NEWS IN BRIEF
Daily Digest 19 October
by Emmet Ryan
NYSE creates 400 Northern Irish jobs | Newsweaver expands workforce by 33
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) plans to create 400 jobs in Belfast over the next few years. The development, which comes 18 months after the NYSE bought a Belfast software firm Wombat, will see it create a high-tech service centre in the city. Invest Northern Ireland is providing STG9.6 million towards the cost of creating the new jobs. The new positions will be highly technical posts, which will be based in Belfast Adelaide Exchange Building in the city centre and rolled out over the next two years.
In more good news on the jobs front, Newsweaver is to create 33 new jobs in Cork. The Bandon-based internet services firm will also invest EUR700,000 in research and development as part of the expansion. The firm provides software that allows companies to publish and send newsletters to their customers. Newsweaver's clients include the UN, Shell, AIB, Bupa and Philips.
Swedish electricity company Vattenfall is coming to Ireland to develop open wave technology. This technology will use energy produced by Irish coastal waters to power Irish homes. Vattenfall is teaming up with Irish wave farm development firm Wavebob to form a joint venture called Tonn Energy. The new entity will aim to build 250 megawatts of generating capacity, which would be half the Government's energy target from renewables by 2020. Tonn Energy's immediate focus will be on research and development on a site off the coast of Co Mayo, which is being planned by Sustainable Energy Ireland.
Belfast-based software and services provider Equiniti ICS has been awarded a multi-million euro contract to provide a case and complaints management solution for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) of England and Wales. This follows the firm's success in winning similar contracts with the Office of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.
Newry-based software and consulting services firm First Derivatives has reported a 66 percent increase in sales to STG11.4 million for the six months to the end of August, compared to the same time last year. Pre-tax profits came in at STG3.1 million, a 36 percent increase on last year, while earnings per share rose by 42.6 percent to STG0.15. The company also said it has spent STG4.7 million on a 15 percent stake in Californian based software provider Kx Systems, raising its overall stake to 20 percent.
The Irish Healthcare Awards have given the prize in the 'Best Use of Information Technology' category to Pfizer Healthcare Ireland and irishhealth.com for their text service and website www.migrainemonitor.ie. The system uses technology to allow patients better manage their migraines, by enabling them to update their personal online Migraine Monitor Diary direct from their mobile phone by SMS. This diary then assists them, and their healthcare professional, to identify trigger factors for their attacks and frequency, which helps to improve the management of migraines. Pfizer and irishhealth.com also plan to develop the service further to allow healthcare professionals log in and remotely review their patients'. This additional feature is to be trialled at Migraine Clinics in Beaumont Hospital and Cork University Hospital.
O2 Ireland and Research In Motion (RIM) have announced the Irish launch of the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone. The device has a touch-sensitive trackpad, and is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature dedicated media keys, which are integrated along the top of the handset, giving customers an easy way to control their music and videos. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is available from EUR129 depending on subscriber plans.
Ireland's public sector bodies needs to embrace social media or risk becoming isolated, according to Menno van Doorn of IT services company, Sogeti. "Those that don't [embrace social media] will find themselves disconnected from their citizens, employees and 21st century value creation." He made the comments ahead of giving a keynote address at the Northern Ireland Civil Service ICT conference later this week.
The PC market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa continued to contract for the third consecutive quarter amid the global economic crisis, according to analyst firm IDC. Overall PC shipments declined by 8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, according to preliminary data released by the firm. Western Europe held well, as the back-to-school season assisted the PC market to record positive growth again at 0.8 percent. The emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe were the most affected by the overall economic downturn, recording a 30.9 percent decline in PC sales.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be awarded the No Boundaries award at The Economist's 2009 Innovation Awards. The award recognises Zuckerberg's work in developing the social networking site which has over 300 million active users. Zuckerberg is one of eight award winners that will be recognised later this month as part of The Economist's Innovation Awards Ceremony and Innovation Summit.