NEWS IN BRIEF
Daily Digest 17 February
SMEs encouraged to tap into security market | Software firms invited to investment forum
InterTradeIreland, working with consultancy Innovator and the Centre for Irish and European Security, has developed a pilot initiative to help SMEs tap into the potentially lucrative civil security industry. The Innovation Connections Programme will invite 60 companies to take part in two-day workshops (priced at EUR250 per company) in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Newry, where they will be guided through business opportunities in the security market and shown how they can develop new products and services in this area. Thanks to research undertaken in partnership with airports and police forces across the island of Ireland, InterTradeIreland says it has identified 15 new business opportunities in areas such as communications, intelligent software, digital media, architectural design, intelligent lighting and signage systems, dangerous substances, access control/security systems, sensor detection and surveillance technology. The civil security sector is estimated to be worth more than EUR26 billion in Europe. SMEs can apply to take part in the programme at Innovator.ie/workshops.
Software SMEs and start-ups are being invited by the Irish Software Association and the Irish Venture Capital Association to participate in an event called The Software Investment Forum on 16 April*. The event offers promising software companies an opportunity to showcase their businesses to Irish venture capitalists. IVCA members have EUR700 million to invest over the next few years. "Despite the challenges facing our economy, our members recognise the great potential in [the software] sector," said John Tracey, chairman of the IVCA. More details are available from Software.ie. *(19.2.10 Update: Event has been re-scheduled to 15 April.)
In other events news, NovaUCD, in association with the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, is running a lunchtime seminar series featuring speeches by Irish technology entrepreneurs. The 'Entrepreneurs Live!' series will be kicked off by Colm Lyon, founder and CEO of Realex Payments, on 24 February at NovaUCD in Belfield. Other speakers in the series will include Howard Beggs, co-founder and CEO, Helix Health; John Lynch, CEO, Merrion Pharmaceuticals; and Ray Nolan, founder, Web Reservations International and Worky.com. The aim of the seminars is to promote a spirit of entrepreneurship among the academic, research and student populations at UCD and beyond. Admission is free. Registration details are available at UCD.ie/nova.
Microsoft is enabling more social networking features in its Outlook e-mail client, with an announcement that the Outlook Social Connector can now hook up with LinkedIn, and will soon integrate with Facebook and MySpace. Outlook Social Connector users who download the public beta version of LinkedIn for Outlook can now connect to their LinkedIn account to view colleagues' status updates and photos next to incoming e-mails from them. The integration with Facebook and MySpace, for which a date has yet to be announced, will enable Outlook users to bring other social components into Outlook, such as profile pictures, photos and status updates. Read more about this on the Microsoft blog.
Skype's international phone-calling traffic has accelerated at a time when international telephone traffic has slowed, according to a new report by TeleGeography. While international calling volumes from telephones grew at a compound annual rate of 15 percent for the past 25 years, over the past two years it has slowed down to only 8 percent. Skype is bucking the trend, however, with international Skype-to-Skype traffic growing by 51 percent in 2008, and an estimated 63 percent growth in 2009. This increase brought Skype's market share to 12 percent in 2009 and made Skype the "largest provider of cross border communications in the world, by far", according to TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert.