Nxnwtech X Technology Themed Community Conference Launch

Nxnwtech X is a one day, technology themed, not for profit, community conference to be hosted in LYIT Campus on Thursday 4th June. We caught up with one of the organisers Joe Dunleavy, VP, Head of Innovation at Pramerica to find out more.

Tell us how the conference came about and what it hopes to achieve?

A number of years ago a couple of colleagues came together, Ryan Bradley, John Brady and Paul Wallace to form a tech community meetup here in Donegal called North By North West Tech.  That group meets monthly, is open to the public through meetup.com and covers themes across areas such as AI, Cloud and IoT.  It rotates around a different theme each month and locations in Letterkenny and has also held joint meetups with groups in both Derry and Sligo. It is really well attended and supported by over 700 members.  Based on the success of that working group the founders discussed the idea of having a full day tech conference and floated the idea past the community.  The group loved the idea and a team of volunteers from large companies to start up joined together with Ryan, John and Paul to make the conference a reality.  The vision for it is to drive the technology agenda in the region and it is an event ran by and for the regional community with any money made being donated to local charities.  It would not be possible without the support of the community and partners like LYIT who have been very supportive in providing us with access to their very impressive campus for the event.

Letterkenny has become a hive of activity over the past number of years with FDI companies such as Optum, Pramerica, Sita and indigenous start-ups working together. Tell us a bit about the community?

Letterkenny’s tech scene is buzzing at the moment and is great to see.  There is many vibrant companies and start-ups in the region working on very interesting things.  The monthly tech meetup is well attended by folks from many of these companies and we finish every meetup with a My Startup Story slot where a funder gets some time to share their journey and details of their companies.  What is really nice about that is we have seen companies who started working together off the back of introductions made at the tech meetup.  We have examples of senior tech folks in some of the FDI companies act as mentors to startups and in some case also become customers of those start-up firms as they scale to product offerings.  Another success in the region has seen start up founders who have had a career with local FDI and IDA supported companies and then leave to pursue their own idea and build a company from it.  David Gildea the founder of CloudRanger, that was recently acquired by Druva  is a past employee of Pramerica.  So a real melting pot of talent in tech within the region.

You launched a call for proposals this week. What are you looking for and how can people apply?

Yes the team was delighted to get our site up and running recently with a big thanks to Darragh Coll who built it for us.  The site is critical to be able to provide information about the conference as well as have potential speakers to put their name forward with a proposal for a topic.  We welcome anyone interested in speaking to put a proposal in at this link.  The focus of the conference is tech and business but we know the success of the conference  will be based largely on the quality of the speakers and their topics..

If companies are interested in sponsoring the conference who can they reach out to? 

We are open to sponsorship and have been very excited with the initial commitments we have secured but for anyone interested please reach out to us  at sponsorship@nxnwtech.com

 

 

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

 

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.

Closing Ceremony celebrating Sligo as Digital Town 2019 on 14 October

Closing Ceremony celebrating Sligo as Digital Town 2019

Now in its second year, the IE Domain Registry’s Digital Town initiative promotes awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet in Ireland by its citizens, businesses and communities. By showcasing the efforts of a town which is embracing digital for its citizens and local businesses, the initiative seeks to highlight the economic, social and cultural benefits of the internet to towns across the country, and to ensure SMEs and local economies are realising the full potential of digital technology, particularly e-commerce. It is hoped to inspire other Irish towns to take practical steps towards becoming fully digital.

Sligo Town was chosen as this year’s Digital Town for its achievements in cultivating a truly digital environment in the town, and for its ongoing success in fully embracing digital for its residents and local businesses. IE Domain Registry believes that in showcasing Sligo’s efforts, it can inspire other Irish towns to take practical steps towards becoming fully digital.

During September and October, IE Domain Registry, working with groups in Sligo including the County Council, Local Enterprise Office, Chamber of Commerce,  Business Improvement District (BID), South Sligo Smart Community and Sligo IT amongst others, planned and oversaw a number of digital events for businesses, citizens, community groups and school children.

More Info

cerebreon donegal

Donegal Success Story: Kenneth Doherty and Gillian Doyle, Cerebreon Technologies Ltd

Home is where the support is 

The cost of living and attracting quality employees was behind the move to Co Donegal for husband and wife team Kenneth Doherty and Gillian Doyle who founded a technology company.

“We were looking for an affordable place to set up Cerebreon Technologies Ltd and Ken is from Donegal originally, so he really pushed for the move here,” explains Gillian Doyle.

“I wasn’t sure at first, but we’d spent eight years in Belfast, and we were in Dublin before that, so it was time to give Donegal a try.”

“The cost of living in terms of rent and other major services is much cheaper in rural Donegal which helps reduce financial stress in the early days of a start-up.”

“We’re renting a house in Narin and its 75% cheaper than the equivalent would be in Dublin and 60% cheaper than Belfast. We had to reduce our salaries to the point of survival and setting up in Donegal gave us more time to get the company off the ground,” says Kenneth.

Set up in 2016, Cerebreon Technologies Ltd is based in Ardara, just down the road from Kenneth’s hometown of Narin, where his parents still live. Cerebreon provides an intelligent debt recovery platform for credit providers and advisors needing to drastically increase money recovered whilst meeting regulatory requirements.

“We renovated the premises which has space for 10-12 employees. There’s five based there now, but we chose a building with room for growth as we are hoping to expand in the near future, and we want to keep our headquarters in Donegal.”

cerebreonThere are seven staff members (excluding Gillian and Kenneth) based in three different offices – Donegal, Dublin and Birmingham. Cerebreon recently set up the UK office to shield itself from currency fluctuations that may result from Brexit.

“Lots of people ask when we will move our HQ to Dublin, but we don’t want to and we’re trading with the UK, so there’s no need for us to be in Dublin. We’re very happy with our set up here in Donegal.”

The co-founders say Donegal attracts high-calibre employees looking for long-term jobs. “We don’t get a huge volume of job applications, but we get really high-quality ones, so we find ourselves in a great position as employers,” explains Kenneth.

“A lot of tech staff in Dublin are job-hopping on a 12-month basis, whereas here the cost of living is much more affordable, so we get more experienced people looking to return to the Northwest with their families,” says Gillian.

“No one here is losing two hours a day commuting, so the staff tends to be happier as well and if you’re into outdoor activities, it’s a great place to be.”

Donegal offers the perfect work-life balance, but as founding members, Gillian and Kenneth find themselves working every hour under the sun.

“Our staff have the work life balance and we get the hours get back to do more work,” says Gillian. “We spent most of our time on the road commuting when we lived in Belfast, so it’s great to be able to use that time more productively now.”

Being a Donegal native, Kenneth tries to escape from the office and enjoy the local scenery every now and again. “I like to take advantage of my surroundings whenever I can, so I sometimes go golfing after work, or nip out for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean whenever there’s some downtime.”

Gillian and Kenneth have found their entrepreneurial experience in Co Donegal to be very positive. “Overall, Ireland is an amazing place to start a business and Donegal, in particular, has been very good to us,” says Gillian.

“This is my first time to live in rural Ireland and I was surprised by how much the community backs you. They want to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing. It’s been very positive and encouraging.”

To read more about the Cerebreon story visit cerebreon.com

 

 

 

kieran overstock

Meet the Overstock Team in Sligo: Kieran McGowan – Senior Software Engineer

Kieran Mc Gowan could not have expected that he would find himself working at the forefront of blockchain innovation in Africa from a desk in his home town of Sligo.

After joining the Overstock.com team just over a year ago, Kieran transitioned to its subsidiary Medici Land Governance (MLG), a Medici Ventures keiretsu company, where he is spearheading projects to transform land governance in Zambia and Rwanda.

Overstock has long operated on the cutting edge of technological innovation and its CEO Patrick M. Byrne is determined to fully explore the potential business and societal benefits of blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin.

Byrne identified six pillars where blockchain technology could be used to create a technology stack for civilization– Currency and Central Banking, Voting, Identity, Capital Markets, Land Titling and Supply Chain.

In May of 2019 MLG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lusaka City Council (LCC) that will lead to the issuance of no fewer than 250,000 certificates of title related to real property under the jurisdiction of LCC in and around the capital city of Zambia. One of the fastest growing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka has a population of at least 2.5 million in its metropolitan district.

Through MLG’s blockchain technology, Byrne is addressing poverty in developing countries by enabling people to use blockchain technology to create a paperless land registry. In Rwanda, MLG is using a secure blockchain-based way of establishing land ownership that will allow the owners to treat their land as an asset, raising credit against it, or being able to borrow money to invest in it.

This blockchain technology will allow people to improve their economic well-being by securing their property rights and enabling them to enter the formal economy.

Remarkably, this transformation is led by Kieran and a team of programmers at Overstock’s European base in Sligo. Initially, Kieran travelled to both Zambia and Rwanda to catalogue requirements before building a team in to carry out the projects.

Overstock and MLG encourage their programmers to be innovative and explore the uses of the latest technology. Having this level of autonomy was a significant selling point for Kieran when he decided to join the MLG team.

Sligo’s prime location was another attraction. He was able to buy a house without having to compete with hundreds of other buyers and he is no longer commuting in crammed carriages on the Dart or enduring long drives home. He can enjoy the best of both worlds – the relaxed environment of his home town and the freedom to innovate using the transformative potential of blockchain technology.

tech life ireland 3

Kieran will be speaking at the IDA Ireland Tech Life Balance event at The Building Block on Thurs, 30 May as part of Blockchain Ireland Week.

Find out more on how to attend this great event or watch it live via our Facebook page.

intuity carrick

Carrick based Intuity Technologies announce acquisition of new company

Intuity Technologies, a leading ISO 27001 certified technology company, with offices in Carrick-on-Shannon, has announced its acquisition of Dublin company, Office Technology Limited, a dedicated Managed Print Services company.

With a recruitment drive currently underway, the company plans to significantly increase the existing workforce of 67 in the coming months. Together, Intuity and Office Technology Ltd. will now support and partner over 2,000 customers all over Ireland, the UK, and the USA. The group turnover last year was in excess of €7Million and the company plans to double the size of the business within the next 3 years with further investment and strategic expansion.

Speaking at the announcement today, Gerard Cox, CEO, Intuity Technologies welcomed the acquisition.

“Together, Intuity and Office Technology Limited represent a competitive advantage which will hugely benefit our customers. By delivering secure solutions across all of their business IT needs, we will provide greater choice and growth opportunities for them”, Mr. Cox said.

“At Intuity, our team is at the core of what we do, and people development will be a large part of this growth and expansion plan. This development takes Intuity one step closer to fulfilling its ambition of becoming the largest and best Managed IT Provider in Ireland while further building on our international expansion.”, he continued.

With offices in Galway, Dublin and Carrick on Shannon, Intuity Technologies has been delivering world-class managed IT solutions across Ireland for almost five decades. The company has developed a strong heritage within the highly regulated Credit Union Sector over the past 30 years. Office Technology Limited has been leading the market in delivering state of the art managed print services for over 26 years to its growing customer base. In this time Office Technology has evolved to cater to client demands, now working with businesses of all sizes in all sectors throughout Ireland with strong roots in the Dublin region. Throughout this time, customer service and customer satisfaction have remained a priority for the team.

Intuity Technologies and Office Technology Limited.

Pat Duffy, Director of Office Technology Limited said, “ We are delighted to be joining Intuity. With shared visions and ambitions, we look forward to continuing to deliver the same high standard of service with the added value of increased IT services and solutions for the modern workplace”.

Both companies have partnerships with industry leaders, Intuity are Microsoft Gold and Dell Gold Partner certified and Office Technology are a Microsoft Silver Cloud Partner and boasts over 25 years as one of Ireland’s largest and longest established Canon Gold Partnerships. Intuity is ISO and Cyber Essentials certified and both companies have a shared focus on IT security and solutions, managed print services, compliance and regulation.

More at intuity.ie

 

martin mcgeough firefly

Brexit Case Study: Martin McGeough, CEO of Firefly in Sligo

‘How Brexit has made me innovate’

Martin McGeough of Firefly says Britain’s departure from the EU has opened his eyes to new possibilities for his business.

“Brexit made us sharpen our focus, that’s for sure. But it has definitely made us innovate,” says Martin McGeough, the CEO of Firefly, a Sligo-based company specialising in Podiatric Biomechanics and Orthotic Therapy.

Firefly’s customer base is spread across the UK and Ireland which means the business exports its products and sells a lot in sterling.

That means the pricing model is closely tied to the fluctuating fortunes of the British currency – and the political machinations at Westminster can have a real impact.

But Martin sees Brexit as an opportunity, not a negative pull on his business which makes custom-made foot orthoses – for sale to podiatrists, who in turn give them to patients with ankle, foot or hip problems. The firm also specialises in providing related therapies to treat people of all ages.

martin mcgeough firefly“Luckily, our products do not attract tariffs but we ship through Northern Ireland which is a logistical consideration. However, I genuinely do not believe there will be an issue for us.

“As a first step, we wrote to all our customers and gave them the reassurance that we expect little to change and told them we would absorb any extra costs that may emerge. It was important to give them that confidence.”

Firefly, which employs 25 people also provides crucial therapy and training to ensure the patients get the best possible benefit from the products it supplies.

The company is a highly respected innovator and market leader – in 2017 it brought 200 of the UK and Ireland’s leading podiatrists to Sligo for an industry summit.

“Our mantra, ‘keep moving’ is what we preach at Firefly,” says Martin. “That’s why we see Brexit as providing the impetus to keep developing, innovating and growing.”

With Brexit fast approaching, Martin is convinced that the business can withstand any bumps in the road and he has exciting plans to expand Firefly’s business to other markets and with new services – such as revenue from education and training.

Brexit, though, did make him think closely about how Firefly does business.

“We looked at how we price and what we do. In terms of innovation we asked ourselves could we create an educational revenue stream? So, for example, we looked at Pakistan as a potential new market.”

Pakistan, explains Martin, has a population of over 200 million people, of which 25pc are affected by diabetes.
That causes a lot of health complications, with obesity putting pressure on joints – ankles, feet and hips – which means there could be a massive new market and demand for Firefly’s products, therapy and training.

Firefly may soon also be making its products closer to home. The company currently has products manufactured in Vancouver, Canada and in Indianapolis and California in the United States.

“A direct-spin off from Brexit was making us think about the entire supply chain and we now have plans to bring our manufacturing to Sligo, using the latest commercial-standard 3D printing technology.”

For Martin, Brexit has meant a chance to refocus his business – and prepare for the future. “It’s about being ready and getting in front of the issues before they become problems. We’re looking forward to some great years ahead.”

More at fireflyorthoses.com

david kenny overstock

Meet The Overstock Team in Sligo: David Kenny, Director of Software Development and Site lead Ireland

David Kenny – Director of Software Development and Site lead Ireland

‘Career progression’ is important to David Kenny, Overstock’s Director of Software Development and Site lead Ireland. For him, that’s what a technologist gets when he or she joins Overstock a technology company brimming with opportunity. “We want to attract people who are looking for high-quality work and a high-quality lifestyle” says David.

If you can match that with a workplace that offers solid career progression which increasingly matters to people, we think that’s a pretty unique selling point for us here in Sligo.”

David is himself from Sligo, hailing from Ransboro under the shade of a stunning mountain and local landmark called Knocknarea. He went to university in Limerick and Galway. With international IT experience under his belt including stints at ING in the UK and Netherlands as well as working for global banking giant HSBC, he set up Overstock’s Ireland office in 2013.

“We started with a suitcase full of laptops, a company credit card and a bunch of great ideas. The growth has been very pleasing to a point where we are on track to have a staff of over 120.”

David says Overstock’s vision is to develop its Sligo base as a centre of excellence in software development by adding high-end, quality roles. The roles include backend, frontend, full stack, architecture across the Fintech, Supply Chain and E-Commerce domains. The company is hiring at various levels from junior to senior in areas such as software automation testing, machine learning, and data analytics. Overstock offers all of its employees’ career progression as well as opportunities for continuous learning. David adds: “Our mission is to continue developing cutting-edge, disruptive technology.”

With Overstock working across online retail, blockchain and other disruptive technologies, the future is an exciting one for the Irish teams in Sligo, a place of majestic beauty dubbed by some travel writers as Ireland’s ‘adventure capital’. David and his staff are frequent visitors to Sligo’s surf spots while the Overstock office itself in the heart of a spectacular urban park ringed by mountains and the famed Lough Gill. Ireland’s national poet WB Yeats found inspiration among the waters there. It’s an exciting place for younger people as well as those with families.

“We set the bar pretty high for recruitment we love being able to offer that cutting-edge tech work environment and Sligo’s natural charms which allows people to enjoy life inside and outside of work.“

At Overstock, we go above and beyond to deliver. I guess that’s what we are all about creating great solutions for the company as a whole and a great environment or the people who work here.”

Job Opportunities:

Check out the roles Overstock is currently recruiting in Sligo for in our Jobs Section.

Energise Your Business – how to take your innovation to the next level

You are cordially invited to
FREED Project Event
Tuesday 16th October 2018

9:30am – 2pm
Registration & Refreshments from 9:30am | Event Start 10:00am | Lunch & Networking 12:45pm

DETAILS
Is your start-up business or SME struggling to get an energy innovation to the next level? Then join us to hear from companies that have succeeded in this with the help of the  FREED Project.
Getting your ideas from the blueprints into the markets can be a long, difficult journey, which all innovations and companies are not be able to complete. Various business support organisations and enterprise agencies offer support for starting entrepreneurs and companies, but they do not target energy innovations in particular. However, these are the ones that are sorely needed, as energy is a key driver of climate change.
Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development (FREED) is a three year project funded under Interreg’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. FREED has been supporting SMEs and start-ups working on energy innovations with the aim of getting the innovations faster into the real world, where they can make a difference. The experiences of these SMEs and the support mechanisms developed in the project can help other innovations make it too.

During this event you will hear from:

  • SMEs who have been receiving support from the FREED Project and how it has helped them progress
  • Public Funding Specialist Ian Brannigan (Western Development Commission)
  • Business Angel Investor Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate
  • You will also learn about the FREED Service platform – a funding match-making platform for SMEs, Investors and Enterprise Agencies.

To attend this event please Register HERE