biology and medical sciences.

Technology Links
Idealliance (Piedmont Triad Research Park)