All roads lead to Ireland later this month when industry experts and senior executives from some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers gather for the world’s first transatlantic forum on future mobility.

Representatives from Toyota, Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Mazda, Volkswagen, Faraday Future, Bosch, Hitachi, Continental and Verizon will be among those attending CASE: Driving the Future on October 23 and 24. Hosted by Enterprise Ireland, the event will showcase the latest capability and disruptive trends in connected, autonomous, shared and electrified vehicle development.

Ireland might not seem the most likely setting for such an event – there are, after all, no Irish auto manufacturers or major assembly plants – yet driven by its strong tech sector, Ireland is fast becoming a go-to technology hub for the global automotive industry.

At CASE: Driving the Future, Irish companies at the vanguard of this sector will showcase the strategies they are using to develop innovative solutions for the automotive industry, while participants will also have opportunities to expand their network and meet more than 30 industry leaders from the United States, Germany and United Arab Emirates.

CASE Technology

Day one of the forum at Dublin’s Convention Centre will feature keynote speeches and thought leadership sessions from industry experts covering a range of CASE topics.

Gahl Berkooz, VP of Data, Analytics, and Monetization at ZF Group, will talk about how data monetization and digital transformation can drive CASE. David O’Donnell, Global Head of Passenger and Light Truck Tires at Continental AG, will address how CASE technology can be applied to fleet management solutions. Frank Weith, Director of Connected and Mobility Services at Volkswagen AG, will speak about next generation connected services in the US; and John Cormican, VP Engineering Jaguar Land Rover Ireland, will talk about the role played by connected, autonomous vehicles in enabling the digital transformation of Ireland.

Supply Chain Tectonics

There will be two executive panel discussions, the first on the realities of risk and regulation, and the second on how CASE disruption is impacting on the supply chain tectonics of automotive manufacturers.

Capability is king in this industry and forming strategic partnerships and demonstrating an ability to innovate while solving exacting problems has provided many Irish companies with the opportunity to grow quickly.

Irish Capability in Future Mobility

Breakout sessions will provide opportunities for one-to-one meetings with more than 25 leading Enterprise Ireland-supported Irish technology companies. Several of these will also showcase their capability during Enterprise Ireland client company pitches.

One of them is software manufacturer Emdalo Technologies, whose artificial intelligence (AI)-based object and gesture recognition systems are providing solutions for powering the capability of autonomous and driver assistance systems in boats as well as cars.

Barry Napier, CEO of Cubic Telecom, will demonstrate how his company’s global connectivity platform allows more than 2.5 million drivers across 180 countries to enjoy internet capability, while also enabling manufacturers such as Audi, Skoda and VW to collect data on vehicle performance.

Ronan Quinlan will explain how leading car makers can network their vehicles with the outside world using cutting-edge antenna and radio frequency solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) applications produced by his company Taoglas.

Centre of Excellence

The highlight of day two at CASE: Driving the Future is a visit to the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Global Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Centre of Excellence, which opened in Shannon earlier this year.

Major auto manufacturers are investing in the capability of Ireland’s technology sector and both JLR and the French vehicle technology multinational Valeo are at the heart of an Enterprise Ireland-led cluster, which includes more than 70 indigenous companies involved in autonomous vehicle research and product development in the West of Ireland.

As well as Enterprise Ireland, the cluster, CAV Ireland (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles), is backed by IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Transport, and the Lero research institute.

The future of mobility is one of connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles. It is as much about software as hardware, and at CASE: Driving the Future, industry leaders and experts will shed light on the opportunities that this presents.

Ryan J Shaughnessy, SVP Industrial Technology for Enterprise Ireland Chicago, said: “Ireland is quickly becoming a technology hub for the future vehicle. This is due to a combination of top Irish tech talent and an increasing global demand from automotive companies for new technology solutions.

“Many of the 70-plus Irish automotive tech companies supported by Enterprise Ireland are already doing business with major OEMs and tier one suppliers across the globe.

“CASE: Driving the Future is an opportunity to showcase Irish technology to a large global automotive audience for the first time and further establish Ireland as the new go-to destination for automotive technology solutions.”

CASE: Driving the Future consists of a conference day at The Convention Centre Dublin on October 23rd, followed by a visit to JLR’s Centre of Excellence in Shannon on October 24th. Click here to register.

Shorla Pharma is the latest innovator to benefit from Ireland’s national entrepreneurial honour.

Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma, an innovator of oncology drugs, has been named Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. It’s a major accolade for the 34 year-old former accountant who co-founded it with pharma-regulatory expert Orlaith Ryan.

The annual IBYE competition is run by Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices and supported by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency. The 31 Local Enterprise Offices are Ireland’s first-stop-shop for anyone thinking of starting or growing a business in Ireland.

IBYE helps Ireland to nurture entrepreneurs

IBYE is open to entrepreneurs under 35 and offers three categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start up Business and Best Established Business. In the past five years, it has received more than 7,300 entries from ambitious entrepreneurs attracted by an investment fund of up to €2 million, which is divided up between county and national finalists.

IBYE also offers an intensive Entrepreneur Bootcamp, plus mentoring and pitch training.

The competition is now a major proving ground for businesses with innovative technologies that are looking to grow. Previous winners have gone on to become clients of the Government agency Enterprise Ireland, in many cases going on to secure millions of euro in investment funding to help them internationalise and scale.

Previous participants include Daniel Loftus of UrbanFox, which specialises in the development of anti-fraud technology, and former physiotherapist Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical, an innovator in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

It also includes Alvan Hunt of insect protein company Hexafly and Brendan Boland, co-founder of medtech start-up Loci Orthopaedics in Galway, whose InDx device is designed to help those suffering from arthritis of the thumb base joint.

Participating in the IBYE programme helps “put you on the map from an investor perspective,” says Conor Lyden of Trustap. Its platform, which facilitates trusted transactions between strangers, is now used around the world.

Some of its current investors “reached out to me” as a result of the competition, he says. “There’s a clearly defined path from your local LEO to Enterprise Ireland and on to private investors.”

Shorla Pharma has identified a significant issue in relation to women and children’s cancer drugs. Its first product is the redevelopment of a children’s cancer drug, transforming a difficult to swallow capsule into an oral solution.

Its founders met while working at Waterford-based pharmaceutical firm EirGen, and were very much a part of its entrepreneurial journey, before it was bought by US drugs company Opko Health in 2015.

The next stage for Shorla is to become a client of Enterprise Ireland. “The Local Enterprise Office helped us build stronger foundations,” says Sharon Cunningham. “The business is ready to grow and we look forward to working with Enterprise Ireland.”

Winning the IBYE will help it meets its international ambitions. “We are currently applying for NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding in the US, the equivalent of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Pharmaceuticals is a highly competitive sector. Being recognised as having Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a huge differentiator,” Orlaith says.

Ireland’s strong track record in supporting innovative start-ups through the Local Enterprise Network, on into Enterprise Ireland and then out to the world, is increasingly recognised overseas, she feels.

“In North Carolina recently, a state representative said to us that Ireland is one of the most proactive countries in the world, in terms of supporting its companies to set up abroad and pursue their global ambitions,” says Orlaith.

“In our industry, Enterprise Ireland is well recognised internationally. They ask all the right questions, they do their due diligence on your business.” As a result, prospective clients and investors overseas “know you are coming with all this agency support behind you,” she says.

Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation and Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma.

Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation and Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma.

Ireland has a deep talent pool of talented entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, says Oisin Geoghegan, chair of the Local Enterprise Office Network, who says the IBYE competition is an important part of its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“It’s a very rigorous process and a very challenging competition. We are interested in cultivating businesses with strong export and growth potential. They may not yet have made that export leap yet, but have demonstrable export potential for the future,” he says.

The pathway from Local Enterprise Office to Enterprise Ireland is well established. “We are always looking to maximise the potential of Local Enterprise Office clients to grow and develop into Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio so that they can avail of the support structures that it has in place, including its network of overseas offices,” he says.

Knowing a person has won this important, State-backed competition should give any international business dealing with them a huge amount of comfort, he says. “Those international companies who are aware of the strong business support systems we have in place in Ireland will recognise this.”

More than 800 executives from the global medical technology and healthcare sectors will attend Med in Ireland, a major international business event taking place in Dublin, Ireland, on October 10, 2019.

The invite-only event, which is open to expressions of interest, includes a full day’s conference with presentations from top executives and key opinion leaders from around the world. It provides an opportunity for international visitors to experience the future of medtech, in a country acknowledged as a global medtech hub.

Med in Ireland is a one-day event exploring how innovative Irish companies are transforming the future of healthcare and manufacturing. Discover the secrets behind the success of the Irish medtech ecosystem and meet the innovators changing what’s possible. The event brings together innovative Irish medtech companies with healthcare providers and manufacturing partners from around the world.

For many visitors, the primary attraction is the chance to participate in a tailored program of visits to some of Ireland’s most innovative medtech and healthcare companies, organised by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency, for introductions to potential research, innovation, and manufacturing partners.

Med in Ireland provides a chance for visitors to experience first-hand Ireland’s highly innovative medtech sector and to understand how a small country on the western periphery of Europe is producing so many groundbreaking medtech companies.

Source: https://medinireland.ie/about/

The country’s achievements in the sector are rooted in a unique government-backed, industry-supported, and research-led ecosystem, which helps to create, grow and scale Irish medtech innovators around the world. This approach has enabled Ireland to become internationally recognised as a location of choice for medtech activity, exporting €12.6 billion worth of goods to 100 countries each year.

That’s why at the last biennial Med in Ireland event in 2017, buyers from 43 countries visited the RDS in Dublin, at which 1,200 business partnering meetings took place. In addition, over 140 bespoke buyer visits to Irish company sites took place.

Medtech sales worldwide are forecast to reach €530 billion by 2024. It’s the most innovative sector in Europe, resulting in 13,795 patents filed with the European Patent Office. Digital health alone is forecast to have sales of €15.7 billion by 2024.

Irish companies will make a significant contribution to this growth, helping to define the future of healthcare globally. The country hosts almost 300 homegrown medtech businesses supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, the biggest seed investor of start-ups in Europe.

“Med in Ireland is an opportunity for us to fly in top international customers from around the world so that they can see the medtech industry we have in Ireland,” said Deirdre Glenn, director of life sciences at Enterprise Ireland. “And for Enterprise Ireland client companies to do business across diagnostics, medical devices, digital health and the supply chain of precision engineering and component manufacturing.”

Med in Ireland 2019 will deliver opportunities to network with innovative Irish medtech companies transforming the future of the industry, and the chance to conduct on-site visits with exhibitors and arrange one-to-one meetings. Insights into medtech trends from inspiring keynote speakers and exciting innovations within the sector will help provide a deeper understanding of the collaborative medtech research taking place in Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes.

For more information on Med in Ireland 2019, please visit https://medinireland.ie/.

Dublin’s importance as a global hub for business is increasing significantly, according to a highly regarded annual report by leading management consulting company AT Kearney. The 2019 Global Cities Report indicated that while New York, London and Paris remain the world’s most competitive cities, their dominance is being increasingly challenged by advances across Europe, Asia and the Middle East – and made special mention of the impressive progress made by Dublin.

The Global Cities Report ranks the world’s major cities on their attractiveness for businesses and employees, It includes the Global Cities Outlook Index, which ranks cities primed to be the next generation of global hubs. Dublin featured highly in 2019’s Outlook Index, jumping a huge 24 places to ninth position, behind London, Singapore, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, Boston and Munich.

Innovation pushes Dublin into top ten next-generation global business hubs“The Irish city’s impressive performance is spurred by big gains in economics and innovation, reflecting Dublin’s rise as a global tech destination and its prospects for the future,” commented the report on Dublin’s meteoric rise.

Dublin increased its position significantly in every metric: personal wellbeing, economics, innovation and government. In particular, the city jumped 33 places in the economics metric, to fifth place in the index.

Dublin increased its position significantly in every metric: personal wellbeing, economics, innovation and government.“We view Dublin’s strong performance in the 2019 AT Kearney rankings as validating the commercial trends we can see on the ground,” said James Croke, a development advisor for BPO and IT Services at Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency. “Enterprise Ireland-backed companies in the ICT, fintech and services sectors, who invest in innovation and technological capability are continuing to accelerate their international growth. Underpinning this technical capability is Ireland’s innovative, well-educated and technically agile workforce.”

The yearly report reveals which cities are currently the most competitive in several key areas, including business activity, culture, human capital, political engagement and information exchange. These are recognised as the factors that have turned cities such as San Francisco, London and New York into bustling global hubs that attract people and businesses.

Dublin looks to the future

While the Global Cities Index reflects the current performance of major cities, the Outlook reveals which cities are primed to be the next generation of global hubs. This year, despite uncertainty regarding Brexit, London’s steady performance brings it to the top of the Global Cities Outlook, up from third in 2018.

Although performance across leading European cities has stalled, an exception is Dublin, indicating that Ireland is becoming a popular choice for international business partners. The report concluded that up-and-coming cities should look to encourage the development of human capital. Dublin’s big jump in the Outlook proves that the city is on the right track.

Popular in Ireland and the UK, Surf Accounts is to officially launch its cloud-based bookkeeping solution in the US.

Surf Accounts is a cloud-based bookkeeping solution built by CPAs and bookkeepers to automate 90% of their tasks. The subscription-based platform (starting as low as $5.95/€5.39 a month) offers a wide range of features as standard including unlimited transactions, bank statement OCR, 1099s, inventory, CRM and much more.

Surf Accounts recently opened offices in both New York and Los Angeles and exhibited at Accountex 2019 to officially launch into the US market. The solution will help CPAs and bookkeepers to experience the same benefits that have seen firms in Ireland and the UK thrive with the adoption of Surf Accounts.

“We have been working on our US solution for a number of years and we have everything in place to expand into the market,” said Surf Accounts CEO Ray Rogers.We work closely with CPAs and bookkeepers to increase efficiencies and reduce time and costs for their clients — we are beyond excited to set up business across the Atlantic.”

Stunning 340% growth for Surf Accounts in 2019

In an extremely competitive market, Surf Accounts has experienced growth of over 340% in 2019, as they aim to help streamline processes for firms around the globe. With over 25,000 users, serviced by over 120 staff on three continents, the company’s mission is to help CPAs and bookkeepers automate their data entry so that they can save significant time and increase profitability.

“Surf Accounts is another example of an innovative Irish company delivering leading-edge technology to the global accounting services industry,” said Paul Burfield, SVP, Head of Western United States, Enterprise Ireland. “The industry is rapidly migrating towards the cloud and the Surf Accounts platform is ideally positioned to capitalise on this trend. We are delighted to support the company as it expands into the US market.”

Following a hugely successful period of growth, Surf Accounts has recently agreed to a deal on a new 10,000+ square-foot headquarters facility in Dublin, Ireland. The new space will enable the company to successfully service all their growing markets.

Surf Accounts works with Enterprise Ireland, the Irish State agency that partners with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate, and win export sales in global markets.

Assure Hedge, the leading Irish-owned currency protection company, announced they have secured an additional €1.62 million, bringing total investment secured to date to almost €4 million as they expand their workforce to 30.

Barry McCarthy, CEO of Assure Hedge, said:

“With the funding, we are growing the team and investing in technology, while expanding our regulatory scope to scale out our tech stack and products so that smaller SMEs can have access to the same currency hedging and risk mitigation tools that mid to large corporates have access to. We have big plans for the next 18 months and will be really focusing on growing our business across Europe through extensive R&D, marketing and customer development with new banking, broker and payment company partners.”

Assure Hedge provides foreign exchange technology that protects companies against currency fluctuations. Following regulatory approvals earlier this year, Assure Hedge offers a combination of MiFID authorised brokerage for currency options and payments regulatory authorisation, allowing them to conduct business in 31 European countries and to also hold client money. This combination, coupled with groundbreaking technology, enables Assure Hedge to build currency hedging products for customers such as FX brokers, banks and fintech platforms, who can now bolt on new risk management products for their customers more efficiently.

The latest round of investment was led by recently appointed Assure Hedge chairman Richard Hayes, founder and leader of IFG Group for 17 years and previously chairman of Global Shares, and Rob Smith, previously chief technology officer at global electronic trading and market-making company GETCO, with each investing approximately €600,000.

With this additional investment, Assure Hedge plans to double headcount over the next 12 months to 30. A range of tech roles will be based in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, while sales team positions that will actively target financial firms in Europe will be on offer in the UK.

Kirby Group Engineering, the Irish mechanical and electrical engineering contractor, has opened an office in the Netherlands as part of its expansion into mainland Europe.

Commenting on the new office, which is located in Schiphol, Dave McNamara, Operations Director for Europe, said: “Opening an office in the Netherlands is a strategic move in our expansion into the Dutch market and wider mainland Europe market. Not only will it support our growth, it will also allow us to best serve our expanding client base in the region.”

Kirby entered the Dutch market in late 2018 and it is proving to be a successful move for the company: “We have already secured a number of high-profile projects in the data centre and life science sectors with more projects in the pipeline,” explains McNamara.

“Expanding our operations further into mainland Europe is a progressive step for Kirby, particularly given strong levels of investment in two of our key target sectors: data centres and life sciences,” adds McNamara.

Kirby provides full mechanical and electrical contracting services as well as specialist high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) design and construction services across Ireland, the UK, and mainland Europe. The company has the capability to execute projects in Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Germany.

Kirby operates in a number of sectors including data centres, substations and renewables, life sciences, industrial manufacturing, petrochemical and commercial. The company, with a turnover of €200m, was founded in 1964, and currently directly employs over 850 highly-skilled professionals.

For more information, visit www.kirbygroup.com.

Technology and data intelligence have revolutionized today’s human resource best practices. For the last several years, HR managers have had access to data sets regarding employee performance, wellbeing, and culture. With talent attraction and retention as the bedrock of the HR team, this information has become critical. And with 77% of employees desiring more flexibility and many prepared to move for this reason, it is the role of the HR department to make the business case as to why SmartWorking is a critical component of an organisation’s hiring, diversity and inclusion policies.

Founded in Ireland, Abodoo is the fastest growing platform for SmartWorkers, providing global data and tech intelligence to recruiters for discovering talent, reducing bias and rapid hiring. Abodoo has registered SmartWorkers across 62 countries within three key segments: technology, finance, and support. The company was recently recognised with a Think Global Start-Up Award in Mountain View, California.

We recently met with Vanessa Tierney and Ben Wainwright, co-founders of Abodoo, to ask them about their business, technology, and the global human resources market.

Why did you create Abodoo?

Abodoo was created to help companies’ source exceptional talent without being restricted by office space or commuting. Through SmartWorking, we believe that companies can grow and communities can thrive by allowing professionals the freedom to work and live where they choose. Technology now allows that choice, and through Abodoo we aim to offer life-changing opportunities and genuine work/life harmony.

Also, the role of internal recruiters today is not easy. With the increase in sourcing channels, the volume of online profiles and ease with which candidates can apply without really considering a role, it has all led to hours of daily insourcing and the screening of hundreds of resumes every month. The real value of a great recruiter is at the point of engagement with a potentially great hire and ensuring that they are converted if they are the right fit. We built Abodoo to focus on key pain points of the internal recruiter by using technology to remove inaccurate applications, poorly-qualified matches, and the unconscious bias that has an indirect effect on the diverse talent pipeline.

Do you use people analytics?

From the outset, our platform has been designed to utilise the data that users plug into it. Our machine learning can only be effective based on what training and modeling data we use, so our algorithms process the data with reduced bias in mind. From a people analytics perspective, that means we provide results that do not prioritise the likes of gender or race, and we can serve up analysis that is skill and experience-focused, which should be at the forefront of hiring based decisions.

What outcomes do you see from hiring remote workers?

There are many upsides for a company to embrace work model flexibility. The most obvious benefits include talent attraction and access to skilled talent that is either unemployed or underemployed. There are skilled professionals who live in regional areas, and when they look at childcare costs to commute to a city, it does not make financial sense. Why not work remotely?

And there are groups with mobility issues, including older, experienced workers who are ready to take it a little easier but not retire. With SmartWorking initiatives, we’ve seen talent retention improve by as much as 40%, and workers report feeling happier and more trusted. CFOs tend to support SmartWorking efforts as it can lead to saving close to $11,000 per person, which can be substantial for enterprise companies. The key is to take the first few years of savings from square footage needs and invest in a strong SmartWorking supportive framework.

What exactly is SmartWorking?

SmartWorking is where a company enables an employee or contractor to work outside the office, whether that’s from home, a co-working hub, or in a hybrid work model, either part or full time. Terms used to describe SmartWorking include flexible, remote, work from home (WFH), distributed work, and gig work — which falls under the SmartWorking umbrella.

Today, nearly 40% of US employees are SmartWorking, and it’s estimated that by 2025, over 50% of all workers globally will be SmartWorking or gig working (self-employed and location agnostic).

How has technology impacted the employee recruitment process?

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and smart algorithms are enabling recruiters to move from the mind-numbing tasks of sourcing and screening, to now being able to focus on candidate engagement, leading to better, more qualified hires and a strong employer brand. Losing candidates during the hiring process generally happens because the candidate is not feeling valued because of overstretched recruiters. Even if just 25% of time can now be spent on high-value work, this leads to a 25% increase in hires per month per internal resource.

What other HR industry trends do you see developing in 2019?

The prediction is that diversity and inclusion leaders will start working closer with HR on the recruitment process to ensure compliance with internal D&I policies.

HR’s ability to better assess existing soft skills and to anticipate predicted skills required will play an essential part in the future of work.

Establishing the organisation’s, and the individual employee’s, carbon footprint from a corporate social responsibility point of view, and adopting strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, will be very important.

And finally, as smart, distributed workforces become the norm, HR teams will be able to access the millions of people in the world who are not working, bringing employment opportunity to the masses and reversing skills shortages.

Can you share a client success example?

Last year we partnered with Vodafone, a multinational telecommunications company. As thousands of professionals and businesses started to register on the platform, we realised that this SmartWorking community was a new market for products enabling agile work.

The message was simple, to position both brands as thought leaders for SmartWorking and to support engagement. Companies that give flexibility to workers enjoy the positive impact that includes accessing more talent, supporting diversity, reducing city congestion, improving employee wellbeing, and helping to decrease carbon emissions. This is a great message to share for any company.

Now that enterprise-level companies understand that any level of flexibility is “SmartWorking” we have launched SmartWorking workshops and audits to support companies in increasing their investment in this area, and recognise the benefits of talent attraction, retention and cost savings.

Do you have any recent client news you would like us to share?

We have entered the United States with our first globally-recognised client, Fortune 500 company Concentrix, and their new brand Solv. This is an exciting partnership as it leverages our data intelligence marketing service in conjunction with the Abodoo platform to access diverse talent across the US, UK, Ireland, and India to help source thousands of gig workers. This global partnership will ensure Concentrix achieves its expansion pipeline plans by making their hiring process smarter, faster, and more economical than ever before.

Why do you think Irish companies are seen as world class?

Ireland is a small market on the global stage, yet it is home to the European headquarters of over 90% of the largest tech companies. This gives Irish companies a local, supportive environment to launch, test, and retest with global brands as clients to refine a solution and meet world-class standards. Finally, when an Irish company is ready to go international, they have an incredible advantage not just in the proven solution, but in the global network of their existing client base and the incredible support of Enterprise Ireland offices in-country.

Today’s automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are causing significant disruption in customer experience (CX) operations around the world. This digital disruption, including chatbots and natural language processing empowered by AI, is having an enormous impact on customer service delivery.

In Ireland — the call center capital, where over 56,000 people across more than 250 companies work in the CX industry — advancements in technology are seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.

“Never before has disruptive technology been so impactful on business delivery,” noted Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. “The CX sector is a significant employer in Ireland, and we have a unique opportunity to harness our agile workforce, and our research capability to continue to develop innovative technologies and deliver the next generation of high-quality customer solutions that have the potential to transform how markets and businesses work.”

For good reason, Ireland is globally recognised as a region where complex customer interaction meets technology, resulting in the enhancement of services, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

Last month, several Enterprise Ireland-supported companies attended Customer Contact Week (CCW) 2019 Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Formerly known as Call Center Week, CCW is the world’s largest event for CX, contact center and customer care professionals. The companies that attended, Arema, Arise, Interaction, and Zevas are all members of Ireland’s leading CX industry group, The Crios Group. Crios’s mission is to promote and develop the BPO and CX sector in Ireland.

“These companies excel in providing powerful solutions within the customer contact sector,” added Sinnamon. “With a motivated and highly trained workforce along with a high technological environment, Ireland is a prime location for customer solution hubs. Attending events like CCW helps keep our companies at the forefront of their industry.”

A recent document released by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and the Customer Contact Management Association (CCMA) titled CX Transformation: a Strategy, Vision and Roadmap 2019 discusses how Ireland has a unique opportunity to strengthen its position as the location of choice for companies looking to expand existing operations or establish new centers. Ireland has continued to be a leading location for CX-related activities due to its highly skilled and motivated multilingual talent base and favorable economic environment.

Capitalising on the global shifts in business models and emerging disruptive technologies, Ireland’s CX workforce can upskill into higher value roles, offering the opportunity to position Ireland as a globally recognised location where complex customer interaction meets technology, resulting in real enhancement of services, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Enterprise Ireland attended TU-Automotive Detroit to showcase some of the cutting-edge autotech technologies emerging from the country.

From the invention of color photography to the cure for leprosy, Ireland has long proven its inventive impact on the world. It is not only the land of saints and scholars but that of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Ireland is quietly becoming one of the world’s biggest developmental hotbeds for automotive technology, or autotech.

This is clear in the automotive sector with numerous Irish companies creating groundbreaking resources. From radar technologies to fleet tracking, companies like Arralis, EPS Global, Mergon and Provision CameraMatics are presenting what is on offer in terms of autotech in Ireland.

Four Irish autotech companies to watch

Arralis is a rapidly scaling technology company that has just announced the launch of its new E-Band automotive radar system. The Corvus Radar exceeds what is available in the current automotive marketplace in detection range, elevation resolution, and scan area, enabling multiple 3D target detection at up to 300 m over a ±45° azimuth angle and ±7° elevation angle. With customers like the UK Ministry of Defence and the European Space Agency, Arralis is taking strides into the automotive industry.

EPS Global is a leading, privately-owned, component processing and sales organization servicing the electronic manufacturing and ICT industries including hyperscale data centres and financial services amongst others. In addition, EPS Global provides IC Programming services to Tier 1 automotive electronics suppliers and a number of large OEMs and CEMs in the consumer electronics space.

With customers like Audi, Honda, Tesla and more in the automotive space, Mergon works with leading OEMs and Tier 1 integrators to supply components and assemblies on time, with 100% accuracy. Mergon’s in-house tooling and automation teams utilise precision automation, robotics and vision system technologies to ensure it can supply technically demanding parts at competitive prices.

Provision combines telematics, live video, autonomous driving technology, smart cameras and sensors, and compliance apps to enable a fleet operator to manage driver and vehicle risk and accident management combined with operational efficiency. Their platform provides one system to manage all areas of fleet management.

“Ireland is quickly emerging as a hotspot for future vehicle technologies, and the TU Show is the first time Ireland will unveil its high-tech capabilities to the automotive industry in the Detroit region,” stated Ryan Shaughnessy, SVP of Industrial Technologies, Enterprise Ireland. “We hope TU Detroit is a building block in the foundation that helps put Ireland on the map as a go-to destination for innovative automotive technology solutions.”

Enterprise Ireland hosted an Ireland Pavilion at TU-Automotive Detroit 2019 in the Suburban Collection Showplace. Enterprise Ireland supports a cluster of 70+ leading Irish client companies with cutting-edge capabilities in CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric vehicles).  Some of these companies have partnered with automotive OEMs and Tier 1s to bring new CASE technology to the market. More broadly, there is heavy investment from the Irish government in developing the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) sector, including the development of a new CAV R+D test-bed site for 2020.

“Despite Ireland’s small size, the country has had a varied and vibrant history in the automotive industry. Companies like Arralis, EPS Global, Mergon and Provision showcase the innovative, highly-skilled workforce that the Irish automotive sector has produced and the impressive technologies that the industry continues to output,” noted Tom Kelly, Director of Innovation, Enterprise Ireland while speaking at the conference. The Director of Innovation lay emphasis on the ecosystem that is now in place in Ireland to drive the automotive industry, “Foreign Direct Investment along with Irish-owned firms, venture capital industries, and centers of research expertise are in place to support and grow the sector’s development.”

Nutritics is a leading provider of digital food information management systems, delivering nutrition software to forward-thinking businesses and professionals in 170 countries. The Irish company caters to multiple sectors, including healthcare, education, foodservice, food manufacturing, and elite sport, providing best-in-class tools for dietary analysis, meal planning, recipe analysis, nutrition labelling, and menu management.

The brainchild of Damian & Ciarán O’Kelly, Nutritics has empowered users to make accurate, relevant and actionable food choices since its inception in 2013. The company has won multiple awards along the way; including Best Emerging Sports Tech Company 2015, Ibec’s Emerging Technology Business of the Year in 2017, and High Potential Exporter of the Year 2018.

Nutritics expands to South Africa

The company has since expanded beyond its origins to Ireland. In 2018, it opened a dedicated office in Johannesburg to serve the region. Leigh-Ann Silber, a registered dietitian and recognised thought leader in the South African nutrition industry, has played a strategic role in driving awareness and adoption of Nutritics there.

Leigh-Ann and her team have already achieved huge local success with Nutritics, which is currently used by local nutrition practitioners, foodservice operators and chefs who have adopted the system for meal planning, dietary assessment, recipe development, cost analysis, and food labelling.

Tracey Williams, registered dietitian, Western Cape, explains how the product supports her professional practice: “I am loving Nutritics. I have recently used the Libro feature, which is just amazing. It’s nice to be able to offer this service to my patients. It makes things feel more professional, which I like.”

Victor Du Pleiss, celebrity chef, based in Johannesburg, comments: “Nutritics has helped me double my business in less than a year. The platform is so easy to master – I managed to complete my first project in just 10 days, a task I thought would take at least two months before I found Nutritics. There is just no other product on the market that can be moulded and customised like this!”

Due to strong demand, the company was invited by Nutritional Solutions in Johannesburg to present at this year’s Continuous Nutrition Education 2019, as well as to host a practical masterclass.

Damian O’Kelly, CEO Nutritics, presented on the digital tools that can be used by dietitians to save time, increase revenue and support decision-making and communication through the adoption of Nutritics technology.

Frankie Douglas, Head of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Nutritics, presented on sustainable healthy eating and hosted a practical workshop showcasing best practice methods for recipe calculation.

After the conference, the company met with a number of high-profile clients during a three-day roadshow. These meetings included discussions with industry leaders in the food, health and emerging technology sectors.

Dr. Ureshnie Govender, Enterprise Ireland’s senior market advisor for life sciences in Sub-Saharan Africa, says, “Enterprise Ireland, an Irish Government agency that works with high-end Irish companies, fully endorses and supports the Nutritics team to grow their footprint in South Africa, by helping them to drive awareness of the system and to create sustainable relationships in the nutrition sector.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Nutritics,  sign up for a free trial or contact Leigh-Ann.

New partnership will provide beekeepers with a solution for connected apiaries globally.

Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications has announced a new partnership with ApisProtect, an Irish agritech innovator who deploys Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor the health of honey bees. This collaboration aims to develop a globally scalable IoT solution for connected apiaries, to help stem the significant decline of bee populations and increase crop production worldwide.

Contributing an estimated $174 billion to the global agri-food industry annually, honey bees play an essential role in global food production. One-third of all food that is consumed worldwide depends on pollinators, such as bees, and there are 91 million managed beehives worldwide. However, US commercial beekeepers alone have experienced declines of 38% in colonies in 2015-2016.

ApisProtect’s solution for reducing colony loss

ApisProtect has developed a solution that reduces colony loss, improves the yield of commercial beekeeping, and makes apiaries much easier to manage. Inmarsat is supporting ApisProtect as the global connectivity partner, ensuring the solution can be deployed anywhere on the planet. ApisProtect brings the power of advanced sensors and machine learning technology into the hive to deliver a 24/7 early warning system so beekeepers can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health, giving beekeepers actionable insights and alerts to help prevent losses and increase colony productivity.

The solution consists of an ApisMonitor Unit that sits in a beehive and is connected to an analytics platform optimised for measuring honey bee health via Inmarsat’s Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) and Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) connectivity. This, in turn, feeds into a machine learning algorithm for early detection and mitigation of bee health issues.

The next phase for Inmarsat and ApisProtect

Inmarsat and ApisProtect are making a joint investment in the next phase of the project to demonstrate effectiveness of the data collection and analysis across diverse climates and bee species, spanning Ireland, the UK, the EU, the US, and South Africa ahead of a commercial launch in late 2019. The project includes collaboration with some of the world’s foremost bee researchers and organisations and is already monitoring the health of over 10 million honey bees in hives across Europe, South Africa, and North America.

Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, Co-founder, and CEO of ApisProtect, discussed the importance of the project: “Without a healthy bee population there could be severe food shortages across the world, which is why we have developed an advanced system to monitor current population levels and provide real-time insights, to help beekeepers increase the health and productivity in their colonies. ApisProtect will provide beekeepers with actionable insights that will brief them on the condition of their hives, identify problem colonies and suggest a variety of actions to keep their colonies healthy and prevent losses, providing a 24/7 early warning system. This also enables them to make earlier interventions in the event of a problem, leading to reduced costs.”

Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, Co-founder, and CEO of ApisProtect

Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, Co-founder, and CEO of ApisProtect

“Many hives are situated in remote locations globally and we needed a partner who could support our project with Industrial IoT expertise and a variety of connectivity technologies. Inmarsat is delivering highly reliable hybrid satellite/cellular and LoRaWAN technologies to ensure that we can provide services to beekeepers no matter how remote their location. Additionally, the mobile nature of Inmarsat’s services means that if hives need to be moved for pollination purposes, we can still continue to deliver hive data with minimal disruption.”

Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, explained the importance of connectivity in the project: “We are incredibly proud to be working with ApisProtect to help reduce the decline of bee populations globally and to support efficient crop pollination. Combining ApisProtect’s groundbreaking sensor and machine learning technology with our world-leading connectivity capabilities and IoT expertise will offer beekeepers a powerful tool for supporting the health of their apiaries. The stability and reliability of the connectivity are highly important to this solution as continual uploading of hive data is imperative to understand the real-time health of bee colonies. We hope that this partnership will aid beekeepers in maintaining strong, healthy colonies and will help increase the global bee population.”