Blog article by Tanaz Buhariwalla, Country Director (India), IDA Ireland
From creating the very basis of computing, to housing global tech giants, Ireland has defined the digital age. And Ireland isn't done yet. Read on:
You probably know that Ireland gave the world Guinness which they insist is 'good for you'; but did you know that it was an Irishman's innovation that spearheaded the digital age? Here's a look at Ireland's fascinating IT history:
- It all began with George Boole: A child prodigy, George Boole was the son of a struggling shoemaker. He was forced to leave school and never attended university; except as a teacher! George Boole became the first professor of mathematics at Queen's College (Cork), now University of Cork. And though the Englishman lived in times before the Irish Free State was formed, he spent much of his life in Cork. It was here that he came up with 'Boolean Logic'. This is a form of algebra in which variables are reduced to 'Truth' or 'False'. Little did he know that decades after his death, Boolean Logic would form the very heart of computer science - it was used to device electrical circuits - and usher us into the modern age.
- Ireland gets on the net. And since then, the world has come a long way: “No guarantees of reliable service are available at present, it is quite likely that the line will go down at no notice.” This was the very first email, sent out in June 1991, and marked Ireland's first direct link on the net. The pioneering email may not have been very comforting, but is historic all the same. And Ireland has come a long way since then. Today, Ireland is fast becoming the technological hub of Europe, with foreign companies setting up their European base in Ireland. And Dublin's Silicon Docks alone holds some of the most reputed tech companies in the world.
There are many reasons that attract a company to set up in Ireland and then stay and grow out of Ireland (that I have covered in my earlier blogs). The atmosphere in Ireland is conducive to innovation and growth. Infosys, Kellton Tech, NIIT, Tech Mahindra, BrowserStack, Synowledge and a whole host of Indian tech companies have established their European (if not EMEA) headquarters in Dublin. More recently, Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, visited India and helped strengthen the partnership between Ireland and Indian multinationals. We had interesting conversations with business leaders across India and I share here, a conversation between Martin and HCL Technologies’ Ajay Davessar during Martin’s trip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYEMh9HVqEI).
- Wi-FI is here: Do you remember life before Wi-Fi? The noisy modems that screamed as they got you online. And speeds that had you twiddling your thumbs, anxiously, as you waited for a page to load. The World has an Irish-Australian to thank for the wonderful invention of Wi-Fi.
Dr. John O'Sullivan, an Australian electrical engineer, who has traced his ancestry to Galway, did extensive work in signal processing and radio-physics. His work then led him, and his colleagues, to device key technology that is used even today in all Wi-Fi enabled devices.
- Dublin and the Internet of Things (IoT): Ireland has the resources, infrastructure and skill-set to lead the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. To put it simply, IoT is the process of creating an eco-system wherein our virtual world meets the physical world, via devices. Think smart phones that allow you check the weather, games like Pokemon Go where a computer generated image is super-imposed onto your real world. Or the wearables that measure your heart-rate as you work-out. But where does Ireland fit in? Ireland leads the way: The Intel Curie chip designed in Ireland is a button-sized device that can be integrated into clothing to track performance and activity; the most energy-efficient, high-speed analogue-to-digital converter in the World was created by Irish firm S3; a chip designed by Dublin firm Movidius will feature in a new generation of virtual reality headsets by Google.
Little wonder that Dublin is tipped to be the World’s most densely sensored city in the world, making it possibly the world’s first truly Internet of Things city. Projects at Croke Park, a premier stadium in Dublin, include predicting traffic to/from the stadium, developing apps that indicate queuing times at refreshment and convenience facilities. Intel Quark-based Gateway platforms will gather and monitor environmental data, in particular noise and air quality. Intel will also deploy a wide-scale IoT research platform in Dublin to facilitate the above project. The data that is gathered will be made available to all citizens and stakeholders on an open basis, providing real-time information about air quality and noise levels. Real-time traffic information is already currently being provided.
Now, if you're a tech company looking to set up a European hub, could any city be more ideal than Dublin?
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