Speaking on Monday morning at the launch of Age Action Ireland’s new computer training facility in Lower Abbey Street Minister Rabbitte said “I have decided to increase the resources originally earmarked for this scheme. I believe in investing in what works. Research by my Department has shown that the investment we have made in similar schemes – working with the community & voluntary sector to deliver the training – delivers effectively on our objectives.
“This scheme will enable thousands of people throughout Ireland – people otherwise likely to be left behind in the knowledge society – to acquire the basic practical know-how to improve their digital skills. In particular this will help older people, those with disabilities, the unemployed and other key target groups. They will learn to use the internet, email and how to conduct simple on-line transactions.
“Previous schemes show that learning such basic skills helps people in many ways – giving them new communication options, new opportunities to save money, as well as better access to a wide range of on-line services. We have also seen how such new skills and the opportunities that result from them improve people’s confidence and wellbeing. More widespread participation in the knowledge society is a win-win outcome – with advantages for citizens, government and the wider economy.”
There are a range of initiatives operating in Ireland which are helping to achieve more widespread digital inclusion. Amongst these are basic skills measures such as Age Action Ireland’s Getting Started programme, the Log on Learninitiative, BT’s Connected communities initiative, Irish Internet Association’s (IIA) Digitise the Nation as well as other initiatives currently being developed. Some approaches focus on particular sectors (e.g. the work being done by ENCLUDE to transform the operations of charity organisations). Digital inclusion is also relevant to small businesses. A number of initiatives are currently focusing on developing the potential of SMEs to improve their on-line capabilities. These include the Getting Irish Business On-line initiative from Google as well as a pilot initiative – WebActivate.
Details of the scheme are available at www.eInclusion.ie
The conference will bring together Irish talent and world class leaders in the Python community for a fun, informative and friendly event. Saturday will consist of tutorials, workshops, open-spaces and talks. Sunday sprints will bring Python developers together for coding sessions on various projects. Standard price of admission is €60pp. Student price of admission is €40pp (limited time only). An early bird is available for €50pp (limited time only). On the door admission will be €70pp, space permitting. More information can be found at http://www.python.ie/pyconireland.
Python is an open-source, dynamically typed, object-oriented programming language that can be used in nearly the entire range of technology applications. It offers an easy learning curve and access to a vast array of libraries. With implementations available for all common operating systems as well as the Java and .NET platforms, Python can be used on virtually any system in existence. Python’s power and versatility have made it one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Like other open-source, dynamic languages, it offers rapid productivity and a vigorous developer community; at the same time, Python’s clarity and reliability give confidence to enterprise users. About Python Ireland Python Ireland is a user group who meets up on the second Wednesday of each month for events such as talks, unconferences and informal social gatherings.
Additional information about Python Ireland is available at python.ie.
Vicky Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here in IIA HQ we are very excited about a new event on our calendar for 2011. For the first time ever we are running an Internet Expo! It’s the first trade exhbition for the internet industry in Ireland and we are delighted to be partnering with Ireland’s premier exhibition company Irish Services Ltd. on this project. They know a truck load about exhibitions and I, for one, have learned lots from them.
I’ve worked on our own stand on a number of occasions at conferences all over the country and it’s something that I have always enjoyed and at which we achieved great results whether it be new members, new newsletter subscribers, referrals for our members or event registrations. I’ve always attended these conferences with a specific aim in mind, not least of these being exposure at a grassroots level. Much of the time I spend answering industry related queries where I can or as mentioned I refer the visitor to a member who might be able to help them. Every time we’ve taken a stand at conferences like this we have usually invited members along to join us.
Trade shows and expos can be big business not least of all in the states and I found stacks of videos on YouTube offering advice to the sales and business development teams who look after the stand on the day. To summarize them very swiftly it seems to be important to
- make sure exhibiting fits with your marketing and sales plan and
- once that’s decided it is essential to have an pre-, during and post-exhibition plan,
- have definite goals and activities,
- measure the team’s success and
- follow up on leads and connections developed at the exhibition (and that should be the really easy bit for all you geeks with your email marketing, eh?).
Many of the videos I came across give ideas for attracting more traffic (free coffee or other treats, discount vouchers on business cards, demos etc.); some of them talk about the success killers and there’s even a sample from an Association of Events Organisers training video with Jack Dee sharing some of their 30 Trade Show Secrets (and I thought the sellout Rick Spleen in Lead Balloon was based on fiction. Apparently not…!) This video is well worth a watch whether you’ve already booked your place at our Internet Expo or are thinking about it. And it’s funny too! You’ll also find other tips and tricks in the How To Secion of their Facetime website.
The video below is simple but I think this chap, Sam Manfer, sums up the experience of taking care of business at your company stand with five tips to make the most of your investment in an exhibition stand.
If you think you’d like to discuss the idea of exhibiting at this cool event get in touch with Roseanne or Vicki in the IIA offices today at 01 5424154 or email@example.com
To book your place to this free event, click here.
To see more information, click here to see the e- flyer.
Ever ask yourself?
- Where’s my nearest blue flag beach?
- How much water does my house consume?
- What senior citizen supports are in my area?
- Is there a route safe enough for my children to cycle to their school?
If you answer yes to any of these questions and you are interested in developing ideas and/or creating new businesses Ireland’s First Open Data 18-hr Challenge is for you!
Open Data is part of a new wave of governance. Public data is being released across the world, with the aim to inform citizens, stimulate new economic activity, innovation and competition, and foster cultures of openness whereby governments are more responsive and accountable to their citizens.
When and Where:
When: 4-5 July 2011
Where: NDRC, Crane St, Digital Hub, Dublin 8
Monday 4 July
Tuesday 5 July
The Open Data Challenge is brought to you by NDRC’s Inventorium in partnership with Microsoft, Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, Irish Internet Association (IIA) and Microsoft, Ireland.
NDRC’s LaunchPad accelerator programme is open for applications. If you have an idea for a digital start up apply now.
Teachers may be interested in this workshop at the DCU Diverse 2011 conference. Inventorium’s own Martin Owen will be facilitating.
Leading internet consultancy AMAS (www.amas.ie) has a vacancy for a Researcher. AMAS provides digital strategy, research, content, marketing and related services to corporate, public sector, professional services and high-potential clients
AMAS is the publisher of State of the Net, the quarterly bulletin on online trends. In 2009, AMAS initiated and funded the Ideas Campaign (www.ideascampaign.ie) the independent citizens’ initiative for Irish economic renewal and recovery.
The successful candidate will work under the direction of AMAS directors and senior staff and will fulfil a range of research tasks such as:
- Helping to plan and scope the research requirements of different client projects
- Planning and assisting in fulfilling the audience research elements of client projects, using a range of different methodologies (such as surveys, interviews, focus groups and user testing)
- Conducting sectoral or competitive analyses as well as gathering and analysing relevant online marketing data (in areas such as search, localisation, social media, mobile and email)
- Distilling and analysing data on the performance of client websites and other channels, using analytics software, other tools and different methodologies
- Researching and providing recommendations on site technologies and solutions for search, email, social media and other forms of online marketing
- Providing inputs into key strategic recommendations and the creation of project outputs, such as reports, presentations, guidelines and action lists
- Providing hands-on support to clients in the execution of the recommendations
- Conducting primary research and collating the inputs for State of the Net, as well as contributing to the AMAS blog and our Twitter stream (@AMASinternet)
- Be passionate about the internet and be active across social media on a personal and possibly a professional basis
- Preferably have a relevant third level qualification such as online marketing, eCommerce or general marketing, communications or PR
- Have experience of conducting similar research tasks for an existing or previous employer and/or as part of a third level or other educational programme
- · Be highly analytical and demonstrate keen attention to detail and the ability to work effectively across multiple projects
- Be familiar with online marketing tools and technologies
- Preferably have experience of devising and implementing online marketing campaigns (search, social media, email, for instance) using a blend of different channels and tools, in either a professional or personal capacity
- Have excellent client liaison, project management, and communications skills
AMAS would like to hear from candidates currently working in online marketing or research roles, as well as from “career changers” and recent graduates. While having a preference for a candidate with relevant experience who can make an immediate contribution to fulfilling project requirements, we are open to recruiting an individual who can demonstrate enthusiasm and an ability to add value within a short timeframe to client projects. We are committed to providing both formal and informal training to the successful candidate.
Please apply by submitting a brief letter outlining why you believe you are suitable for this role (by reference to the role description and the candidate requirements) along with your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm on Friday 24 June.
Faster Broadband to More Places, Quicker! – Government convenes CEO Taskforce on High Speed Broadband Rollout
The Next Generational Broadband Taskforce (NGBT) comprises the CEOs of all of the major telecommunications companies currently operating in the Irish market and CEOs of some Internet Service Provider companies. Its purpose is to discuss how best to deliver the optimal policy environment and to identify a roadmap for the speedy delivery of high speed broadband across Ireland. The Minsters are also keen to accelerate private sector investment in this area of critical importance to economic and social development.
Outlining the aims of the group, Minister Rabbitte said “Delivery of high speed broadband to all parts of Ireland is an essential Government priority. It will underpin economic growth and recovery, as well as providing important dividends in terms of education, health and other social benefits. I am confident that we will see rapid progress. Industry is already investing heavily in this area in Ireland, and our aim is to accelerate this investment. We want to encourage companies to work collaboratively across the sector to maximise the roll out of Next Generation infrastructure without compromising the competition that is so vital for innovation. We also want tease out how the State can support industry delivery without cutting across their investment plans”.
The Taskforce will consider issues such as appropriate targets, investment plans, and the role of Government policy and actions in driving and facilitating investment.
Minister O’Dowd, who has responsibility in relation to the Government’s NewERA plan, said “delivery of high speed broadband throughout Ireland is a key commitment under the Government’s NewERA programme, and will contribute to maintaining jobs and economic recovery by creating the necessary infrastructure to support enterprise investment. The work of the Task force will critically inform how best to deliver on this important policy imperative”.
Both Ministers noted that under the Digital Agenda for Europe, the European Commission has set targets of 30mbps broadband to all citizens and 50% of citizens subscribing to 100mbps by 2020. It also commits to universal broadband provision by 2013. The Government funded National and Rural Broadband Schemes are already delivering on this latter objective. The Ministers emphasised that Government policy is now firmly focussed on the delivery of much faster broadband to all regions in Ireland.
A key focus of Ministers’ discussions with industry will be whether the 2020 targets can be delivered earlier, to develop an ambitious roadmap for high speed broadband in Ireland, and what measures can be collectively and individually taken to deliver on that roadmap.
It is intended that the Taskforce will conclude its work by March 2012.
List of Members of the Next Generational Broadband Task Force
Mr. Pat Rabbitte, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
Mr. Fergus O’Dowd, TD, Minister of State
Ms. Dana Strong, UPC
Mr. Stephen Shurrock, O2
Mr. Paul Donovan, eircom
Mr. Colm Piercy, Digiweb
Mr. Graham Sutherland, BT
Mr. Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone
Mr. Robert Finnegan, “3”
Mr. John Shine, ESB
Mr. Sean Bolger, Imagine
Mr. Conal Henry, e|net
Mr. Aidan Dunning, Secretary General, DCENR
Ms. Katherine Licken, Assistant Secretary
I have been intrigued by sugru and how it achieved so much in a short period of time since seeing them in Time magazine and buying/testing some of its products over Christmas.
Company founder Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh from Kilkenny shared some insights into the company and how it has made great strides in getting and harnessing user generated content in its social media platforms and achieved worldwide word of mouth exposure.
Sugru (www.sugru.com) is a UK based company that has invented a silicone based modelling clay that helps people fix or improve everyday items. The product itself is a new development in this class and has some unique properties in that it cures at room temperature, is very self-adhesive, heat resistant, waterproof, flexible and dishwasher proof. The company has one core product with 5 colours and has shifted over 40,000 units in its first few months.
How did the idea come about?
The idea came from a process of material experimentation and an observation of the development of the open source community. Jane has an active interest in how additional life can be given to products and giving people an ability to ‘hack’ and personalise products.
She felt that traditional product design was very static in that once a product emerged from the factory, there was very little interaction where focus should be on discovering and finding out how people use it at home and other areas. This could lead to better products and also connects the company with its user base.
How did the idea come into fruition?
Jane’s story reflects many other SMEs as they build their brand but some initial kick starts have really helped. Jane’s product came from research she did when studying at the Royal College of Design in London, following previous study at NCAD in Dublin. One of the big lifts she received was when the British Airways inflight magazine featured the product in a column which sparked off lots queries from consumers and people in industry.
With help of the innovation department in the college she set up sugru with business partner Roger Ashby and after six years of development and initial grant and investment funding of £350,000, with a modest investment of £100,000 they converted their lab into a production facility. Their initial production of 1,000 packs sold out in 6 hours following their launch and they knew they had a viable business but needed to scale up production.
How do you go to market?
sugru is mainly sold from its website and also through some shops in Ireland/UK and is now in the process of setting up in the US.
- 25% of its orders come from UK,
- 45% from US with
- Ireland and Germany accounting for much of the remaining sales.
Initially they have focused on shipping small single orders and reacting to who wanted to buy it from the website but are now scaling to additional retail distribution.
What marketing do you deploy?
sugru defied much of the text book approach to marketing in that it spends very little on traditional marketing.
Most of sugru’s growth has come from word of mouth which has led to some high profile articles on the company also the inclusion in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions and features in the Irish Times amongst others.
Its website, blog, email and social media platforms are still the key drivers of the business and Jane manages these directly. The company also organises and facilitates ‘Hack It Sessions’ such as a recent one in 091 labs in Galway.
Social Media Presence
According to Jane
“the Blog has been brilliant in terms of articulating our mission. This is not just a product. It was invented to reduce waste and give people an easy way to improve stuff”.
This is where sugru really excels. The company and product has plugged in to a growing movement of people fixing and repairing items and is an enabler of this movement. Rather than just looking at social media channels to push company news it sees the community as central. Most of the content on the channel tap into how people are using the product. Jane receives a lot of emails and correspondence from users who take the time to document what they have fixed/improved and even supply photos showing the degree of connection that the company has with users.
The company rewards and encourages this and as Jane puts it
“all of our marketing comes from customers in the form of hundreds of photo, stories and videos”.
The Hack of the Month profiles how innovative users have been in the use of the product which ranges from fixing medical devices to protecting school bags. sugru also asks for suggestions on who they should send sugru packs to and this recently resulted in packs being sent to scientists working on the largest bore holes in the world based in Antarctica. They featured stories on how they used it to repair diverse items from glasses to knives.
The outreach and investment in the online community now means they have a large gallery of photos and stories of customers documenting their use of the product.
User generated content is the nirvana for a lot of companies and getting customers to tell their stories can be notoriously difficult. Even if people really enjoyed the product getting them to invest the time and allowing you use their stories is rarely successful. Although there is no doubt that this is a very innovative and good product, the subtle difference having the ethos of the company – to reduce waste and allow people to personalise and improve stuff – central in all they do is key to their success. It’s not about sugru but rather what people do with it and how it helps their lives. This approach means people are happier to contribute as it plugs into their lives and the sugru community feels like a grouping of like-minded people rather than a community website. Even the website itself clearly positions it as being about the user and not the product itself. You get a clear impression that much as sugru benefits from user engagement people are learning, teaching and educating each other how it could be used.
Jane is the first to admit that although they do a lot with communities that there is more to do and she feel they are only scratching the surface on what could be done. Similar to most companies, measurement is evolving and difficult to quantify. Easy to measure items such as ‘likes’ are less a concern than the quality of interaction such as conversations and comments. Key is seeing if people are getting the message and spreading it. Twitter is also another active daily channel with most activity taken up by answering queries and interacting than pushing company messages. Jane herself still manages these channels directly herself showing the level of commitment to the users.
One of the other positive aspects of so much user generated content is that now the company can see recurring uses and this can be fed back in to product research, design and marketing. This translates as possible future iPhone cable and adapter products/packs as the company has seen lots of examples of sugru being utilised to fix or improve these.
Real World Interaction
As with much social media activity it’s important to have a real world footprint also. The ‘Hack It’ Sessions facilitate this and are almost a real world reflection of what goes on in the online world. sugru sometimes organises these itself or facilitates them by sending product to users who want to create a shared experience of using the product. People learning from each other and being creative opens up new views on the product that sugru could never do by itself.
Much could be learnt from the sugru experience online and according to Jane companies could really improve their online presence with some simple philosophies including:
- Have a clear mission that is people/users focused and not company centric
- Tweet and interact with people the same as if over a shop counter
- Don’t be frightened of people or interaction
- Don’t be overly promotion
- Remember people are not interested in you but rather what you can do for them
- Have conversations
- Facilitate, reward, and respect the input from people who contact you
sugru is now working on expanding its US presence directly through stores and setting up shipping locally. They are also talking to hardware chains in Ireland to extend its reach and easy of buying.
sugru has achieved a worldwide presence after only 9 months in operation and sold over 40,000 packs. Its marketing is mainly word of mouth and customer based. It has made huge progress into cracking the ‘user generated content’ nut and has built a very strong online brand by having a mission driven and customer centric approach.
This case study is part of the IIA Social Media Working Group‘s series of studies on how companies are using social media to achieve their business aims and objectives. This study was written by Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications, chair of IIA Social Media Working Group.
This free event brings you the best of Microsoft’s premier web & devices conference (MIX) at no cost to you. All you need to do is register and get yourself down to the RDS in Ballsbridge on June 9th!
Join the conversation at reMIX Dublin – see the latest tools and technologies and draw inspiration from a professional community of your peers and experts.
The morning session from 9am to 1pm focuses on tools and technologies for developers: developing for Windows 7, the Cloud, what’s coming up with Windows 7.5 and Kinect Hackables.
The afternoon will be focusing on UX (User eXperience) especially multitouch and Miscrosoft’s Surface device including a look at the future of user interaction and designing infographics for Web Applications with Des Traynor from Contrast.
The final session of the day is a set of lightning talks by some well known designers and developers from Microsoft and beyond covering topics such as storytelling for user experience and the lost art of simplicity.
Now I really wish I was a UX designer or developer…
Data Protection Commissioner launches his Annual Report for 2010 including special investigation on insurance data
Insurance Link Claims Database
The Commissioner is publishing the findings of the most wide ranging investigation yet undertaken by his Office of a database of personal data kept by the insurance sector known as Insurance Link. This is a shared claims database that allows member organisations to share and cross-reference their insurance claims data. At the time of the investigation it contained details of almost two and a half million claims. The investigation identified a major lack of transparency with regard to Insurance Link and that far too many individuals in insurance companies and other entities had access to the database with little or no oversight of that access. Some serious incidents of inappropriate access were identified and are listed in the report.
Data Security Breaches
The Commissioner reports on his publication of a data security breach Code of Practice. This was one of the recommendations of a Working Group set up by the previous Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform which also recommended a strengthening of our data protection laws to provide for penalties for serious breaches. The Code focuses on informing the people affected by security breaches so that they can take appropriate measures to protect themselves. It alsoencourages organisations to voluntarily report incidents to the Commissioner’s Office. 410 data security breach incidents were reported to the Office in 2010, a 350% increase on the number of reports received in the previous 12 months (there were 119 reports in 2009). This large increase in reporting is a consequence of the more exacting demands of the Code of Practice. The Commissioner reports on serious data security breach incidents that occurred in 2010 involving the GAA and SelfCatering.ie (see pages 77 and 79 of the Report). The report also includes details of an ongoing investigation of a breach affecting personal data held by the Department of Social Protection.
Data Sharing in the Public Sector
The Commissioner is publishing a set of guidelines for public sector agencies that wish to share personal data in the public interest – for example, to prevent tax evasion and other types of fraud. Transparency and proportionality are the key guiding principles. The sharing should be explicitly provided for by law. The public sector customer should know what personal data may be shared. The extent of sharing should be limited to what is necessary to achieve the public interest objective. The disclosed data should benefit from a high level of security and be securely destroyed when no longer needed.
The deployment and use of CCTV continues to give rise to complaints from members of the public. Investigations regarding the use of CCTV systems in schools, workplaces and in a small village, Culfadda in Sligo are detailed.
The report outlines concerns which arose following audits of charities. The report also provides information on positive engagements with the National Board for Safeguarding Children and the Catholic Church, the HSE in relation to its child welfare work in Limerick City and the Irish Council for General Practitioners.
The Commissioner’s report includes case studies of a number of investigations including:
· Prosecution of Ice Communications Ltd. for failing to comply with legal notices;
· Prosecution of three companies (Free Spirit Hair & Beauty Salon Ltd, Crunch Fitness Ltd and The Black Dog Communications Ltd) for sending marketing text messages;
- Prosecution of Fairco Ltd and Pure Telecom for calling numbers listed on the NDD opt-out register;
- Prosecution of Tesco for email marketing;
- Prosecution of UPC for offences related to unsolicited marketing phone calls;
- Deployment of biometric systems by commercial service providers and schools;
- Use of vehicle tracking systems
- Disclosure of previous defence force career information by the Defence Forces
- Disclosure of personal data by a housing association to a debt collection agent.
Note: The Annual Report is available for download in PDF format from the Data Protection Commissioner’s website: www.dataprotection.ie
This review is part of a series of reviews that you can expect to see over the next while from the Social Media Working Group. This first one is by Eamonn O’Brien, Founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club. Here he reviews The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, by Joan Curtis and Barbara Giamanco:
This book offers an introductory guide for people who need to figure out how to both understand and harness social media in a world where traditional sales techniques may have had their day. As such, it probably won’t serve as more than light reading for seasoned social media pros.
The authors spend the first half of the book outlining the revolution that has occurred in the way businesses and customers/consumers communicate – and why companies need to learn how to adapt to a new sales era, dubbed Sales 2.0. They argue that since customers are now more in control of what they buy, and have instant access to more information prior to when they make purchase decisions, that a modern form of consultative selling (which integrates the power of social media to develop better relationships, trust and customer collaboration) needs to be used as a replacement for traditional push based selling techniques.
While there are many nuggets to be found in the first 8 chapters, including author observations, examples of how politicians and companies are adapting to/benefiting from communication changes plus a quite interesting potted history lesson on the evolution of selling approaches from the 19th to the 21st century, much of the information provided at the outset of the book appears to be rehashing of stories and observations that have been doing the rounds for some time (online and offline). Also, many of the points made in the first half of the books seemed be endless variations of a single theme; “Embrace the new technology… move away from old sales approaches, they won’t work any longer with the 21st century buyer”.
That said, the second half of the book (when the authors get into a more ‘how to’ mode) is likely to prove both interesting and genuinely useful to anyone who needs practical suggestions on how to harness social media for sales and marketing purposes. The authors did an especially good job on how Sales meets LinkedIn and Sales meets Twitter, including really helpful ‘do’s and don’ts’ tips.
Also, their observations on how to use blogging to drive better Google site rankings together with their suggested ‘rules of engagement for bloggers’ are spot on. But the real value in this book comes at the end, with a case study style 30 day social media sales challenge. This blow by blow demonstration of how social media can be used and why – together with suggestions re goal setting and performance measuring – sold me on this book, all on its own.
My Overall Book Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks a million Eamonn! More from the authors on their website.