United Nations AI for Good Conference Announced for Sligo

Trail blazers from the world of Artificial Intelligence alongside international and national policy makers will gather in Sligo for The ‘AIforGood Global Visions’ conference from 25th-27th March. The event which is fully supported and endorsed by the United Nations agency for Information and Communications (ITU), will be the first of this kind to be held outside Geneva.

Keynote speakers include Neil Sahota, Global Lead for IBM Watson, Digital Inclusion advocate Joanne O ‘Riordan, Alessandra Sala from Nokia Bell Labs and Ethical AI leading expert Dr. Kevin Danaher. The conference has been organised by US firm, Live Tiles who have their EMEA headquarters in Sligo and is supported by The Western Development Commission, The Atlantic Economic Corridor, IDA Ireland, IT Sligo, Sligo County Council and Tech Northwest.

CEO of The Western Development Commission Tomás Ó Síocháin welcomed the announcement and said “improvements in technology and developments in artificial intelligence [AI] will bring significant change to the way we live. Welcoming the AI for Good conference to Ireland’s west coast is timely and the conference will explore the ways in which new technologies can improve quality of life for millions around the globe.“

The conference aims to ensure trusted, safe and inclusive development of AI technologies and equitable access to their benefits. Additionally, a priority goal of the Irish event will be to provide recommendations and actions that feed into and influence policy making at the Global Summit to be held in Geneva in May 2020. Attendees can also look forward to AI-inspired performances from the Yeats Society of Ireland and AI-related activities bringing together surfing and sea forecasting, oyster farming and Ocean health, hill walking and cultural heritage activities.

“AIforGood Global Visions will connect innovators in artificial intelligence with problem owners to solve national and global challenges” says Karl Redenbach, CEO of LiveTiles who are partnering with the UN’s ITU agency to launch the event in Ireland. “AI represents not just the biggest economic opportunity that the world has witnessed but an unequalled opportunity to leverage AI technologies for good and to put human-centric policies and design at the forefront of how we interact with technology.”

The 2020 summit is kindly supported by and is run in conjunction with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the UN agency for information and communication technologies (ICT).

A Limited number of early bird tickets for this event are now on sale, alongside discounted accommodation prices from the trusted partner hotels. See www.aiforgoodsligo.ie for more details.

Book Tickets Here 

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact 

Allan Mulrooney, Head of Communications

allanmulrooney@wdc.ie or +353 87 334 3713

 

Leading Retail Technology Innovation From Claremorris

There are not too many indigenous companies operating in the West of Ireland who can count the dotcom bubble of the 1990s and the global financial crisis in 2007 among the challenges they have overcome during almost 40 years in existence – but retail technology firm CBE can do just that.

Indeed, CBE’s consistent success in the ever-changing world of retail payments technology suggests that this business situated at the heart of the Atlantic Economic Corridor is well placed to thrive for another 40 years.

Based in Claremorris, Co Mayo, CBE is one of Europe’s leading innovators in retail technology, serving the supermarket, convenience, forecourt and hospitality sectors. It has a staff of almost 150 people, having started out with just three in 1980.

“In the early days we were just buying third-party software from UK suppliers,” says Sean Kenna, chief executive of CBE. “But it didn’t fit all customer requirements, so we decided to set up our own software development company in 1995.”

CBE is now a one-stop shop for anything to do with retail technology. Every day, shoppers throughout the UK and Ireland routinely use their products when making purchases at cash registers, self-checkouts or card readers in local shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, hotels and a host of other outlets.

“We take on all the various areas around the technology of a retail unit – development of the software, supply of the hardware, project management, training, on-field support, consultancy and ongoing software support. We like to come in at the start and offer a complete partnership approach.”

The company employs 146 people between its offices in Ireland and the UK, with 70 percent of them based in head office in Claremorris. Recruitment of additional sales staff and software developers should see staff numbers rise to 150 soon.

Sean joined CBE as a sales rep in 1980 and was its managing director for 15 years before becoming CEO in late 2016 – after company founder and chairman Gerry Concannon stepped back from the role.

Claremorris was initially selected as the location for CBE because it was well positioned for a company aiming to drive sales across Connacht, but the town has continued to serve CBE well even after its business horizons took on global dimensions.

The opening of Knock Airport in 1985 – as well as its ongoing expansion ever since – was a major boon for the company as it built its UK operations and motorway access to Dublin has also been a benefit.

“Then, Claremorris was one of the first towns to get high-speed fibreoptic which meant we could expand our support hub here and not have to move to a bigger centre,” Sean says. “We have over 30,000 terminals that we support every day, so we need very fast communications infrastructure.”

During the dotcom era it could be difficult to attract staff as software developers were drawn to the cities, and it took tenacity to negotiate the financial crisis.  A determination to retain staff through that difficult time paid dividends. “When the recovery came around, we didn’t have to recruit or retrain. We had some very high calibre people ready to hit the ground running,” Sean says.

Fast forward to 2019 and CBE is well established in its main markets of the UK and Ireland. It also has a nationwide contract with KFC in Denmark and is increasing its reach through consultancy services in Europe and Asia.

CBE is currently recruiting as it develops large projects with companies in the global oil industry and Sean is confident that its ongoing success and attractive and affordable location will draw in high-quality candidates as people increasingly look West to combine challenging careers with a better quality of life.

Claremorris was an ideal location for CBE when their commercial ambitions were limited to Connacht – it still is as they continue to expand around the world.

 

Major funding for Mayo Gaeltacht

Major funding for Mayo Gaeltacht

Eachléim in Co. Mayo is celebrating a major funding announcement by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring. The €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, a key component of Project Ireland 2040, will provide a tourism hub on the Erris Peninsula in the north Mayo Gaeltacht.

This is a strong Gaeltacht area rich in tradition and culture and Eachléim will act as an orientation point for visitors to learn about the area’s cultural and natural heritage attractions such as Blacksod Lighthouse. The aim is to provide a tourism incubation space and support the development of craft enterprises.

The area has many attractions including extensive unspoilt beaches, with Mullach Rua and Elly boasting Blue Flag status, and a choice of sheltered crystal clear waters off the eastern shore, and a more exposed western shoreline which is ideally suited to wind surfing, canoeing and sailing.

For any businesses thinking of relocating to this amazing area Údarás na Gaeltachta can offer plenty of support with a range of incentives to start up, develop, expand or even diversify in a new direction.

 

The Carbon Neutral Life on the West Coast

The Carbon Neutral Life on the West Coast

 

Under the Paris agreement, the EU has committed to carbon neutrality by the second half of the 21st century. A remarkable hotel in County Clare should be an inspiration to all small business to help achieve this goal.

 

Hotel Doolin in Co Clare became Ireland’s first and only carbon neutral hotel.
Recently, the hotel changed its electricity from brown to green meaning their electricity consumption is carbon neutral. They also changed from oil heating to an air to water heating system in July 2018 and are already see the positive effects this had their carbon footprint.

The hotel has committed to planting 10 trees per wedding. As it hosts approximately 90 weddings a year; that’s a total of 900 trees per annum. For them it is so important to protect the wonderful environment that they truly value living and working in.

Speaking with Áine Martin, Hotel Doolin’s Green Team Leader to us “We aim to purchase 70% of food produce from a 50km radius of the hotel”.

In order to offset their carbon footprint even further, the hotel work with the charity Hometree. Hometree are founded on a pretty basic idea, plant more trees. Based on the Atlantic coast, they first started a community garden, in an unused plot of ground about 100m elevation and about 600m from the coast. When they planted the first apple trees they were told they were mad, trees would find it difficult to grow here, but that wasn’t the case, they grew tall and strong and produced delicious apples. This was their reconnection to trees, seeing the birds come back and the soil in the garden improve, biodiversity, more life on the hill and the seeds of change blew in all directions. They are a group of people inspired by the lack of trees in County Clare and hope that they can do their part in regenerating and reforesting this beautiful and mythical part of Ireland.
They welcome all to come and enjoy the trees that they’ve planted and to enjoy the forest as it grows and more life returns to it.

Hometree are engaging the wider community and ethical businesses. On their 67 acres they plan to plant over 60,000 trees. The long term plans are to build a nursery within the grounds, collect all of the seed and plant them close to where the seeds fell, so completing the loop closer to how nature would do it.

Another organisation working with Hometree are Vanderlust. Vanderlust are the closest physical business to the land where the trees are planted, enjoying the outdoors and nature is their main priority, so caring for it is paramount.

They pledge to donate 1 tree for every 100kms covered by their rental vans every year. To date they’ve over 500 trees planted.

Green is the new Black

Before you buy anything this Black Friday remember that Green is the New Black

 

A national campaign encouraging consumers to buy Irish goods on one of the busiest shopping days of the year – the last Friday in November – has been launched. The call to buy Irish, gift green and support Irish-made goods and services this Christmas is intended to keep money in circulation in the local economy, protecting jobs and public services.

 

As a nation we have enthusiastically embraced the American concepts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. An estimated €250m is forecast to be spent by Irish shoppers on Black Friday, split almost equally between online and high street retailers. But if the nation chooses Green over Black this year, it will be the small independent shops and manufacturers which will benefit instead of the large corporations.

The  #greenfriday initiative is backed by many trade associations including the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Retail Excellence and Chambers Ireland.

On November 29th, the Green Friday campaign will ask people to input to the local economy, support jobs and help nurture the country’s creative community, manufacturers and service providers by buying Irish.

If you’re heading into town or shopping online, why not try to support the work and livelihoods of small independent shops, craftspeople and designer-makers from across the west of Ireland.

The Small Firms Association Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, says that Christmas can add a major economic boost when shoppers back small businesses and help maintain jobs.

He said: “If each adult spent just €20 extra in small local businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of over €73m for small firms and would have a huge, positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of town and village centres.”

The DNA of many small towns and villages in the west of Ireland has been affected by online retail which often switches the focus away from local shops and retailers. It’s time to give small producers a big chance and, in the process, help rebuild our towns and villages.

This year, why not make it your Christmas wish that all your gifts are locally sourced?

Science Week Festivals 2019

Science Week Festivals 2019

 

This year Science Week is running regional festivals offering a range of opportunities for the public to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM). The festivals will feature family open days, schools outreach events and public talks.

 

Each festival involves a programme of events which celebrates science and research in the community. All festivals will be running numerous events so it’s guaranteed there will be something for everyone. It’s always a great event.

In Galway check, out the Galway Science Exhibition Day on Sunday 24th November, in NUI.
It’s a fantastic one day celebration and promotion of STEAM with over 80 interactive stands, 30 shows and workshops. In here you’ll find Lego, Chemistry, DNA, Teddy Bear Hospital, Star Domes and animation to name but a few of the activities. Well worth a trip! You can book tickets here.

The Sligo Science Trail is running until Sunday 17th November. The IT Sligo Faculty of Science have this year teamed up with Green Campus to pose Climate, Environmental Science and Technology questions.

The trail runs through the city centre with science objects and clues in shop windows, you need to pick up a map from any of the shops or, if you’d prefer, download it here and start the hunt. Can you find all the clues and complete the trail? After you complete the trail, drop your maps into Fabio’s Ice cream shop in Quayside Shopping Centre to enter the prize winning draw for an Oregon Home Weather Station.
While you’re there you should ask Fabio about The Science of Ice. An ice cream is actually quite a complex and multi-faceted composition, it should be solid, yet soft, and should stay that way while melting slowly. The reasons for the delicate and mesmerising nature of ice cream is ultimately a matter of food chemistry! Just ask Fabio.

Exciting Plans are underway at this year’s Mayo Science and Technology Festival. Culminating with a Family Open Day in GMIT, Castlebar on Sunday 17th from 11.30am. The Open Day will feature an exciting blend of fantastic interactive shows such as The Animal Encounter Zone at the National Reptile Zoo, The Scientific Dilemmas of Dippy the Dinosaur, Scientific Sue, The Exploration Dome and industry demonstrations where you can try out the exciting ‘Dream Flyer’, hands-on workshops such as Madlabs, Our Sun and Other Stars, Building Robots, presentations such as ‘How to Speak Gorilla’ and ‘Drone the Future and Satellites’, plus loads of free-giveaways.

There’s something for all the family here and all events are Free of Charge with free parking on the day.

Free Public WiFi in Galway

Across the globe, many cities are recognising the value of offering free internet throughout the city zone. A new extension to Galway’s free WiFi sees it expanding from 13 to 35 access points, making Galway Ireland’s largest WiFi connected city.

During 2019, the most popular on-the-go smartphone activities were getting directions and finding new restaurants. These are activities that support commerce in the community so making them cheaper and handier makes good business sense for a city.

Evidence suggests that public WiFi increases footfall and encourages people to spend more time in the area. And this increase on the streets converts to more business being done in the shops, bars and cafes around the city.

For business people on the go, free WiFi is crucial for conducting meetings in public places or simply staying on top of communications whilst on the move.

This free connectivity is also extremely important for attracting and retaining younger residents.

Galway’s public WiFi adds value to facility rentals, and is a huge bonus for attracting and supporting fairs, festivals, sporting events and meetings.

From a tourism perspective, the splash screens that users see when they log onto WiFi can give a good overview of things to do in the city, events the Council wants to promote, or they can be used to direct users to a business.

Free WiFi really does further underpin Galway’s credentials as a visitor, customer and business friendly city.

Galway company wins ‘Irish Times Innovation of the Year award 2019’

Galway company wins ‘Irish Times Innovation of the Year award 2019’

We have a look at the life of Brendan McCormack, Vice President of Quality with Atlantic Therapeutics, the company which just won two prestigious awards at the ‘Irish Times Innovation awards’ 2019.

Like all success, this hasn’t come from nowhere. Galway based Atlantic Therapeutics – a spin-out from the Bio-Medical Research Group, the company behind the well-known global brand Slendertone – are currently operating in a range of European markets such as the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

They recently finalised distribution deals in Scandinavia and are making massive inroads in the US. The company develops medical devices, related software, apps and connected health technologies and won this prestigious award with their breakthrough device, Innovo.

Brendan and Jenni on their wedding dayBrendan tells us why his move to this ground breaking company has been such a good one for him professionally and personally: “Before I made the move to Atlantic Therapeutics two years ago, I was working for a different medical devices company and living between Dublin and Limerick. My career path at that time looked like taking me to either Dublin full-time or London. I felt I was being swallowed up into the city and it was something I wasn’t really into. Around this time, on a night out, I met what turned out to be the love of my life and my future wife, Jenni. She was based in Galway and entrenched in its local scene. The more time I spent in Galway with Jenni, the more I saw what I was missing out on and I thought – ‘I only have one life, I can’t let it pass me by.'”

Brendan started to look around to see what was available in his industry and after a short while he was asked to Join Atlantic Therapeutics as Vice president of Quality, a promotion from his previous work. He still travels the world, but he has a great home to come back to. With both the city and the motorway on his doorstep while still in the countryside, Brendan enjoys the best of both worlds.

Now with a home and garden that would be hard to equal in Dublin or London, Brendan is able to enjoy his down-time properly when he gets it!

Brendan enjoying the west“You’ve got to love it. I live in Kinvara, I’m only a twenty minute drive to work, where I can park on my doorstep. I’m down the road from the culture hot-spot that is Galway with its abundance of restaurants, theatre and gigs and I just have to stroll out the door to some great walks.

I love the positive impact of a rural community, there is a vibrancy and a quality to life that is completely different to anything else. I love the fact I didn’t have to take a step backward to be here, working with Atlantic Therapeutics has been absolutely the perfect step forward in my career”.

Two of the top five Irish Times Awards were won by finalists in the west of Ireland, it’s just another example of the wealth of opportunity in the west, not only for entrepreneurs, but also for those hoping to join already established firms in a large variety of employment.
The other winners were, PEL Waste Reduction Equipment, based in Balla, Co Mayo, who won the ‘Manufacturing and Design’ category for their innovative solar-powered compacting litter bin, BriteBin.

Lead picture credit: rte.ie
Go Connect with Go Remote

Go Connect with Go Remote

Go Remote says that 69% of people don’t work remotely because they don’t know how to. Yet there are hundreds of jobs available in office-less companies.

If you work remotely or are interested in trying it, the national meet up on 1st and 2nd of November in Kinvara, Co Galway, offers lots of ideas with talks and workshops around facilitating and supporting remote working. Interested? Book your €10 ticket here.

Get smart: create your own marketing videos at the touch of a button

Get smart: Create your own marketing videos at the touch of a button

Creating video content has become a huge part of every business’s marketing plan.  And you don’t have to be an expert to deliver simple but effective videos to promote your business using your very own phone.

Barry Murphy’s half day training course will walk you through filming and editing footage on your smartphone. You’ll learn what and where to shoot, how to add voiceovers, text and music and how to use editing software such as VideoShop and Filmora to produce a fully-fledged marketing video for your business. He will also show you how to upload your video to YouTube and give tips on how to ensure your video gets seen.

The training will take place at The Hive, Carrick on Shannon on Thursday 31st October and Thursday 7th November from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is only €20.

To find out more click here