Next Tuesday will see the start of a new series of guest posts from the IIA Social Media Working Group. This series will focus on case studies of Irish businesses using Social Media in innovative or effective ways and each week will see a different member of the group deliver a case. So a lot of variety and a day off the blogging for me – a win win situation for us all 🙂
Brendan Hughes, the chair of the IIA Social Media Working Group, shares some of his thoughts on business uses of Social Media in a recent blog post. He examines in particular how the web has developed a dichotomous existence with transactional relationships on one side and social relationships on the other. Really successful internet businesses or businesses on the internet are bringing these two relationships together.
The Irish Internet Association are pleased to announce that Realex Payments have agreed to partner with the organisation as the headline sponsor of Congress 2009: Better Business Online in a Tough Economy: Money, Marketing, Monitoring & Mobile. This national conference takes place on May 21st to 22nd in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry in Dublin.
Realex Payments is a leading European payment service provider. Founded in 2000, the company provides a broad range of payment services to small and large businesses as well as financial institutions. Realex Payments process billions of Euro per annum for merchants domestically and internationally, across a wide range of industries including airlines, mobile carriers, utilities, insurance companies and gaming companies.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Colm Lyon, CEO of Realex Payments, said, "Realex Payments has been a longstanding supporter of the IIA and their great work, and we are delighted to once again support the Congress. The theme this year is particularly relevant to today’s tougher climate, but the opportunity presented by the online market place gives companies of all sizes the chance to compete on a level playing field. It’s great to see the IIA are discussing topics which should be hugely beneficial for attendees."
Fergal O’Byrne, IIA CEO, added, “The IIA is delighted to welcome Realex Payments as the headline sponsor of our National Congress. The theme for this year’s congress, Better Business Online in a Tough Economy: Money, Marketing, Monitoring & Mobile, is as much a call to action for those doing business online in Ireland. By partnering with us Realex Payments are echoing that call, encouraging Irish businesses to make the most of the opportunities that the internet offers, to make money, market goods and services effectively, monitor spending & branding and to be everywhere by going mobile. It is possible to do better business online and among those who can facilitate businesses big and small to do this are Realex Payments. As a non-profit business association the IIA relies on the support of its members to continue developing useful, informative and timely events throughout the year and is grateful to Realex Payments for providing some of that support.”
This year the IIA Congress takes place in conjunction with the Annual Net Visionary Awards.
Watch a promotional video about the 2008 IIA Congress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkpPUWvAQ94
For more information, please contact
Roseanne Smith, IIA Communications Manager, 087 222 3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Craoltóirí Gaeilge: Tá Gaeilge líofa ag Roseanne Smith má’s mian leat agallaimh a dhéanamh leí.
About the Irish internet Association
The Irish Internet Association is the professional body for those conducting business via the internet from Ireland. It has been, and remains, one of the driving forces behind the adoption of the medium. Established in 1997, the IIA provides leadership to enterprises and society conducting business in Ireland. The IIA is a strong voice for its 600 plus company memberships. The aim of the Association is to Connect, Inform and Promote. More information available at www.IIA.ie.
While there is no rush per se, nominations being open until 27th March, why not do it now before you forget? The next thing you know it will be Paddy’s Day and suddenly the 27th will be upon us and you will be cursing as you try and fill in 15 whole categories in one go. Do them at your leisure. Do one a day. Just do it!
Nominations are now open for the 10th Annual Net Visionary Awards. These awards celebrate exemplary uses of the internet in Ireland. Nominations are welcomed from the public in 15 categories as varied as Best Business Blogger, Web Developer Excellence, and Innovation Award. A new category this year is Online Tourism Award sponsored by Fáilte Ireland which hopes to encourage Tourism SMEs to strive for excellence in their online business.
The process to become a Net Visionary is three fold: firstly nominations are welcomed from the public until 27th March 2009. Then five judges review all entries to create shortlists of four contenders in each category. Finally, from 13 April until 1st May 2009 the public are invited to vote for the shortlisted individual they think should be the Net Visionary in each category.
Fans of the Net Visionary Awards will note that the Awards are taking place earlier this year and are coinciding with the IIA Annual Congress, the premier national conference focusing on doing business online in Ireland. Irene Dehaene, IIA Events Manager, explains why the IIA have decided to bring these two key events together, "As a business association, we felt an event that celebrates online excellence but which includes plenary sessions, workshop style breakout sessions and web clinics reflected the association’s mission and goals. Including the Net Visionary Awards will allow delegates to celebrate the best in Irish business online while learning and networking as well."
Fergal O’Byrne, IIA CEO, encourages everyone to nominate the internet businesses that most impressed them in the last year, saying, "TThe internet offers all businesses in Ireland, regardless of size or sector, opportunities to cut costs, increase effectiveness, communicate clearly and, in some cases, to reach beyond these shores. Reviewing last year’s winners we see that much of their success is a result of having social media and its multiplier effect at their core of their business models. However we also see winners and runners up who are focused on internationalizing their business and who know there is no better way to do this than via the web. Many of our members report that they will continue with their internationalization plans regardless of the economic climate. No doubt we will see many of them nominated in this year’s Net Visionary Awards."
Nominations are now open at www.netvisionary.ie
Last week we kicked off the Feedback Friday feature with Pressieport.ie. I don’t mind telling you that the post was the most popular on this blog in the last month and the feedback Fred Schelbaum received was second to none. Not long after the post went live I got an email from Fred with the subject line, “WOW!” so he was very happy too. So well done to all the commenters and Twitterers who helped out.
This week our featured site for Feedback Friday is Puddleducks. Aedan Ryan, director of Puddleducks, sent me the following to help you fabulous feedbackers:
PuddleDucks is an online retailer of outdoor clothing clothes for children and adults. Our best selling items are the waterproof dungarees, jackets and suits for younger children.
What I would like to achieve from Feedback Friday is to get feedback and make improvements to our Home Page so we can try to reduce the bounce rate from visitors to the site.
Therefore I’d appreciate feedback on some of the following:
- initial impression of our Home Page
- layout of the Home Page
- is it easy to know how to progress from the home page to start shopping on the site?
- are there any other design improvements we could make to the home page or the product pages?
- any other ideas on how to make shopping easier or encourage visitors to purchase
We’d also like to offer a 10% discount to all readers for any purchases until Sunday 8th Feb. Just use the discount coupon “iia12”. Please note that you need to be registered as a user on the site before you can redeem the coupon.
Thanks very much in advance for your feedback.
Again please keep the guidelines in mind when giving feedback and most of all, thanks very much!
BizCamp is a user generated business conference with open, participatory workshop-events, where content is provided by the participants. It is a new feature on the Irish business events calendar and is based on principles of interaction, engagement and conversation. It’s a free event and therefore sponsors are very welcome 🙂
I had my first experience of a camp-style conference last September which focussed on one of my main interests: social media. At that camp, I learnt lots of interest in that arena. So I didn’t hesitate to sign up for Bizcamp either – I figured if I learnt half as much as I did at Podcamp Ireland and met half as many people who have been a boon to my work with the IIA it would be a day well spent. Bizcamp Dublin is being organised by, among others, Keith Bohanna, who is on the IIA Board, and Alan O’Rourke of Spoiltchild, an IIA member. In the video below Keith explains a bit more about what to expect at Bizcamp. Watch it and then go register!
Chair of IIA Physical Infrastructure Working Group questions Government plans for national broadband
Keith Bohanna, chair of the Irish Internet Association Physical Infrastructure Working Group, questions the rationale behind the Government’s decision to roll out national broadband on the 3G wireless network, describing it as "divorced from reality". The IIA Physical Infrastructure Working Group aims to influence the development of a global class physical internet infrastructure for Ireland.
Bohanna continued in response to the Government’s announcement on Thursday 22nd January 2008, "Mobile internet dongles consistently deliver speeds which would be better described as an "internet connection" than "broadband". The Epitiro 2008 Irish Broadband study included among its recommendations: For end users that desire the best performance, fixed broadband, at its worst, is superior to any mobile broadband."
This is confirmed by the experience of normal Irish mobile internet users. A search of the popular Irish discussion forum Boards.ie contains a discussion which is 389 pages long and focused on the mostly negative experiences of Three mobile broadband dongle users.
This is not acceptable for businesses relying on the national broadband scheme to deliver information about their products to consumers in a variety of media. Current internet trends are for the consumption and production of large amounts of media in forms other than text – for example images and video. The development of these communications channels forms an integral part of the internet presence of businesses with their eye on international markets and an understanding of the modern consumer.
The Minister also declared that the National Broadband scheme would put Ireland "ahead of the rest of the world". In the May 2008 Ireland was in 23rd place in the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation broadband ranking Bohanna cites this as another example of the Government setting unrealistic targets.
In a briefing given by Forfás to the Physical Infrastructure Working Group’s contains further evidence to support the working group’s concerns about the attainability of the National Broadband scheme. The briefing included the following:
"Comparator European nations in the OECD (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and The Netherlands) have set ambitious targets and implementation plans to enable the services of the future using a mix of government spending, private investment, and public/private partnerships. In terms of broadband performance it is projected that these leading Western European countries will achieve the following minimum broadband services penetrations, by 2012:
- 50-70 percent of subscribers with speeds in the order of 24 Mbit/s widely available;
- an additional 15-20 percent of subscribers with speeds in the order of 38 Mbit/s; and,
- 10-20 percent of subscribers in these countries with access to 100 Mbit/s-1Gbit/s.
By the same year (2012) Three hope to enhance their service to offer a minimum speed of 2.3Mbit/s. And remember that even that minimum speed will fluctuate widely.
It is possible that our current budgetary position will not allow us to achieve 24Mbit/s on a widespread basis. It is possible that for businesses with dial up the Three dongle will give them a better service than the free market will deliver. Bohanna concludes by asking, "Why can’t it be possible to be honest about what this €223 million programme will actually deliver? Internet connectivity for email and web browsing, not a global standard business broadband service."
A lot of companies join the IIA after launching their new, improved or indeed very first website. Many of the new members ask me for feedback on their site. Generally I try, as is my wont, to be helpful and offer constructive advice based on my experience. But I always feel uneasy doing this because I am just one person with only so much experience of the web. I have my own likes and dislikes and although, yes, I might have more exposure to business websites than most, I do not feel that my opinion should be granted any extra weight because of this.
However, I also know how difficult it can be to get good, qualified feedback on your site that you have spent hours breaking your heart over one way or the other. With this in mind, I thought we might try a little crowdsourcing. If you are a member of the IIA and you would like some feedback on your site with a view to making it look, feel and work better then please email members at iia dot ie with your URL. Please include notes about any particular aspect to which you want to draw visitors attention and a 100 word blurb about what your company wants to do/ is doing with the site. I will then blog about it here and we will invite feedback from all comers via the comments and trackbacks.
We’ll call it Feedback Friday and I’ll publish the sites looking for feedback on, yep you guessed it folks, Friday!
Considering the gloomiest budget ever was announced yesterday it’s nice to know that the people who know more about money than the rest of us are joining the Irish Internet Association. The IIA are delighted to welcome Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon into the association and sincerely hope they have some hot tips to share with the rest of us. If they do tell us to get on our bikes they are not being rude: as far as I can make out us cyclists seem to be the only people who will be getting money back from the Government. Barry Meehan, owner of Worldwidecycles.com will be happy today!
But I digress. To quote themselves, Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon have a lot to offer those in need of Accounting and Business Consultancy:
With substantial experience in both the public and private sectors, Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon offers a comprehensive range of Accounting and Business Consultancy services to our clients across the island of Ireland.
In all areas of the practice, we provide partner clients with pragmatic, expert led, personalised advice and insights that help them succeed, grow and prosper.
And they do indeed have some information about yesterday’s budget of course. You can download their perspective on it from their site as a PDF.
In case you didn’t get today’s IIA Event Alert I want to remind you that there are only four days left to nominate your favourite business people, companies and organisations for the IIA & Enterpise Ireland Net Visionary Awards. I blogged previously about all the categories but you can also peruse the list and nominate right from there on the Net Visionary microsite. A couple of pointers that you may not have known:
- You can nominate more than once in all categories so if you think a number of companies deserve an award as Best Online Exporter, for example, nominate them all!
- Just in case you are concerned about being nominated (and sure why would you be!) you can nominate yourself! Alternatively add the “Nominate Us” graphic on the right to your own site to remind your visitors. Right-click the image and choose ‘Save Image As…’ (on the Mac you can Ctrl+Click and save the image from the context menu) and point it to http://www.iia.ie/net-visionary/nominate/ and watch the nominations roll in!
- Nominate your clients/ customers – it’s a great way to acknowledge that you think they are doing a great job on the project you helped them to develop. You can bask in the reflected glory and they might even invite you along to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham by way of thanks. A win-win situation!
You don’t have to be a member of the IIA to nominate or be nominated so make sure your opinion is heard and nominate today!