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Apple smartwatch reportedly has October launch and 2.5-inch screen

Apple smartwatch reportedly has October launch and 2.5-inch screen

If sources close to the company are to be believed, the first Apple smartwatch will be launched this October and will feature a 2.5in screen with the ability to wirelessly charge it.

According to the source close to Reuters, the company will begin production of the wearable tech in Taiwan usng the manufacturers Quanta Computing who will hope to be shipping 50m units in the first year of its launch.

Currently under trial production, the as-yet un-named smartwatch could also contain a pulse sensor with a screen supplied by LG, at least for the first batches of test products.

In terms of usability and functions, the watch will be able to perform a number of tasks independently, but similar to its competitors, will need to be paired with an iPhone to use any messaging or voice calls.

While it’s not confirmed when exactly the first production of the devices will begin but from the leaking of this news to Reuters it would be presumed that they have entered the stage of testing before mass production, if they are to follow their target of an October launch.

It would appear from the information leaked that apple’s incarnation of the smartwatch is not too dissimilar to its competitors but further details are expected to become more clear in the coming weeks and months

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Digital Hub announces partnership with Cork Health Innovation Hub

Digital Hub announces partnership with Cork Health Innovation Hub

Dublin’s Digital Hub has announced a partnership deal with Cork’s Health Innovation Hub (HIH) which will see four Cork health-tech companies working out of the Digital Hub.

As part of the Digital Hub’s Connected Health programme, the four companies planned to take part in the partnership will be supported to identify and establish appropriate ‘test-bed’ hospitals and healthcare settings for the products and services they are developing.

The four companies of the partnership include:

  • Sláinte Healthcare, which focuses on technologies that enable paperless hospitals. 
  • Vidscrip, which aims to facilitate healthcare providers to easily create and deliver video prescriptions.
  • SilverCloud Health, which provides online therapeutic solutions using the latest technological tools. 
  • KJAYA Medical, which delivers medical imaging and workflow solutions through cloud technologies.

It is envisaged that the HIH will act as a broker for these companies and will facilitate them to build relevant links with industry, academia, government and clinical players. 

The location of a designated HIH project manager at The Digital Hub, meanwhile, is intended to open participating companies into an ecosystem that exists at the hub and connections already in place with key healthcare stakeholders as a result of the Connected Health programme.     

Commenting today, Edel Flynn, CEO of the DHDA, said: “The aim of Connected Health is to promote the use of digital tools in enhancing healthcare offerings. We began meeting with the Health Innovation Hub earlier this year, and we immediately saw the potential for synergies and collaboration between our two organisations.

“We are delighted with this partnership, and – over the coming year – we look forward to working together to support a number of tech companies whose focus is on healthcare products and services.”

Earlier this year, the HIH Cork demonstrator – under its second call for innovative healthcare solutions – selected 18 company projects.

Fourteen of these are being directly managed by the HIH demonstrator, while a further four projects were selected for HIH support in collaboration with a partner who would provide added value to the projects.

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Dublin is the centre of tech renaissance

Dublin is the centre of tech renaissance

Dublin’s economic revival starts at places like 23 William Street South.

The two-century-old building is filled with technology startups in the heart of a city once dominated by bankers and real-estate agents. A year ago, the four floors and basement lay vacant after the country’s worst recession since records began in 1948.

“It’s very doubtful we would have been able to get this building in this location a few years ago,” said Conor Stanley, 37, one of three founders of Tribal.vc, the venture-capital company that took a 10-year lease on the property and now rents space to 20- and 30-somethings fighting to found the next WhatsApp. “The drop in rental prices allowed it all to work.”

Already host to U.S. companies like Google Inc. and Intel Corp., partly attracted by a 12.5 percent corporate-tax rate, the city is playing catch-up at the other end of the industry. Surveys show Dublin lags behind London, Berlin and Tel Aviv as a base to build tech companies. A report commissioned by local leaders found a “lack of ambition” to create a European startup hub.

“It will always be a double-edged sword,� said Barnaby Voss, 32, co-founder of Blikbook, an online tool for university teachers to manage their workload. He moved to Dublin from London last year. “On one hand, the big international companies add to the buzz around Dublin. On the other hand, it can be difficult to hire staff. People will tend to accept a big offer from a Google over startups. It’s a safer option.”

About 105,000 people work in technology in Ireland, up from about 75,000 in 2009, accounting for about 5 percent of all jobs, according to industry association ICT Ireland. In Israel, called the “Start-Up Nation” in the title of a 2009 book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, about 10 percent work in the industry.

In Ireland, three-quarters of tech workers are employed by multinationals. Dublin didn’t make the top 20 in the 2012 Start- Up Genome Report ranking, compiled by San Francisco-based Compass Inc., which collects data on technology companies.

Against that backdrop, city authorities are seeking to hire a startup commissioner for two years, having studied London and Santiago in Chile – both in the top 20 list.

“We need someone to be an ambassador, a champion, to be able to shout about Dublin a bit,” said Patrick King, policy and communications manager at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. “If you look at Startup Chile, for example, they make that story come alive a bit more.”

In the shadow of the Guinness Brewery, where the smell of hops lingers in the Liberties neighborhood, sits a campus called the Digital Hub. After a failed collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the government turned a space into a workplace for about 70 tech companies.

Down the River Liffey toward the docklands zone is Wayra, an accelerator pioneered in Latin America and owned by Telefonica SA. It houses 10 startups in the Spanish phone company’s Irish headquarters close to the area known as Googletown. William Street South, a hive of the city’s hippest bars, cafes and fashion shoots, lies in between.

Sitting next to the Miss Fantasia sex shop and close to Grogans, a bar frequented by some of Dublin’s best-known writers, No. 23 mirrors the rise and fall of the economy.

In 2007, the height of Ireland’s real-estate boom, Anglo Irish Bank Corp. provided financing for a company controlled by one of the city’s largest developers to buy it.

The developer later went bust, and the building ended up with the National Asset Management Agency, set up by the government to purge the financial system of commercial real- estate loans.

Tribal signed its lease in December after the previous tenant, a coffee-shop company, went bust. The company pulled up carpets, whitewashed the floorboards and walls and filled the building with Ikea furniture. The stone staircase is stripped bare, Batman posters lean against a wall, and in the basement a red light flickers to signal when the cubbyhole for making private calls is free.

Each Thursday, Tribal hosts a lunch for the companies in the building. On a mild afternoon in May, about 20 people gathered to eat bagels, drink bottled water and listen to new arrival Simon Dempsey discuss his travel website LikeWhere.com.

Wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, the bearded 37-year-old tells his audience that feeding the pigeons in San Francisco is illegal but there’s a hotel in Berlin with coffins fashioned into beds.

“We found a few great spaces around Dublin, but the terms just never really suited,” said Dempsey, who moved back to start LikeWhere after 10 years in Leeds in the north of England. “Landlords want long leases and that just doesn’t really suit startups.”

Across the city’s leafy Georgian squares, Blikbook co-founder Voss reckons Dublin is about 25 percent cheaper than London to establish a startup. Rents alone declined about 60 percent in the wake of the real-estate crash.

A dozen people work in his Mount Street office, between Enterprise Ireland, the state agency that invested in the company, and the cobblestoned square of Trinity College Dublin.

“Rents in London are crazy,” he said. “In Dublin, you can have a nice office in quite a prestigious area as opposed to a dingy warehouse in the middle of nowhere.”

The downside is finding staff. Google employs about 2,500 people in the city. Housed in an old cinema, Twitter Inc.’s European headquarters are a bike ride away, while accommodation finder Airbnb Inc. is hiring. Pay in technology companies rose 6 percent last year, underscoring demand for talent even with the nation’s unemployment rate at 11.8 percent.

A solution for the entrepreneurs is the model employed by established companies: Half of Blikbook’s workers are from outside Ireland, coming from as far away as Ukraine.

About 20 percent of the 56 people working on William Street South are from overseas, and that number may rise as two more startups prepare to move in. Charging 250 euros ($340) a month per desk to break even on the project, Tribal has had to turn away more inquiries as projects proliferate.

“We’re not looking to make a profit from the building,” Stanley said. “We had some upfront spending. We may get that back, we may not. But it suits us because we are creating this community.” (Bloomberg)

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10 things to know about the Irish internet economy

10 things to know about the Irish internet economy

Ireland ranks highly among the world’s most digitally advanced economies. Here’s ten things to know about the Irish internet economy:

1. A quarter of Irish enterprises don’t have websites or any online trading capacity. That’s about 47,000 Irish businesses who are missing out on the opportunity to expand digitally.

2. In a recent UPC survey, the average Irish adult said that if their internet connection was to disappear tomorrow, they’d want €130 extra per month to replace the loss for them (that’s about €1,500 a year).

3. Irish consumer spending online is roughly €6 billion a year, but projected to rise to almost €13 billion a year by 2020.

4. About 60 per cent of Irish parents have installed parental control software which blocks or filters certain website types on their computers.

5. It’s estimated that 79,000 new jobs will be created directly through the Irish internet economy by 2020.

6. The average number of internet enabled devices in the Irish home is 4.7, compared to the average of 2.6 in Germany.

7. The average number of users connected to the internet in an Irish home at any one time is 2.7.

8. Eight in ten Irish adults now say they use a laptop, smartphone or tablet while watching TV.

9. About 40 per cent of Irish online shopping is kept in Ireland, while 60 per cent goes abroad.

10. 59 per cent of Irish online shoppers cite lower prices as their reason for online purchasing — with average savings of 36 per cent.

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TechShop to open first 3D operation outside U.S. in DCU

TechShop to open first 3D operation outside U.S. in DCU

 The internet is awash with tales of engine parts, full-scale bicycles – and of course the obligatory scare stories about firearms – being produced by 3D printers. Global media from the Economist to Forbes have heralded 3D printing as the manufacturing revolution of our time. Now it seems the most advanced 3D technology will soon be available to one and all in Ireland.

TechShop is a US-based workshop network which provides access to creative tools, software, space and expertise. Anyone interested in using professional manufacturing equipment for whatever project they may have in mind is welcome to join, based on a low-cost membership basis.

TechShop already have eight premises in the US with two more planned stateside. But their newest workshop will be located in DCU’s Innovation Campus in Glasnevin, Dublin 9, and will be open to both individuals with an interest in learning more, as well as businesses or organisations who cannot afford to procure any of the high-tech equipment available themselves.

This will be an open-access facility replete with 3D printers along with other tools and high-end equipment that wouldn’t be in the budget of many companies.

“Wherever they go, the workshops tend to have a slightly different flavour depending on the local industrial landscape,” explains Ronan Furlong, executive director of DCU’s Innovation Campus. “So obviously equipment of interest to bigger sectors here – medical devices, agri-tech, clean energy, etc – will be reflected in TechShop Dublin.”

In addition, TechShop also encourage local high-tech equipment providers to participate by offering their technology on site. “I imagine paper-based 3D printer providers Mcor Technologies, for example, will have a presence,” says Furlong.

Based in Co Louth, Mcor Technologies have been providing paper-based 3D printers to customers globally in a variety of fields – educational, entertainment, architectural, medical, etc – since 2005.

“We would have already come across the whole concept of technology workshops or makerspace – where people who don’t want to buy high-end machinery outright can go and buy time on machines instead,” says Dr Conor MacCormack of Mcor Technologies. “The principle has been around for a while, such as in MIT’s FabLab. We visited something similar in Philadelphia as well.

“It’s a great concept. Of course for techies it’s like walking into a sweet shop.”

However, with millions of euros worth of investment being pumped into TechShop Dublin one would hope it becomes more than just a playground for hobbyists. McCormack argues that it is all part of a greater movement to “democratise innovation”.

“Individuals and novices do take advantage of these types of initiatives too,” he says. “It’s all about awareness: once people are made aware that the facility is there for them to use, they will check it out. But I do see it as part of a greater movement to democratise innovation, so that everyone can participate. Initiatives like TechShop make that happen.”

He fully supports the Irish TechShop initiative. “We’ve always thought incorporating our technology into universities would be a good idea as it might lead to improved research practises. It’s not just a case of supplying the facilities. If you can bring in big companies to work on collaborative projects with university researchers, great things can come out of it.”

New generation
TechShop will bring technology to this country that previously would have had to be sought abroad. It will house several 3D printers of different capacities (see panel). “We will be able to provide a whole new generation of ‘makers’ and hardware innovators with affordable access to powerful, high-end digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutters, computer numerically-controlled machines, as well as the (increasingly user friendly) 3D visualisation software required to design products and components,” says Furlong.

“Commercial 3D printing only works with a few dozen types of materials, mostly metals and plastics of various sorts, but more are in the works (such as Kevlar),” says Furlong.

“Researchers are experimenting with exotic materials, such as carbon nanotubes, that give a sense of the scope of this technology. Some 3D printers can print electrical circuits, making complex electronics from scratch, and at the macro scale, there are already 3D printers that can make a building by “printing” concrete. Right now that requires a 3D printer nearly the size of the building, but it may someday be built into the cement truck itself, with a concrete that uses positional awareness to decide where to put down concrete and how much, directly reading and following the architect’s CAD plans.

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Ireland’s GameSparks in line for prestigious tech award

Ireland’s GameSparks in line for prestigious tech award

Irish start-up GameSparks has been nominated in the Best Technical Innovation category for the Develop Awards, which will be held in Brighton, UK in July.

The Develop Awards are the most prestigious gaming awards in Europe. GameSparks is a cloud-based solution for games developers to help build the server-side components of a game without ever having to set up and run a server.

John Griffin, co-founder of GameSparks said that being nominated is a big milestone for the company.

“This is a remarkable achievement for us considering the companies that we have been nominated alongside: Oculus Rift, the virtual reality company that Facebook acquired earlier this year; Project Morpheus, Sony’s high profile foray into the same space and Nvidia, well known makers of graphic chips and the popular hand held gaming console, the Nvidia Shield,” he said.

According to Mr Griffin: “Mobile games are driving the entire games industry to be a $100 billion industry by 2017 (source Digi-Capital). Games developers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in this sector. The GameSparks platform gives developers a suite of capabilities that they can leverage to improve their games’ chances of success, be it adding deep social integration or improving overall engagement.�

“Much of our success to date has been in export markets like the UK, Canada and the USA. GameSparks now has over 200 registered studios from all around the world, including some of the larger games studios. We have a busy summer schedule ahead as we support the rollout of a slew of new games on the platform.�

GameSparks launched its service in August of last year and recently moved into new offices in The Design Tower run by the Trinity Enterprise Center and located at Grand Canal Quay.

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Train to America

Train to America

In our round-up of the weekend’s tech news, China is working on an undersea train that would link its cities with America via the Bering Sea, a US student creates a 3D make-up printer, and Microsoft is prepping to launch its Surface Mini this month.

Train to America

China is reportedly considering building a high-speed bullet train that will connect it via an undersea route with North America, Quartz reported.

“China already has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. And the country aims to more than double the amount of high-speed railway by 2015 from the existing 10,000 km (6,000 miles) to 19,000 km—and eventually 25,000km by 2020. Officials want to build everything from an undersea railway tunnel from the Chinese shore to Taiwan—twice the length of the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain—to 1,776 km of high-speed rail through isolated deserts in the west of the country.

“In that context, it almost seems feasible that China would be considering a recently discussed project—13,000 km of high-speed railway that crosses from China to Russia and North America that includes a 200-km tunnel under the Bering strait.”

Irish global recruiters have the edge

Forbes reported at the weekend how Irish tech start-up Sonru is giving global recruiters the edge in terms of using video technology to hire talent.

“Its disruptive technology enables clients to invite candidates based anywhere in the world to complete automated video interviews using their PC or apple device. Recruiters enter their interview questions, set the deadline and invite candidates by email to log in and record their responses at a time that suits them.

“This one-way or automated video interviewing has already attracted the likes of Volvo, Nestlé, CERN, Boston Scientific, EA Games and eBay and is becoming mainstream with many milk round companies who are using it as the next stage of the recruitment process, post application receipt.”

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Geospatial information contributes more than €69m to Irish economy – report

Geospatial information contributes more than €69m to Irish economy – report

The geospatial information industry contributed €69.3m to the Irish economy in 2012 and when multiplier impacts are included, this estimate is more than €120m, a new report commissioned by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) suggests.

The use of maps loaded with information on demographics, environmental resources and financial worth of an area are used by many Irish businesses to determine markets. Other scientific and historical organisations use the maps to determine the area’s importance in an investigation or review.

According to the report, the industry generated sales or output valued at €117.5m in 2012, and spent a total of €84.4m on salaries of 1,677 full-time equivalent persons who were directly employed by the industry, which, in total, supports the employment of 3,087 people.

The report also found the use of geospatial information has saved the public sector money, estimating €82 per year is saved on administrative costs in both local and national government.

Explaining the significance of the report’s findings, OSI chief executive Colin Bray said, “This is the first-ever assessment of the economic value of geospatial information in Ireland. For the first time, we have a quantified view of the important role the geospatial industry plays in the Irish economy.

“Of particular significance are the efficiencies and savings geospatial information can provide for the public sector. This is important in the context of the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2015, which refers to an intention to improve public services through more efficient usage of geospatial information.”

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350 construction jobs for Dublin as Google gets go-ahead to build data centre

350 construction jobs for Dublin as Google gets go-ahead to build data centre

Internet giant Google is planning to create up to 350 new construction jobs after being granted planning permission to build a second data centre at Grangecastle, Clondalkin.

It is likely that the new data centre will require an additional staff of up to 60 people to operate it.

Google employs around 2,500 people in Dublin, principally at its EMEA headquarters on Barrow Street.

Google opened its first €75m air-cooled data centre at Profile Park in Clondalkin in September 2012.

The first project required over 1,000 people working for more than 90 building and engineering companies to carry out the build in less than a year.

According to South Dublin County Council permission has been granted for Google to build a data storage facility totaling 36,733 square metres in Ballybane, Grangecastle, Clondalkin.

“During construction this development has the potential to deliver between 300 to 350 construction jobs and represents the commitment of South Dublin Country Council to supporing appropriate economic development and inward investment into the County,” the Council said.

Nearby Microsoft has built a data centre with an investment of over €600m and is investing a further €170m on a second data centre.

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IT Carlow Invests in €300,000 Private Cloud Rollout

IT Carlow Invests in €300,000 Private Cloud Rollout

Third-level institution IT Carlow has invested €300,000 in the deployment of a private cloud virtualisation project to ensure its ICT facilities have the agility to respond to the current and future needs of its students and staff.

Trilogy Technologies implemented and configured a Flexpod converged private cloud infrastructure, which included Cisco Servers, VMware and NetApp Storage.

A key component in the design phase was for IT Carlow to leverage its existing investment in the Cisco Nexus switching environment previously installed.

The Flexpod Infrastructure hosts a high-performance desktop and application virtualisation solution, running VMware View and Application Jukebox, which is capable of expanding seamlessly to allow the agility to present IT Carlow’s ICT environment to staff and students, whenever, wherever and on whatever device is appropriate for their needs. 

Future proofed

“We needed to make long-term strategic decisions about the nature of infrastructure required to support the needs of our staff, student research and stakeholder clients into the next 10-15 years,” said Fergal Flanagan, IT manager at IT Carlow. 

“In tandem with the natural ageing of our current ICT infrastructure, and the recent expansion of facilities to incorporate a dedicated high-bandwidth media network to support academic programmes in TV, media and sports analysis, a whole new generation of users had to be facilitated – those growing up in a new era of 24/7 service expectation, high bandwidth always-on internet connectivity, powerful mobile devices and almost 100pc laptop ownership,” Flanagan said.

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