Asia Pacific drives growth for many Irish businesses and is home to some of the world’s most digitally connected population. In the Southeast Asia region alone, there is a population of over 330 million connected individuals with the region’s digital economy having been projected to hit US$300 billion by 2025.

When quarantines and stay-home orders became the reality for many people at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the adoption of digital services rose like never before, particularly in Southeast Asia. According to a joint report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company, as many as 40 million people across the region — Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — came online for the first time in 2020.

Now with nearly 70% of the region’s population online, the digital sphere is a necessity for both consumers and businesses. Cyber threats are equally becoming responsive to an increasingly vibrant digital environment as threats become more pervasive and complex.

Irish innovators are coming to the forefront to lend their expertise in this dynamic and challenging environment. During Enterprise Ireland’s Asia Pacific Cybersecurity Innovation Showcase, we heard from six Irish companies on their contributions towards a safe cyber environment as well as their latest solutions that address emerging cybersecurity challenges today.

Creating a safe and seamless digital experience for businesses and consumers

With so many new online users in the region, cybersecurity threats are becoming two-fold. First, there is a need to ensure a safe and secure online experience for users through good cyber hygiene habits. And second, there is a need to facilitate an education around cyber-attacks and protection for new users who may be more vulnerable to these threats.

Cyber criminals are moving from targeting systems and processes to targeting users, creating a gap in a company’s security protection. Cyber Risk Aware, a human cyber risk management and behaviour change platform, was set up to protect people, institutions and cities through education and cyber awareness that effects positive change in online behaviour. Cyber Risk Aware primarily helps companies from becoming victims of cybercrime by raising staff awareness and creating a network of human sensors in real-time.

“Today’s highly sophisticated cyber criminals are gaining access to vital company data through complex scams like phishing, smishing, malware or ransomware that target people instead of systems. Traditional tick-the-box, annual or even monthly training is no longer effective against these criminals and leaves staff defenseless against an attack. A shift towards helping create positive behaviour change in staff by implementing context-based, real-time intervention training in their exact moment of need is essential to mitigate impending risks. Organisations who have committed to changing the risky behaviours of their staff are seeing up to 800% ROI against a single security breach,” says Stephen Burke, CEO & Founder of Cyber Risk Aware.

Highlighting that traditional staff training is inadequate to change risky staff behaviour that typically compromises a company’s network defense, Cyber Risk Aware advocates companies to set up contextual training and an awareness content library that will shore up staff behaviour as defense to a cyber-attack. The ground-up approach should leverage a company’s cyber defenses, in tandem with human cyber-risk assessments that evaluates a user’s cyber awareness and knowledge through regular email and SMS phishing tests as well as data analytics stemming from behaviour database that tracks human cyber risk scoring and behaviour change.

Email remains to be a cornerstone of consumers’ digital identity. And TitanHQ, one of the leading providers of email protection, DNS filtering and email archiving solutions for over 20 years, is a frontrunner in safeguarding consumers from cyber-attacks on this front. Through its comprehensive suite of solutions that include WebTitan, SpamTitan and ArcTitan, TitanHQ’s has been identifying and blocking malware and ransomware attacks before they infiltrate organisations’ network. The movement to work from home and an increase in remote workforces have increased the risk vector and placed a further onus on a layered security approach.

On the financial services front, Daon, a global leader in digital onboarding and biometric authentication technology, is no stranger to Asian shores. Trust is a key priority to Daon’s innovations in this region. Trilochan Sehgal, Regional Vice-President of Southeast Asia, highlighted the digital identity problem, where there is a critical need to solve the issue of trust across multiple online channels.

Introducing IdentityX – the world’s first cross-channel multi-factor biometric authentication and onboarding platform, consumers can now use the same identity credential to authenticate quickly and easily, at any time and through any channel. Not only does the platform help create a seamless digital experience across multiple channels, it guarantees consumers’ digital identity based on secure biometric credentials, enabled by face recognition technology. This can be made even more secure through other biometric authentication processes that may include voice and finger authentication.

Despite a challenging 2020, the company made strides in the region with an impressive portfolio of clients including Japan’s SMFG/SMBC, Standard Chartered Bank and a host of Hong Kong based banks. The company’s presence in Asia also expanded with a new Singapore office as well as significant new partnerships including a contract to deliver digital onboarding and mobile biometric authentication with Singapore-based TONIK, which provides the first digital-only bank in the Philippines.

Commenting on this, Trilochan Sehgal, Vice-President of Daon Southeast Asia said, “Daon is in a unique position where we solve challenges across the full customer identity lifecycle from onboarding, authentication and account recovery. Our customers appreciate this holistic approach and we are seeing a big surge in our technology adoption specially among customers in payments verification, digital banking, insurance, and telcos in the region.”

Securing data and networks against cyber threats

The data landscape is changing dramatically. And it is important to understand the shifts in this landscape to better develop solutions that can bolster cyber defense for any company, institution or country against new threats that can emerge from this landscape.

Mark Brosnan, Co-Founder & Managing Director of GetVisibility, shared how major shifts in the data landscape are primarily influenced by five key factors: i) regulation, ii) explosion in data, iii) cloud adoption, iv) an increase in cyber-attacks and v) ineffective data loss prevention programmes. Not only do data governance need to keep up with these shifts, but these systems also need to account for the end-user as well as anticipate potential new threats too.

Data governance is therefore a responsibility that spans across end-users and multiple organizational processes. As a software solution that discovers, categorizes and classifies unstructured data across an organization, GetVisibility undertakes this responsibility by harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide risk and compliance assessments in the data governance process as well as to enforce protection of sensitive data. This is increasingly pertinent at a time where remote work is becoming the norm during the pandemic as companies seek to secure their data against cyber breaches or leaks.

With data governance being a huge undertaking that involves various organizational processes, efficiency will be key for organisations. Security Automation Orchestration and Response platform provider, Tines, allows security teams to automate any workflow regardless of complexity without relying on pre-built integrations.

Having observed that an excess of IT and security operations work is manual, repetitive and prone to error, Tines have designed a software that allows security operations teams to automate their manual workloads without requiring scripting or software development knowledge. This frees up security operations teams to refocus on more impactful risk-reduction strategies specific to an organisation. Upon notification of a potential threat, security operations teams can also conduct deeper incident investigations and responses and enlist an analyst as soon as any real threat has been identified.

But what if the worst happens – what should companies do when there has been a breach?

It is all in the response, and how quick it is matters. GuardYoo, a specialist in remote compromised assessment or a technical audit of a network, treats cyber incidents as physical crime sites that can be investigated. GuardYoo departs from the traditional thinking of cybersecurity as a model that protects networks from breaches. Instead, the company brazenly believes that this brand of cybersecurity is impossible as cyber threats are inevitable, and that breaches can even occur without the awareness of most organisations.

Darren Sexton, Chief Executive Officer of GuardYoo shared, “The way hackers penetrate a network is always changing and this is a perpetual game of hide and seek. But what does not change is that hackers need to do something once they get into a system. That is where GuardYoo steps in. To use a Covid-19 analogy, traditional cybersecurity companies will check if you are wearing a mask and that the mask is covering the right areas but GuardYoo will check if the virus has gotten through the mask and will identify what parts of the body it is attacking.”

As such, GuardYoo recommends its automated ‘Digital Forensics Investigation’ model to conduct regular compromise assessments that identifies how a network lapsed in its defenses, how these vulnerabilities were exploited and who was responsible behind the attack. The company also has an active threat research lab that is constantly developing threat models. This contributes to the swift one week turn-around time for GuardYoo’s compromise assessment, including a forensic analysis, as opposed to the typical 10 to 12-weeks timeline across the industry.

With the FinTech sector’s recent boom in the UAE and across the wider region, Irish start-up DX Compliance launched its operations in the Middle East from its new base in the UAE. The Dublin-headquartered company is fast becoming one to watch in the global RegTech space where its operations have expanded into five international markets.

Operating out of the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, DX introduced its disruptive technology and solutions to the rapidly expanding financial market. Working with banks and FinTech companies, DX Compliance invented AI-enabled anti-financial crime and compliance software solutions with easy to use features and top-of-the-line capabilities to effectively identify and manage regulatory and financial risks.

“With UAE topping the list of countries in the Middle East with the highest number of financial technology start-ups, we knew this would be the best market for us to begin our journey from. After successfully launching in the UAE and securing a place in the two biggest start-up accelerator hubs in the UAE, we are looking to expand our offer into the wider MENA region. This move will create several R&D jobs in Ireland where DX puts a high focus in hiring young talent. Following through our milestones achieved, we continue to help our customers benefit from the unique insights of our proprietary machine learning capabilities and user focused approach” said Simon Dix, CEO & Founder of DX Compliance.

The move to the region has been supported by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency. Their involvement has contributed to the successful expansion of DX Compliance into the Middle East market. This includes the Dubai International Financial Center’s (DIFC) FinTech Hive as well as Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) Hub71.

Welcoming DX Compliance to the region, Stephen Twomey, Enterprise Ireland’s Senior Market Advisor said, “The FinTech scene across the Middle East is ever evolving and fast emerging with plenty of opportunities for growth and innovation. We’re delighted to see DX Compliance successfully launch in the UAE and become part of the UAE’s largest start-up accelerators, making it the very first Enterprise Ireland backed FinTech start-up to secure a position at Hub 71 and DIFC’s FinTech Hive.  Irish FinTech is well received in this region for its ground-breaking innovation, technology and ability to overcome challenges.”

Daniel Dorr, Co-Founder of DX Compliance said “The support we gain from Enterprise Ireland along with our collaborations with Universities in Abu Dhabi and Dublin opens doors for more growth and employment during unprecedented times. The collaboration between our two offices which represent two ecosystems, will help us expand our company and portfolio at a rapid level leading to more job opportunities and delivering value back into our respective ecosystems”.

“Our expansion into the UAE comes as we have just launched DX Version 2.0, our latest version of our transaction monitoring software, which takes the fight against financial crime to a whole new level. Our new and improved features enable banks, FinTech firms and other providers of financial services to effectively identify and manage their regulatory and financial risks, lower operational costs and focus their attention on their revenue drivers with a peace of mind”.

In addition to successfully launching in the UAE, DX Compliance has strengthened its leadership team by appointing two C-Suite titles. Razi Ardakani, financial compliance and FinTech expert, was appointed as Head of Growth and will lead the company’s expansion across the Middle East and drive global expansion strategies. Appointed as DX Compliance’s Chief Product Officer, Prem Ipe has over 15 years of experience leading data analytics teams. Prem was also previously nominated as one of the top 30 leaders in Australia.

DX Compliance has a successful track record in providing market-leading anti-financial crime products that offer insights into individuals’ and commercial entities’ financial behaviour. They generate value for their clients by uncovering suspicious transactions that usually go undetected by more traditional forms of anti-financial crime tools.

Considering DX Compliance’s expertise and journey of growth, the start-up was selected to be part of RegLab, the UAE’s specially tailored regulatory framework which provides a controlled environment for FinTech participants to develop and test innovative solutions.

Recognizing the frustration people have over the logistical challenges related to obtaining the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine, Pharmapod, a leading global learning health system provider, has stepped up to help streamline the rollout. Pharmapod has developed the Clinical Services app cloud-based solution to simplify every step of the vaccine rollout resulting in faster uptake of shots in arms and broader community protection.

Pharmapod is a professionally-led solution, designed by pharmacists for pharmacists. It is the software of choice for over 60% of all pharmacies in Canada and has now expanded into the United States market through partnerships with leading pharmacies. Pharmapod’s Clinical Service app maximizes uptake of the vaccine by helping vaccinators to manage mass bookings and connect with patients through a digital solution. It makes the rollout process faster and more efficient, reducing the contact time between patient and vaccinator through pre-eligibility screening. The app allows administrators to set-up vaccination locations, input the available stations in each location and the available time slots for each station. This online booking system reduces the incidence of patients accidentally missing appointments and helps predict vaccine inventory levels. The system allows administrators to modify eligibility criteria to coordinate the prioritization of high-risk groups first and then assign specific users different levels of access within the app based on their eligibility criteria.

“People across the globe are anxiously awaiting access to the vaccines,” said Leonora O’Brien, Pharmapod’s Founder. “Our Clinical Service app was developed by pharmacists who have experience on the frontline of this pandemic and they recognize the current logistical challenges and inefficiencies. This system is designed with those factors in mind to help maximize rollout efficiency while minimizing distribution complexity. The app is designed for healthcare professionals to make each step clear, easy, and fast in an effort to get as many shots in arms as quickly, safely, and painlessly as possible.”

For patients, Pharmapod’s Clinical Service app drives vaccine uptake by making it easy to book an appointment online and ensures compliance by providing a schedule of to-dos to get patients through the entire process, sending important appointment reminder notifications, and storing patient records for future use. On the app, patients can also fill out their eligibility criteria and alert the administering organization of any critical data, such as reports of vaccine side-effects.

“Pharmapod’s platform not only allows healthcare professionals to improve how they manage their service but also greatly improves the safety for patients,” says Jack Callaghan, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Ireland. “In a time of such a need for a speedy, efficient vaccine rollout, it is inspiring to see Pharmapod working hard to help people on a global scale. The company has gained impressive momentum over the years in the pharmaceutical industry, and now, when we need the technology more than ever, it has stepped up to provide the critical solutions that the industry needs to get through this crisis.”

Pharmapod is the leading cloud-based, medication incident management, and business intelligence tool, specializing in pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and long-term care facilities. The Clinical Service solution has already become available across Canada and is being rolled out in the U.S. over the coming months.

Underscoring the strong business case for Irish firms to partner with Québec-based Canadian businesses, Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s trade and innovation agency, has launched its new presence in Montréal and announced the appointment of Ève Chartrand-Dandurand to lead the initiative as Senior Market Advisor. According to Neil Cooney, Canada Country Manager, Enterprise Ireland, who made the announcement, opportunities for Irish and Canadian firms to establish strong partnerships and achieve mutual success have never been greater.

“Ireland has become a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship with specialization in important, emerging sectors such as data centers, transportation, and aviation, life sciences, and agritech. These areas of strength align well with Québec’s profile as an innovation leader and industrial powerhouse,” Cooney said. “I am pleased to launch this new presence in Montréal and I am especially pleased to welcome Ève to our team. She brings exactly the right mix of experience, expertise, and energy to advance partnerships between Irish firms and Québec-based counterparts.” The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe also means the timing is right to invest more in our partnership with Canada, with benefits for Ireland and Québec based companies including tariff-free trade, easier access to procurement opportunities, and much more.

Ève Chartrand-Dandurand joins Enterprise Ireland from Desjardins where she was a Strategic Advisor. She was previously a Strategic Planning and International Business Development Manager at Opal-RT Technologies and before that, served as International Sales Manager in, Middle East, India, and Africa for Palmex International. Ève Chartrand-Dandurand holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in International affairs from the Université of Montréal (HEC Montréal).

“Québec is a unique place with a strong identity, a wonderful population and excellent businesses,” Ève Chartrand-Dandurand said today. “I see great potential to pair Irish and Québec businesses, especially in areas of shared strength such as transportation, aerospace, agritech, life sciences, and digital media. Irish businesses, Irish ideas and Irish skills can make Québec businesses even stronger, more global and more agile and I am pleased to facilitate Irish/Québec dialog. I also look forward to working closely with all our government and business partners in Québec and Ireland.”

More than 6,000 people are employed by more than 60 Irish companies operating across Canada. The companies cross a broad range of industries including, construction, education, energy, environmental engineering, medical devices, and software. Leading Irish companies operating in Canada include Keywords, ICON PLC, Kingspan, Aerogen, Aer Rianta International, iCabbi, Health Beacon, and more.

The Irish spirit transcends geographical boundaries so as this St. Patrick’s day looks a little different, IrelandsEye Knitwear wanted to bring a shared sense of connection with its latest collection.

IrelandsEye’s designers have always been inspired by the wild Irish landscape and the rugged coastline. Founded in Dublin in 1988, IrelandsEye is a family-run company that’s been making knitwear for over 30 years. Using 100% natural yarns for modern lifestyles and their own signature colors, they bring the personal touch to everything they make, with each piece carefully finished by hand. 

This past year has given IrelandsEye designers an even deeper appreciation of the natural beauty that surrounds them. They’re sharing this with the world through their new Aran Classics collection.

For over a hundred years Irish fishermen and farmers have trusted Aran knitwear to shield them from the merciless sea winds that sweep onto the coast. Its textures and colors reflect the Irish landscape and offer protection from the elements. Now everyone can feel that same Irish warmth, comfort, and sense of belonging wherever they are with their very own piece from the Aran Classics collection. 

“The new Aran Classics Collection is a great addition for IrelandsEye as they continue their proven legacy of authentic Irish knitwear. Enterprise Ireland is proud to support IrelandsEye here in Canada as well as across the globe”, said Emma Shaw, Enterprise Ireland Market Executive. 

IrelandsEye has taken the traditional Aran style and brought it right up to date, with fresh stitches, a signature color palette, and the softest of wool, all woven together with their own unique design twist for a contemporary look and feel that perfectly complements today’s lifestyle.

One of their biggest fans is Ontario store owner, Patti, who loves the quality and longevity of their knitwear, as well as the chance to chat about all things Irish. “I have IrelandsEye sweaters that I have owned for over 15 years. I always tell my customers, the quality, fit and feel give comfort and warmth all the time, even in the summer months, as the Merino wool is breathable. I love sharing IrelandsEye pieces with my customers and talking to them about my own Irish heritage and the best places to visit in Ireland”. Patti Hendriks, Primitive Creek, Seaforth, Ontario.

The Aran Classics collection celebrates Irish heritage and the strength of the Irish spirit and invites people to wrap up in their very own little piece of Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day.

To see the new collection and more visit irelandseyeknitwear.com for more information

Ireland is turning the world green – and not just for St Patrick’s Day. As the world turns green for St. Patrick’s Day, Enterprise Ireland is spotlighting Irish green innovators. From low carbon cement to using data to create more sustainable public transport, Irish companies are delivering low carbon solutions to tackle the climate challenge.
The global campaign ‘Ready for a Green Future’ focuses on the climate agenda, and as the world emerges from Covid-19 there is a need to build back better, prioritising sustainability and tackling the many environmental challenges that we face to deliver a green recovery.
The campaign showcases many world-leading Irish green innovators who are solving complex technical challenges and delivering sustainable and low carbon solutions to make renewable energy viable; reduce energy waste in our cities with smart technology; reduce agricultural waste and make construction cleaner.

Construction
Next generation cement maker Ecocem is enabling the construction industry to build much needed homes without relying on traditional carbon-heavy cement. Known in the trade as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), traditional cement is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions worldwide.
Ecocem’s innovative solution is Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS), which takes leftover material from steel mills and grinds it down to create a sustainable alternative.
OPC has a carbon footprint of 803 kg of CO2 per ton, compared to just 32 kg for GGBS.
Since 2003, Ecocem has saved over 12 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and, since the steel remnants would otherwise be headed for landfill, this low-carbon product also contributes to the circular economy.

Renewable energy
OceanEnergy believes the most valuable renewable energy resource is yet to be harnessed: waves.
It has developed the world’s largest capacity wave energy device, to capture and convert wave energy into power.
Floating on the ocean’s surface, it extracts power from the water’s motion and turns it into electrical energy. Each device produces enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. Its energy can be sent back to the grid or used in other applications.
One multiple device 100MW wave energy farm, laid out across two square kilometers of open water, can produce enough low-cost energy for 50,000 homes in a compact space.

Transport
CitySwift, the data engine that drives modern transport networks, optimises vehicles such as buses, trams and trains, to maximise efficiency and minimise waste.
Using data collected about passenger numbers, peak locations, usage and delays, it enables transit authorities to boost performance and improve passenger experience.
With shared transit being the cleanest, greenest way to travel, boosting the number of people using public transport helps local authorities to meet sustainability targets too.

Agriculture
Agtech innovator Keenan has created animal feeder technology that paves the way for farms of all sizes to become part of a circular economy, maximizing efficiency, eliminating waste, and reducing methane emissions from livestock.
The Keenan MechFiber diet feeder creates a balanced diet for farm animals, right on site. While mixing, the machine assesses the animal feed and sends real-time data to off-site nutritionists who monitor the ingredients to optimise herd nutrition.
The system was validated by Carbon Trust as the world’s first environmentally sustainable diet feeder. It combines state of the art engineering with IoT technology to optimise feed and reduce methane gas emissions from herds by up to 25%.

The future is green
Ireland ranks 5th in the (MIT Technology Review) Green Future Index 2021, an index of 76 countries rated according to their progress towards building a low carbon future.
Ready for a Green Future showcases the early movers and trail blazers who are helping Ireland to achieve sustainability success.

Find More Irish Green Innovation News

Education Technology firm Digitary, has recently partnered with the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) to bring digital credentials to colleges and universities across Canada in the most significant student service innovation in Canada in the past decade. As part of this partnership, ARUCC launched a comprehensive, bilingual, online credential wallet for Canadian post-secondary learners called the ARUCC MyCredsTM/ MesCertifTM National Network. Digitary has grown to become digital credential experts and a leading online platform for certifying, sharing, and verifying academic credentials. The world’s most respected higher education providers use the Digitary platform to eliminate credential fraud, improve service levels, and increase efficiencies. Currently, 1.5M learners benefit from the firm’s global network.

Founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 2005, Digitary is a globally trusted digital platform that supports verification of official degrees, transcripts, and other academic records online. Learner-centric since the very beginning, Digitary enables millions of learners to access their verified achievements 24/7 and share them with others securely, quickly, and efficiently. Millions of students and graduates worldwide use Digitary to efficiently and securely access their official academic records and share them instantly.

This ARUCC, a federally incorporated not-for-profit led by Canada’s postsecondary institutions, initiative enables the Canadian higher education community to create the first online platform and national credential wallet for post-secondary learners. The network will allow three million learners across the country to access and share their official digitized post-secondary transcripts and credentials online — anytime, anywhere.

As students, alumni, and HR departments are aware, requesting and waiting for college transcripts is painfully slow. Historically, when a student requests that transcripts from one university or college be sent to another, the issuing university must find the record, print it on school letterhead, have the registrar sign and emboss it, and, finally, mail it. Even when the transcript arrives at its destination, time can pass before the transcript’s receipt is documented. The entire process can take weeks or even months. Verifying a job applicant’s degree follows the same process.

“This partnership with Digitary is incredibly exciting news for learners, the higher education community, and our partners,” says Joanne Duklas, Executive Lead, ARUCC MyCredsTM/ MesCertifTM National Network. “For the first time in Canada’s history, we are creating a national, secure digital platform for sharing official digitized post-secondary transcripts and credentials. Digitary won a tough competition because their approach and platform are future-oriented and learner-focused.”

ARUCC, with the help of its partners, PCCAT, CUCCIO, and CanPESC selected Digitary following a competitive international RFP process led by a national evaluation team of close to 30 Canadian higher education leaders. These dedicated professionals with expertise in data systems architecture, privacy, security, and learner-focused service delivery concluded that Digitary would be the best solution.

“Digitary has grown to become digital credential experts and a leading online platform for certifying, sharing, and verifying academic credentials,” said Shaun Ryan, Market Executive Industrial Technologies & Education, Enterprise Ireland. “The world’s most respected higher education providers use Digitary to eliminate credential fraud, improve service levels, and increase efficiencies — and we’re very proud to support them in this important work.”

“We at Digitary are delighted to be chosen to support the ARUCC National Network. As a global leader in the digital credentialing space, our technology is used by over 100 post-secondary institutions in Australia, Canada, Europe, India, New Zealand, and the United States. Our technology enables millions of learners to access and share their verifiable digital credentials with organizations in over 135 countries,” says Andy Dowling, CEO, Digitary. “Leveraging our unique experience with creating national-scale digital transcript solutions, we are looking forward to working with ARUCC, its partners, and the Canadian post-secondary institutions, application centers, and hubs to build a trusted, innovative solution for Canada that places learners’ needs first.

“Digitary is supported by Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s trade and innovation agency. Enterprise Ireland partners with Irish enterprise companies to help them start, grow, and win export sales globally. Enterprise Ireland is thrilled to work with Digitary as they use their international experience and network to provide significant benefits to the Canadian National Network.

“A number of Canadian education institutions are now working with the Digitary platform, and its innovative technology is re-shaping the future of transcript and information management,” said Neil Cooney, Country Manager for Canada, Enterprise Ireland. “This is certainly a significant game-changer for colleges, universities and students alike. We look forward to sharing these important insights with the Ed Tech community.”

On February 4, Digitary, ARUCC National Network, and Enterprise Ireland hosted an Education Technology webinar with H.E. Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Dr. Eamonn McKee discussing the process of bringing university and college transcripts into the digital age, with a look at the many benefits of digitization to education institutions, including greatly-improved official document sharing by learners and verification by institutions, employers, professional associations and other third parties.

The highly respected financial regulator of the city-state Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has last December awarded four digital banking licenses. These licenses will allow entities including non-bank entities to provide banking services including deposit taking and lending in Singapore. As a regional fintech powerhouse, the liberalisation of its banking industry has been hotly anticipated by big players in the world of finance and technology.

Two of the licenses are categorized as “full”, in that they allow consumer banking. One has gone to a partnership of local ride-hailing super-app Grab and telco conglomerate SingTel, where both companies have large customer bases and regional activities across Southeast Asia.

The other has gone to Nasdaq-listed internet powerhouse Sea group, which has had a blockbuster year of growth from its e-commerce platform Shopee (well able to hold its own against Amazon and Alibaba), it’s gaming division Garena and existing fintech division SeaMoney.

The remaining two are “wholesale”, or business banking licenses, awarded to Ant Financial (the fintech affiliate company of Alibaba Group, best known for their Alipay app) and another to a consortium of Greenland Financial, Linklogis & Beijing Co-Op Equity Investment.

Singapore follows a wider regional pattern, two years after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority who released eight digital banking licenses. Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission also released three and Malaysia is expected to issue up to five sometime later this year. The Philippines has also indicated it will accept applications for online only banks. The authorities in Indonesia however, seeking to encourage consolidation of a fragmented banking sector, is not expected to issue any further licenses. However numerous small or struggling local lenders have been acquisition targets for ambitious Fintechs, while larger banks are experimenting with digital-only propositions.

However, they face a challenging marketplace in Singapore, where incumbents are deemed to be very digitally capable. Covid-19 forced them to bolster their digital proposition, and at the retail level almost all transactions, including account openings, can be performed online. DBS, the market leader, has won various accolades as the World’s Best Digital Bank, boasts over 7,500 engineers, with the CEO Piyush Gupta evangelizing the bank as a tech company in financial services.

The experience in Hong Kong and Australia seems to point that new entrants cannot only rely on a slicker app experience and marginally better deposit rates. They will need to tie in truly innovative products, services and integrations that are useful and targeted specifically at under-served sectors of the market.

In order to achieve this, new digital banks will have to have a robust, agile and secure technology stack incorporating the best technology partners in the game – and this is where the Irish Advantage is. Irish companies are already supporting many of the world’s most innovative digital banks and look poised to power the current wave of upstarts in Asia.

The Irish Capability

Daon is a world-leading mobile authentication and biometrics company. Established 20 years ago to serve the government sector and now a leader in financial services, they are one of the only FIDO certified biometrics companies, whose services are critical to the security of any digital banking offering. Daon are already working with some of the leading financial digital banks in the region – TONIK (the Philippines) and Mox (Hong Kong).

A comprehensive compliance offering, and seamless onboarding process, is central to offering customers an exceptional  and secure account opening experience. KnowYourCustomer’s KYC, KYB and onboarding platform is currently used by digital bank Neat in Hong Kong.  Know Your Customer notably won “Best Solution – Customer Onboarding” in the 2020 edition of the Regulation Asia Awards of Excellence.

Also in the onboarding space is Fenergo, the industry No.1 provider of Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) software solutions for financial institutions spanning capital markets and investment banking, commercial, business and retail banking, private banking and wealth management, and asset management. Fenergo CLM is an end-to-end platform that transforms how sell-side banks and buy-side firms manage clients – from initial onboarding to KYC/AML compliance, to client data management and ongoing lifecycle KYC reviews and refreshes.

With the uptake of digital banking solutions expected to experience exponential growth, Leveris’ cloud-native and real-time core banking system offers a 100% turnkey digital bank solution. A modular platform designed with scalability and reliability at its heart, Leveris helps fulfil ultra-rapid total deployment for innovative technology-driven banking solutions, digital at heart.

CR2 solutions provide innovative omnichannel banking software to banks across the world. CR2 makes self-servicing banking better through supplying ATM’s to mobile and from POS to the Internet. CR2 offer digital channels that provide personalised services built upon an integrated self-service digital banking platform known as ‘BankWorld’.

With compliance core to the reassurance needed to drive adoption of digital banking, Solgari’s omni-channel cloud communications platform provides communications and functionality through Microsoft Dynamics 365 within the CRM interface.

As Singapore embarks on its journey into digital banking, there is much to be learned and gained from the experience of companies who have helped other organizations venture into this space. A global technology hotspot, eight of the top 10 global software companies have their European headquarters in Ireland, making this a hotbed of innovation; innovation that empowers and enables.

To find out more about the #IrishAdvantage in Fintech, please reach out to talk.

Authors

Tiarnan McCaughan – Senior Market Advisor Fintech & Financial Services, Southeast Asia

tiarnan.mccaughan@enterprise-ireland.com

Grace Odlum – Market Executive, Southeast Asia

grace.odlum@enterprise-ireland.com

With digital banking being on the rise, Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) has chosen CR2, the global leading digital banking provider, to launch a suite of next-gen digital banking channels and payments services. The move forms the central pillar to the BSB digital transformation strategy to provide a suite of value-added digital services to their customers.

Headquartered in Ireland, CR2 is world-leading provider with a market leadership position in Africa, within the Digital Banking Platform market enabling over 100 banks in 60 countries to seamlessly connect and engage with their customers on the most critical banking channels today.

The sheer importance of providing dynamic digital banking payments and services has been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic as customers move away from branches and physical interaction.

With CR2’s next generation BankWorld platform, BSB will have the ability to digitally onboard customers remotely, allowing the bank to efficiently increase its customer reach. The new suite of digital services will give BSB’s customers full access to relevant lifestyle-based digital services such as Person to Person payments and utility payments. Customers will enjoy an enhanced digital experience as they will be able to access their accounts, products, loans and mortgages remotely whilst being able to track their spending and budgets through Personal Financial Management, creating a better all-round customer experience.

Kabelo Ngwako, BSB Director of Support Services looks forward to working with CR2 on this significant milestone for the bank. “This investment for BSB is important and we were careful to select an experienced and trusted vendor with knowledge of our market.  As CR2 are highly rated and recognised by analysts as a world leading provider of digital banking platforms we know that by bringing them onboard to roll out our digital channels they will give us a platform that will put us at the cutting edge of modern banking in Botswana” said Kabelo Ngwako.

On the announcement of the partnership, Meabh Maguire, CR2’s Global Commercial Manager said that she believes BSB’s move into Digital Banking will give them the edge in an already highly competitive market. “Our BankWorld platform will enable BSB to offer their customers a state-of-the-art digital banking and payments service. In the times that we now find ourselves living, it is key that a bank reacts and adapts quickly for its customers and with this investment, BSB are making a strong statement as to their commitment to the future and to ensuring their customers have access to the best digital banking services available.”

In welcoming the move by BSB, Nicola Kelly, Senior Market Advisor for Enterprise Ireland said, “In CR2, Botswana Savings Bank has chosen their world leading technology to fulfil their ambitious digital transformation strategy that will deliver huge benefits to BSB customers, providing access to the next generation of cutting-edge digital banking services that are being used around the world”.

“When it comes to advances in financial technology, Africa and the rest of the world is looking at Ireland. With the strong reputation for world leading innovation, Irish companies are at the forefront of the financial digital transformation – it’s the Irish Advantage in action”.

With the Middle East’s FinTech sector growing rapidly, Global Shares has made Riyadh, Saudi Arabia its Middle East HQ, making it the 17th office in their global network with the opening of their office in the largest Arab nation in the region. Managing employee share plans for some of the world’s biggest companies, world leading FinTech powerhouse, Global Shares is headquartered in Ireland and has 16 other offices spanning across Europe, America and Asia.

Located in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Global Share’s Riyadh office will act as the hub for the region’s service team and a base for the company’s new Managing Director of the Middle East, Abdulhadi Alherz.

With major plans of expansion in the GCC region, Global Shares has also partnered with NCB Capital – the largest investment bank in Saudi Arabia – who are providing the required custody and dealing services as part of the Global Shares offering.

Commenting on the new Middle East hub, Abdulhadi Alherz said: “Global Shares is a global fintech leader, which has reimagined technology solutions in the employee ownership space. The arrival of a global fintech leader in the employee ownership sector is great news for Saudi Arabia and the wider region, and it’s also exciting for Global Shares”.

He added “Saudi Arabia has a large, strong economy with a population of 33.7 Million and GDP of $790,000,000,000. Our country is highly diverse:  32% of the population is made up of expats and 66% of the population is youthful, both of which will help from a long-term incentive plans perspective”.

Explaining the focus on the region, John Meehan, Global Shares Business Development Director, commented that “The Middle East is a region of huge strategic importance to Global Shares as more and more companies recognise the importance of equity-based compensation.”

In welcoming Global Shares to the region, Enterprise Ireland Senior Market Advisor, Stephen Twomey, said  “It is very encouraging to see Global Shares, an Enterprise Ireland backed company, expand their footprint into the Middle East by establishing a presence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The FinTech scene across the Middle East is both vibrant and thriving with plenty of opportunities. Irish FinTech is well received in this region for its innovative tech and ability to solve complex problems”.

“Global Shares is a great example of why Ireland has forged out its role and reputation as a global hub for finance, technology, and leading fintech innovation,” he added.

With more and more companies looking to expand into the Middle East region, there has been a major boom in the FinTech industry, and an increased opportunity for investment and growth. Global Shares has plans for continued recruitment, training, onboarding new clients and strategic partnerships in the region for 2021.

The provision of clean technologies or cleantech as its more commonly referred to, are becoming increasingly in demand across the MENA region as countries across the Gulf focus on the need for embedding a sustainability focus into their national agendas.

“Countries across the Gulf have been setting ambitious sustainability goals on the generation of energy especially with the investment in large solar parks garnering the natural resource of all-year-round sun, through to actions to conserve energy to become more energy-efficient and reduce their carbon footprints” said Róisín White Barrett, Market Advisor for the MENA region.

With Ireland fast becoming an international hub for the global cleantech market, Irish companies are best placed to partner with both public and private sector organisations across the Gulf to offer their world-leading innovative solutions to become more sustainable.

Over the past decade, the global cleantech sector has grown substantially, and Ireland is playing an important role in contributing to a sustainable region and world. Irish international exports from the sector increased by $85 million in 2019 to $535 million compared to the previous year. Not only is this good news for the Irish economy, which saw a 9 per cent increase in cleantech jobs created last year, it means innovative Irish cleantech is having a global impact, helping to build a better, more sustainable world.

It is companies such as Enterprise Ireland backed NuLumenTek who export globally from their Cork headquarters who are playing a key part of this growing and important sector for Ireland.  As a provider of sustainable, smart, and energy LED lighting solutions, NuLumenTek since 2012 has delivered some of the largest retrofits lighting projects in Ireland and the Middle East.  NuLumenTek’s Managing Director, Jim Healy, views the Gulf region as a key strategic market of importance for the long term future of the company and has established offices in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Having recently just completed one the largest LED lighting retrofits in the Middle East for Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy firm, NuLumenTek designed, manufactured, and supplied energy-efficient LED lighting systems to cover approximately 200,000 square meters of manufacturing facilities for central processing plant for dairy products.

In total 37,000 lights were installed by NuLumenTek along with over 40,000 lights being replaced, generating annual energy savings of approximately 20 gigawatt-hours. More than 14 million kilograms of carbon were reduced as part of the project which equates to the removing of the carbon footprint left by 3,000 cars.

These solutions are both good for the environment and have a significant impact on reducing a company’s utility bills, proving to be a win-win situation. In the case of the Almarai project, the annual estimated savings achieved are valued at $1.5 million and is expected to generate lifetime savings of approximately more than $15 million over ten years.

In the wider sustainability agenda and the drive to become carbon net zero or net positive in the Gulf region, there are clear opportunities for Irish cleantech solution companies to demonstrate the Irish Advantage with their innovation in the sector.

Commenting on the opportunity, NuLumenTek’s Managing Director, Jim Healy, said that, “The fastest way to net-zero is to become much more energy-efficient. If we look at the majority of the building stock in the region, it is easy to identify ways to reduce their energy use by 50% through a range of optimisation options such as the integration of monitoring, smart controls, and technology upgrades to lighting and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems”.

With the Gulf region being a priority market for Ireland, more and more Irish companies will be best placed to provide cleantech solutions across the region to help form a better working world for generations to come.

Showcase Ireland, the country’s premier expo for the craft and design sector, is rocking a whole new look this year. Covid-19 travel restrictions mean Showcase, which is held annually in Dublin’s RDS exhibition halls, is being hosted entirely online instead.

Showcase Ireland 2021, which takes place from 25th to 29th January, has been transformed into a full-service online trade fair, complete with B2B ecommerce-enabled virtual showrooms and meeting spaces.
Because success never goes out of style, it will continue to bring international buyers together with the cream of new and emerging Irish brands, just as it has always done.

“Showcase is now in its 45th year, which is some record of its success,” says Eddie Shanahan, Chair of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers, board member of Design & Crafts Council Ireland and Chair of Showcase Ireland.

The iconic event is supported by the Design Council of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, as well as Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices, Ireland’s micro-enterprise support agency, which uses it to showcase some of the country’s newest and most innovative emerging talent.

Another major part of the event’s appeal is the Design Ireland portfolio, a curated collection representing the cream of Irish craft and design.

Last year’s event delivered €26 million in sales across sectors such as home and gifts, fashion, jewellery and the new and fast-growing wellness niche.

“Buyers come to Showcase Ireland because they know they will find creativity and innovation”, says Shanahan, who points out that the luxury goods sector worldwide is predicted to bounce back sharply post Covid-19. “The DNA of luxury is good design, quality and craftsmanship, and sustainability. Those are the trademarks of Irish companies at Showcase,” says Shanahan.

Irish designers and makers are well positioned to meet changing consumer views about luxury too.

“Attitudes have changed. Luxury now is about supporting small artisans and crafts people as much as it is about supporting big flagship brands,” says Shanahan.

Buyers from around the world have signed up to participate in the online event, in which they can browse virtual shop windows and conduct online buying meetings.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. “International buyers come to Ireland for a point of difference, for innovation, craftsmanship, and the sustainable stories we have to tell about things like small production runs, lack of waste, and respect for the environment – all the qualities and requirements international buyers want”, accordingly to Shanahan.

Developing the platform has been challenging due to its international nature. “Scheduling meetings is a complicated process because as buyers in Japan are going to bed buyers in the US are getting up,” he explains.

As part of its digital transformation, the Showcase Ireland website has been repositioned as a B2B source facility, a valuable year-round resource.

While very many participants look forward to a return to the RDS next year, Showcase Ireland will continue to develop its online presence in a way that mirrors the changes taking place in retail, he points out.

“It’s not a question of bricks or clicks anymore, it’s both, plus a whole range of other digital tools,” says Shanahan.

Migrating the event online extends its reach, points out Sean Davis, Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Director – North America, who is based in New York.

Some aspects of the show are however impossible to replicate online, he admits.

“Showcase Ireland has always been about delivering real value to buyers, and part of that has always been our Irish hospitality,” says Davis.

In the absence of Ireland’s famous hundred, thousand welcomes, organisers this year have decided to add value by commissioning an in-depth report from international research organisation Frost & Sullivan, entitled “Generating Global Growth Through Ecommerce”.

It will be launched at the show with live online analysis from the report’s authors, with copies distributed exclusively to participants.

Irish craft and design travels well. According to Davis, brands such giftware maker Connemara Marble, boot and shoemaker Dubarry, fashion label Carraig Donn and jewellery maker Solvar are much sought after.

Showcase Ireland 2021 provides a wider audience than ever with an opportunity to see why Ireland’s craft and design is so highly prized internationally.

For the organiser it has of course been a case of ‘cutting their cloth according to their measure’- the digital redesign only took place because of the pandemic. Like all good design innovation however, it has resulted in improvement.

Says Davis: “The steps we are taking in 2021 will help Showcase Ireland to grow and flourish for years to come.”

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