Showcase Ireland to present a capsule collection of brands to trade buyers and press in New York

Craftsmanship, design integrity and quality are key traits of any designer. This is even more evident in Irish designers and craft makers, who add artistry, imagination, and storytelling to their creations.

Some of this luxury work by Irish designers and makers will be on display in New York at a Showcase event, commencing with an exclusive reception in Soho House on Wednesday, November 20 which will be hosted by the Consul General of Ireland, Ciarán Madden. The reception will be attended by leading retailers, distributors and importers of Irish goods and trade media in the apparel and lifestyle sector.

The capsule collection, which ranges from knitwear and Irish tweed clothing to jewelry and hand-cut crystal, is being presented to promote the quality and diversity of contemporary Irish design and craft in the US market.

Twelve brand owners will present selected work in a capsule display on the evening along with that of 20 other Irish designers and makers from the annual Showcase Ireland trade fair. This preview of work from Showcase Ireland will provide guests with a unique opportunity to engage with the brands and learn more about the process and inspiration behind the featured work.

A highlight of the reception will be the US premiere of FÍ, a short film on Irish heritage textiles and contemporary fashion design by acclaimed director Perry Ogden in collaboration with Paula Hughes. Following the screening, Samantha Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine will lead a discussion exploring the vision and influences behind the film, in conversation with Perry Ogden, knitwear designer Colin Burke and Rosy Temple, Marketing Manager, Magee 1866.

Following the Showcase event, a number of meetings and other events will take place in New York. On November 21 and 22, a showroom for the Irish brands will be presented at Bank of Ireland’s headquarters on E 45th Street.

“This is a special event to bring creative Irish brands to New York and to connect them with US retailers and influencers. We are looking forward to introducing attendees to Showcase Ireland and welcoming them to Dublin in January 2020,” said Catie Riordan, VP of Consumer Retail at Enterprise Ireland.

This Showcase Ireland initiative is a collaboration between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Consulate General of Ireland in New York, and is sponsored by Bank of Ireland. All of the Irish brands on show in New York are exhibiting at Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo™ in Dublin, January 19 – 22, 2020. Showcase is one of Ireland’s largest and most important international trade fairs.

Irish brands showcasing work 


Bernie Murphy

Handmade Pleated Pashmina – Buttermilk








Colin Burke  

Inis Oírr Aran sweater and Gannon coat








Criostal na Rinne

Móin Carafe 1









Oxford and white Herringbone Cashmere Scarf









Hanna Hats

Vintage Cap Tweed






Inner Island

Duende Long Necklace








Magee 1866

Navy Herringbone Donegal Tweed Classic-Fit Jacket








McConnell Woollen Mills







Mourne Textiles

Milano Rug – Grey








Rathbornes 1488

Dublin Tea Rose, Oud & Patchouli Scented Classic Candle









Ros Duke

Polka Sweater In Mustard








Reuben Avenue

Nova Silk Shirt



How collaboration can transform the future of healthcare and manufacturing.

“What is incredible about Ireland’s medtech industry, is that the whole ecosystem works together and supports each other,” said Galway native Liam Kelly, who is President and CEO of Teleflex, a global manufacturer, and supplier of medical technology products. “Even though the companies might be competitors on one level.”

Kelly was speaking as part of a discussion panel led by Chris Coburn, Chief Innovation Officer at Partners HealthCare System in Boston, to an audience at Enterprise Ireland’s Med in Ireland 2019 conference, Ireland’s largest medical technologies event.

Liam Kelly, President and CEO of Teleflex

Ireland’s unique collaborative ecosystem has given rise to one of the world’s most innovative, integrated and globalized medtech hubs. According to Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency, the country is home to development, manufacturing and service operations for 18 of the top 25 global medical device companies. University research, Government-supported R&D centers, and business collaboration are driving medtech innovation in Ireland.

“We introduced an R&D center into our facility in Athlone where we had a number of technologies we were working on,” explains Kelly. “We needed some expertise within the clinical world and were able to engage with NUI Hospital Galway for this. That’s a huge advantage Ireland has, their medtech companies are able to work with both competitor companies and hospitals, which means businesses can move much faster with production and development.”

Collaborating to add value

Tanja Valentin, Director of Governor Affairs and Policy for MedTech Europe, said collaboration between various industries is on the rise. Also on the rise is a collaboration between different healthcare players. “For example, buyer entities and hospital consortiums work together with the industry to define how the delivery of healthcare can be done differently and effectively.”

Stakeholders across the health ecosystem recognize the need to move away from historic payment models based on product utilization, to value-based models that tie a product’s performance with emerging evidence of improved patient outcomes.

“We see outcome-based models being shaped together. MedTech Europe has developed innovative procurement mechanisms which identify value factors such as safety and effectiveness of products, not just the purchasing price. Healthcare delivery institutions see that holistic solutions and different value elements will deliver better outcomes.

“However, the next challenge is how to measure these outcomes, because you have to find ways to first define what you want to measure and then be able to act on what you’ve measured. This needs to be figured out together.”

Tanja Valentin, Director of Governor Affairs and Policy for MedTech EuropeIn the medtech industry, economic uncertainty – from Brexit to the US-China trade war – also brings challenges. Can innovation and technology outperform these challenges?

“I’m very optimistic for the future of the medical device market,” says Kelly. “For the next 30 years, demand for medical devices will rise and it’s a wonderful time to bring new technologies to market. But companies need to have patient outcomes data documented in the clinical trial to be successful. Particularly when entering the US market, as hospitals in the States have Value Analysis Committees to evaluate new product purchases.”

Paudie O’Connor, Multi-Site Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Boston Scientific, supporting Endoscopy and Urology Divisions, adds, “At Boston Scientific, we have done acquisitions and learned some hard lessons around data. Collecting data is essential for reimbursement, to show medical benefit and added value of a new technology.”

Major trends drive new healthcare opportunities

How can medtech companies support healthcare in the Middle East?

Dr Ibtesam Al Bastaki, Director of Investment and Partnership at Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said, “People in the Middle East, especially Dubai and UAE, want their services to be very fast. I think technology will take a central role in this. Dubai is not producing any equipment and there is not much technology manufacturing but Dubai has a lot of pharma plants. We want to encourage all accredited start-ups to help the healthcare system.”

Dr Ibtesam Al Bastaki, Director of Investment and Partnership at Dubai Health AuthorityEffectively managing large populations has become a key imperative in healthcare systems around the world, highlighted Chris Coburn, asking “What will that yield from your part of the industry in the next five or so years?” he asks.

Dr. Al Bastaki said, “My concerns for the future, especially in terms of the population, would be that because Dubai as a nation is very young, aging will become a big issue. Therefore, we need to be prepared and act on how to reduce the cost to the Government. We need to improve the whole healthcare system in Dubai, by improving accessibility for the patients. Especially when they reach the age of 60 and above. There is a gap in Dubai in terms of rehabilitation in the long-term and elderly care, like homecare. I think medtech will play a huge part in this space.”

Liam Kelly said, “As medtech leaders, we need to be aware of how healthcare will be in the future with regards to access to information. Millennials don’t care that they went to Dr Jones all their life, they will do their research and go to a different doctor if they’ve discovered this doctor produced better outcomes. Information is so transparent now.”

Paudie O’Connor added, “Patients are becoming more educated about their conditions and making their own decisions now. So, medtech companies should engage with patients in their outreach efforts. That’s something we need to be very conscious of in the marketplace.”

Florida State University’s world-renowned Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) today announced a multi-year partnership with SoapBox Labs, to create and deliver next-generation language and literacy assessments that could transform how young children around the world learn to read.

Pioneering reading research center leverages speech recognition for early literacy assessment

SoapBox Labs has developed a unique speech recognition technology that actually works for children,” said Dr. Yaacov Petscher, an Associate Director at FCRR and Associate Professor at FSU. “This collaboration is about harnessing the transformative potential of speech recognition technology to develop next-generation literacy assessments that will enable educators to better understand children’s reading and language skills. Speech recognition holds immense potential, to better identify a child’s likelihood for literacy success, and to reduce the risk of bias for dual language learners or children who speak with a dialect variation. An immersive, reliable, and efficient assessment system like this can hopefully revolutionize the way we think about assessing children.”

Developing literacy skills during early childhood is a critical foundation to later student success in school and life, but literacy remains a challenge for millions of children around the world. While literacy assessment is critical to identifying challenges early on, young children are unable to perform the sort of tasks associated with traditional formative assessments.

Unlike the speech recognition technology found in mainstream voice assistants, SoapBox Labs’ speech recognition technology was built specifically for kids and their early literacy needs. 

“This technology was developed to identify at a very early stage when kids are struggling with language or literacy development,” stated Dr. Patricia Scanlon, Founder, and CEO of SoapBox Labs. “Our technology delivers an interactive process that is accurate, providing immediate feedback to children, parents, and teachers on a child’s progress along the journey to literacy.”

FCRR’s pilot studies of SoapBox Labs’ speech recognition technology commenced in September 2019 with assessments of 1,000 students – from kindergarten through second grade – across Florida, Oregon, Atlanta, and South Carolina.

The partnership between SoapBox Labs and FCRR is part of the Reach Every Reader initiative, a partnership between the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, Florida State University, and expert practitioners, students, and families across the US to develop effective solutions for readers. Reach Every Reader was launched in early 2018 with funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

Advanced analytics are enabling contact centers to deliver by making the most of the combination of human and artificial intelligence-driven automation.

The implementation and impact of advanced analytics in contact center operations were explored by leading global consulting firm McKinsey at an event organized by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency.

Customer Experience (CX) centers use data analytics to improve productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.

Right now, the sector is undergoing significant change, with automation quickly moving to take on relatively advanced tasks, said Julian Raabe, who heads up McKinsey’s customer experience practice for EMEA.

Finding the right fit for automation

Raabe used a major US bank as a case in point. It has stripped 360,000 lawyer hours from its overhead by using automated processes to parse contracts to highlight only those that needed further – human – analysis.

Some 50% of all tasks done at work today could potentially be automated, although it may not make sense to do so in terms of value, said Raabe, who reckoned that, in fact, just 5% of jobs are likely fully automatable. Despite the rapid technological advancements of the past half-century, the only job that has disappeared completely is that of ‘lift boy’, he suggested.

What contact centers are ripe for is not automation to remove jobs, but automation to strip out non-value adding elements of a job, enabling agents to be more efficient and freeing them up to add more value to their role.

Julian Raabe, Expert Partner in CX and automation, McKinsey

Julian Raabe, Expert Partner, McKinsey

The power of predictive analytics

From Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to guided workflows and advanced analytics, right up to artificial intelligence, the opportunity to transform daily tasks in contact centers is, therefore, growing rapidly, with data collection and processing at the core.

One of the biggest transformations is the growth in proactivity, whereby businesses will increasingly use the data they have available about customers to predict why those customers might contact them, to try and resolve the issue in advance, he said, using a utility firm facing an outage as a case in point.

“Predictive maintenance is already there. They can fix a lot of these things before the customer even realizes it has happened. And if it’s not resolvable, at least when the customer calls, they can say, ‘Look, are you calling because of this particular issue?’ with successful prediction rates of over 70%.”

CX journeys are increasingly digital

CX journeys are increasingly starting in digital channels. In the service space, between 30% and 60% of issues that start digital are resolved there – and growing, he said.

Where digital-only is not sufficient, the move to omnichannel options is significant. “Customers increasingly expect companies to offer multiple channels,” he said, pointing to a two-year-old McKinsey survey, which found that 75% of people want to contact a company through at least two channels, and 25% want at least three.

The rise in social media should be of particular interest to the CX sector because not alone do customers like it, but – schooled by their experience in personal networks – they don’t expect an immediate response. This stands in contrast to a customer on the phone, who wants an answer now.

A second advantage is that social media enables both the customer and the contact center agent to have a full history of the conversation, enabling an agent to get up to speed quickly. What’s more, in social media, the person you are talking to is identified.

It’s why social media is something companies are now accelerating, said Raabe, “and it’s a little bit of a myth that the adoption of a channel depends only on your customers. It’s a combination of what your customers want and what you drive as primary channels.”

Frontline robotics will grow, helped by the increased success rate of interactive voice response (IVR) in resolving issues. The issue-resolution rate with IVR, without recourse to an agent, is as high as 65% among some McKinsey clients, without any drop in customer satisfaction.

Chatbots work well too, helped by the fact that people write shorter and more clearly than they speak, and accents are not an issue. Simply by automating those parts of a contact center call where a customer identifies themselves, and their issue can save up to 30% of a human conversation.

CX journeys are increasingly digital

How analytics are impacting recruitment and retention

The result is a shift in the type of people being hired by contact centers. More investment is going into attracting and retaining the right people. This is important because while automation can boost efficiency, it is the human that provides the ‘X factor’, he said.

New technologies increasingly play a part in upskilling agents, including solutions that use speech analytics to monitor non-contextual elements, such as energy and empathy in an agent’s voice, to guide them to better performance – in real-time.

Next-best-action engines, driven by analytics, are growing in use too, helping the agent to fulfill requests more quickly. All of these initiatives are reducing dropped calls and transfers, empowering agents to resolve more issues themselves.

At the front end, it’s about prediction; at the backend, it’s about agent enablement, he said.

Advanced analytics can also help from a macro-management perspective, for example enabling employers to see which agents are most likely to leave in the next three months, and to optimize shift combinations, said Vinay Gupta from McKinsey Boston, a technical expert in data analytics. Employee analytics can also help you to select the right candidate profile for your call center.

Increasingly, McKinsey sees that organizations are starting to try and capture the employee life cycle value, increasing the productivity as well as the length of time employees stay.

It is enabling this by transforming the way training and development are conducted, resulting in a move away from one-to-one coaching towards peer learning. Equally, it is unearthing the real satisfaction drivers for employees, as opposed to those simply assumed by management.

Vinay Gupta, Expert, McKinsey

Vinay Gupta, Expert, McKinsey

An agile move beyond metrics

Advanced data analytics is facilitating a move beyond dashboards – which simply report metrics – to ‘action boards’.

The move to agile work practices, a concept traditionally held not to work in call centers, is, in fact, helping boost customer satisfaction by enabling more customers to have issues resolved in the first contact, rather than having them routed through the organization.

Regrouping personnel into clusters ensures greater agent identification with clients, delegates heard. It also incentivizes earlier resolution because agents know if a problem is simply passed on and not resolved somewhere else, it will come back to them.

Moreover, metrics are shifting from per-call costs to the total-customer cost, in line with agile principles such as empowerment, transparency, and responsibility.

Agile is often thought of as an “innovation engine” but Raabe sees it as an “execution engine”, which changes how people think and behave in call centers. By putting all these elements together “we can help to deliver a completely different customer experience,” he said.

Robert Walker, CEO of KEENAN (Alltech Farming Solutions Ltd), outlines how farmers can best respond to quickly changing consumer expectations.

In an era in which consumers are becoming as focused on environmental responsibility as on price, can small become the new big in agriculture?

Doing so would mean reversing established trends towards increasingly large farm operations and bigger machinery. As tighter regulations are implemented around sustainable farming, and consumers are becoming more conscious of their own carbon footprint, the need to reduce the impact of farm operations on the environment has emerged as the most significant challenge facing the agricultural sector.

Sustainability is about efficiency for farmers today

Consumers want their food to be produced sustainably. They want it to be clean and green, traceable, to ensure standards and animal health are met, and they want it to be affordable.

For the first time in one of the most advanced European nations, we are seeing farm sizes going down in the Netherlands because of environmental caps that are being put on it. Farmers can only produce as much as legislation allows them with regard to pollutants such as nitrates, phosphates, and other gases.

This doesn’t mean that output has to go down. There can often be a misunderstanding that going smaller means you must have fewer animals or lower production. That’s not the case. Sustainable farming is about efficiency – the ability to realize more from less through increased productivity while also maintaining profitability.

Innovation must help solve agriculture’s efficiency challenges

Innovation must drive the process of meeting this challenge. Improved automated machinery and data processes will allow farms themselves to become smaller, so we can in effect get more from less. This also means you can have more space for forestry and rewilding to improve the environment and still not damage farmers’ livelihoods, or the health, sustainability, and security of the food supply chain.

Machines that have become bigger and bigger to facilitate ever-increasing herds will start getting smaller. Instead of having one mix a day in large feeding machines for herds, for example, robotics will allow for multiple mixes a day done automatically in smaller machines, with the mix determined by algorithms, which are acting on real-time data supplied by wearable devices detailing how the animal is performing.

The use of data is already widespread in modern farming operations. However, increasing automation of these processes using artificial intelligence and blockchain-type technology will allow analysis across the entire food chain and a joined-up approach to addressing the challenge of sustainability.

The benefits of this could be exponential. A more efficient farm means producing more milk and meat with fewer resources and fewer nitrates or gases going into the atmosphere, so it improves greenhouse gas emissions and also runoff from other heavy metals going back into the soil. It is a multipronged approach and also ties into farm profitability because a more efficient farm is a more profitable one.

Products and services must be measured, not by their impact and effectiveness individually, but as a part of the whole. For example, a farmer can buy products that reduce methane but which will also reduce efficiency, which means you need more cows to produce the same amount of milk. This means more cows consuming more feed, which means more fertilizer to produce the feed, which might also be excreting more nitrogen.

What is needed is to achieve carbon reduction, not just by having one product that reduces methane, but rather by having a myriad of products and services that can improve farm efficiency collectively.

Farmers and agricultural suppliers must recognize the relationship they have with consumers as part of the food chain rather than just as providers of commodities to food processors and retailers.

Both Alltech and KEENAN would previously have had a one-on-one relationship with the farmer. Now we are generating data that is relevant to a feed mill, to the farmer, to the processer that buys the milk from the farmer, and even to the supermarkets buying the milk. This means we have a relationship with everyone in the food chain and are more relevant to consumers in the end.

By utilizing this data across the entire food chain, the needs of both consumers and farmers can be met. Profitability at the farm level, sustainability at the global level.

Ireland is famous for its ‘gift of the gab’. Strong communications skills and interpersonal strengths helped to establish it as one of the world’s first call center hubs back in the 1980s.

Since then, such centers have grown in scale and scope, today providing a wide range of inbound and outbound contacts across customer service, support and sales. They provide contact not just through phone calls but via an array of channels from social media to web chat.

That’s why this omnichannel customer engagement practice is now referred to as simply ‘customer experience’ – or CX.

In an increasingly data-driven world, CX is a resource that feeds into every aspect of an organization’s operations, from engineering to sales. As a result, it has become an invaluable engine with which to drive continuous improvement.

Ireland’s long heritage in call centers, its position as a global technology hub, and its highly supportive CX ecosystem place it at the leading edge of a rapidly transforming sector.

It’s a sector that is characterized in Ireland both by the large cohort of multinational companies that have a presence here, as well as the strength of its indigenous CX sector.

Innovative ecosystem invests in CX

Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency, and IDA Ireland, which supports international companies locating in the country, together with the highly proactive Customer Contact Management Association (CCMA) – which draws its membership from both – all work in partnership to ensure Ireland leads the way in CX development.

A recent report co-published by the three, entitled Strategy, Vision and Roadmap 2019, looks at the impact new and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced data analytics are having on traditional CX activities around the world, and highlights Ireland’s capability to deliver them.

Ireland, it found, has a unique opportunity to strengthen its position as the global location of choice for companies looking either to expand existing CX operations or to establish new ones.

The country’s highly-skilled, multilingual workforce already powers a number of highly innovative indigenous players.

These include Voxpro, an international business process outsourcing (BPO) specialist with Irish operations in Dublin and Cork, as well as centers of excellence in North and Central America, Europe and Asia. Founded in Cork, this highly innovative company was acquired by TELUS International in 2017, which today employs over 34,000 people.

CarTrawler, the Irish travel technology platform, is the world’s largest online marketplace for car hire, processing over 900 million hires per year across the globe. It employs 450 people, including 42 different nationalities, and covers 20 languages. In the past two years, it has transformed itself from call centers to digital contact centers.

In doing so, it was enabled by Edgetier, the software company behind Arthur, a customer service system for CX centers. It combines AI and human interaction to optimize contact centers agent service and efficiency. Built by “data-first” engineers, it also provides a full suite of reporting tools providing unparalleled data access for contact center managers.

How Irish CX expertise delivers for worldwide partners

The need for businesses in all sectors to respond to fast-changing customer expectations is one that Irish CX companies are well placed to deliver.

Indeed, no other sector is required to be as responsive, transformative and adaptive to new generational demands. Consumers worldwide increasingly gravitate towards brands that meet, exceed and, increasingly, predict, their needs and expectations. Irish CX expertise is delivering on just that for customers worldwide.

“The CX sector is a significant employer in Ireland and we have a unique opportunity to harness our agile workforce and research capability to continue to develop innovative technologies and deliver the next generation of high-quality customer solutions that have the potential to transform how markets and businesses work,” said Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland.

Ireland is one of the CX capitals of the world with more than 250 companies that operate CX activities employing 56,000 people and serving multiple markets in multiple languages.

Their work is supported by key technology supports, including the country’s strong research capability. Ireland has dedicated research institutes and centers of excellence – including ADAPT and INSIGHT – which work with businesses across AI, machine learning and analytics.

In particular, CeaDAR works with CX companies in areas such as customer analytics, contact center analytics, text analytics, analytics in real-time, social media analytics, location-based analytics, and sentiment analysis.

It’s just one example of the ways in which Ireland fosters excellent collaboration between research and industry. Of course, it helps that Ireland’s IT specialists are among the best educated in the EU, with 82% having a third level qualification – compared with an EU average of 62%.

These workplace skills are augmented by national agencies such as Skillnet Ireland, a specialist in workforce learning, which tailors industry-led programs of interest to the CX sector right up to Masters Degree level.

The strength of this unique ecosystem is why the Global Innovation Index ranks Ireland 10th in the world. Put simply, no country has more experience in customer experience.

Fabien Peyaud, CEO and founder of Herdwatch, describes how the use of data is helping farmers to drive more sustainable agricultural practices from field to fork.

In an increasingly globalized food chain, where quality and sustainability of food is as big an issue for many consumers as price, and a world of information is available at our fingertips, we should expect to know a lot about the food on our plate.

Where did it come from? Was it farmed sustainably? What were the conditions like for the animal? Was it grass-fed? Did it receive antibiotics or other medications?

Given the agritech solutions already being developed, there is no reason why in perhaps five years that consumers won’t be able to use their mobile phone to scan a code on food packaging and access a full report on whatever product they’re buying.

They wouldn’t just be looking at a label, they would be viewing records that have been approved by the entire food industry – the farmer, food processor, and retailer – not just the supplier of the end product as is currently the case. It might include information such as whether the animal received antibiotics, or that it was fed grass 70% of the time.

Moving data from field to fork

The technology to achieve this already exists. Farmers are using mobile devices to digitally record in real-time important health, welfare, nutritional and regulatory compliance information about their livestock. However, rather than this information flowing through to consumers ‘from field to fork’, the recording system is split and operates from field to farm gate with producers, and then from farm gate to plate with processors and retailers.

The true benefits of technology for both farmers and consumers will only be realized when the various apps and platforms that farmers use to improve their efficiency work seamlessly together in a system that can be tracked across every link in the food chain.

My own company, Herdwatch, is involved in projects that are moving in that direction and would enable farmers to record all the information they need from one app. We’re building integrations for the National Milk Records and Cattle Information Service in the UK which would allow farmers to share and receive data seamlessly with these organizations. We’re also putting together an open API that will allow farmers to connect to other systems from Herdwatch, like using your Facebook or Google account to connect to other systems.

These projects haven’t been completed yet but there does now seem to be a willingness to cooperate and share among farmers, farming organizations and agritech suppliers. Several years ago, there was talk of convergence but too many people were afraid of it – they feared that by providing access to their particular silos of data and expertise they would potentially devalue it. People are now coming around to the concept that farmer-led sharing of information is the only way forward.

How data can help farmers to be sustainable

It could also be key to the issue of sustainability. For example, the data could be used to make sense of trends such as in terms of anti-microbial resistance, which has massive implications not just for animal health but in the context of how it impacts on the food chain and human health. If farmers are recording the use of medicines digitally, then their aggregated anonymized data could be used as an early warning system for disease.

The first step towards convergence is to digitize the information flow, to convince all farmers and other players in the value chain to start recording the necessary information electronically and share it in a trusted way back to the industry. For the system to work, you need a critical mass of farmers in any country to adopt the process and digitize the information at source. It’s simply too expensive to do it after the fact.

The incentives exist. Agritech solutions are already helping farmers to manage their time more efficiently and lower their labor costs, and could also help them to deliver their product at a time which maximizes their revenue. As any farmer asks when confronted with a salesman: “Does it save me time or make me money?”

Ultimately, however, digital convergence will be led by consumers demanding better traceability, higher quality, and improved sustainability in their food chain. Up to this point, consumers haven’t really seen the impact of digital technology on the farm. That will change over the next five years as the adoption of new technologies and data-driven farming transforms agriculture. Farmers who add value by adopting better and more accurate ways of improving traceability, sustainability and animal health should benefit through increased profits.

The provenance of our food has always been a big deal and consumers and farmers will soon start to see tangible benefits from digital convergence on the farm.

Leading Irish companies set for Ireland Pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2019, Los Angeles

Enterprise Ireland is on-site at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show in Los Angeles CA, October 22-24, hosting an innovative, multi-company Irish Pavilion and supporting leading Irish technology companies.

The Mobile World Congress conference and trade show is the leading event for the wider mobile technology industry. With over 22,000 visitors in 2018, the event continues to grow, yet is still small enough to make meaningful connections. The conference attracts executives from the largest and most influential mobile operators, software companies, device makers, equipment and content providers and internet companies, as well as government delegations.

Attendees this year will explore intelligent connectivity – the powerful combination of high-speed 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Industry influencers and business professionals alike will be inspired by next-level innovation and thought leadership that will impact our digital experiences, society and the world.

“MWCLA provides an opportunity for Irish companies to network, make sales leads, validate the U.S. market opportunity and promote their solution to the U.S. Mobile Industry,” said David McCaffrey, VP, Enterprise Ireland. “Our objective is to provide Irish companies with ample networking and business opportunities, market experience and exposure for those companies targeting the Americas for market expansion, market-entry, and to address Brexit exposure.”

The following companies will join Enterprise Ireland within the Irish Pavilion exhibit, located among the big industry players, South Hall (Booth 1250):


Benetel provides a unique combination of disruptive and differentiated radio platforms, services, and RF expertise for communication specialists — from radio design engineers to system architects — seeking reliable, compliant, off-the-shelf or right-first-time custom-hardware. Benetel’s modular platform approach provides scalable, SWaP-optimized solutions that minimize time-to-market and optimize total cost of ownership for private communications providers and OEMs.

Druid Software

Druid is a software development company providing cellular core applications for 5G, P_LTE, CBRS/OnGo, IoT, FWA, MEC, public safety, neutral host, and enterprise communications. Druid supplies 5G/4G/3G/2G core network technology and components to global system integrators and network equipment providers. Druid has unique expertise in deploying some of the world’s biggest private networks. The company’s ability to develop and integrate industry-leading value-added services (VAS) applications with dedicated coverage solutions is another key advantage. These VAS applications are essential to enterprises in vertical segments like public utilities, healthcare, transport, manufacturing, hospitality, security, public safety, and emergency services, and more.


Workz connects and protects mobile subscribers of today and tomorrow by providing secure removable or embedded SIMs and remote provisioning solutions for consumer, M2M and IoT devices. Since its start in 1997, it has securely managed over 10 billion connections catering to more than 100 clients in over 70 countries, all without a single data breach. Workz, who has recently been recognized by market commentators as a leader in eSIM technology, is one of only six eSIM providers certified by the GSMA to manage the eSIM across its full lifecycle from production to aftermarket delivery.


Decawave develops ultra-wideband (UWB) semiconductors solutions, software, modules, and reference designs that enable real-time, ultra-accurate, ultra reliable local area micro-location services. Decawave’s technology is already deployed in more than seven million devices enabling an entirely new class of highly secure, intelligent location functionality and services for the mobile, automotive, IoT and smart consumer products and applications. Decawave is headquartered in Ireland, with regional headquarters in California and China and a presence in South Korea, France, and Japan.


Openet provides digital business support systems (BSS)to enable service providers to create new revenues from digital services, improve customer engagement and be ready for the opportunities developing from 5G technology. Its solutions enable service providers to be more agile, innovative and enjoy a faster time to value. From monetizing content and data services over 4G to enabling innovative enterprise IoT offers over 5G, Openet’s Digital BSS offers a fast and agile alternative to the large legacy companies whose track record of overcharging and underdelivering has resulted in high failure rates of large-scale transformation projects.


Swrve, a leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms is the only true enterprise-grade marketing and customer engagement platform that helps the world’s leading brands confidently scale communications over millions of customers and delivers dynamic data and AI-driven interactions that are optimized for relevance in real-time. Swrve’s customers achieve business results 3x faster and profit growth 200x faster than the S&P 500. Swrve is currently installed in 3.5 billion apps worldwide and processes 14 billion events daily.

Enterprise Ireland-backed companies exhibiting with their own stands: 

Alpha Wireless

Alpha Wireless antennas cover all main frequency bands, with product families including the Canisters series, which combines multiple antennas into one cylindrical package, optimized to provide the highest performance with the smallest size possible. The Concealment family of antenna solutions are specifically designed to fit discreetly into their surroundings. Panel solutions include 4×4 and 8×8 MIMO antennas supporting beamforming. The Small Cell series is a family of ultra-compact antennas covering 3.5 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 800 MHz with sectors, omnis and back-to-back antennas. 


Taoglas enables customers to achieve the best possible performance from their wireless devices. The company can custom design to suit individual needs or provide highly economical off-the-shelf solutions. The Taoglas step-by-step design process positions devices to achieve target specifications and comply with all required approvals, so they’re right the first time. Research, design, production and customer support services are based at the company’s world-class technology centers in Ireland, Germany, the US, and Taiwan.

All roads lead to Ireland later this month when industry experts and senior executives from some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers gather for the world’s first transatlantic forum on future mobility.

Representatives from ToyotaDaimler, Jaguar Land Rover, HondaMazda, Volkswagen, Faraday Future, Bosch, HitachiContinental, and Verizon will be among those attending CASE: Driving the Future on October 23 and 24. Hosted by Enterprise Ireland, the event will showcase the latest capability and disruptive trends in connected, autonomous, shared and electrified vehicle development.

Ireland might not seem the most likely setting for such an event – there are, after all, no Irish auto manufacturers or major assembly plants – yet driven by its strong tech sector, Ireland is fast becoming a go-to technology hub for the global automotive industry.

At CASE: Driving the Future, Irish companies at the vanguard of this sector will showcase the strategies they are using to develop innovative solutions for the automotive industry, while participants will also have opportunities to expand their network and meet more than 30 industry leaders from the United States, Germany, and United Arab Emirates.

CASE Technology

Day one of the forum at Dublin’s Convention Centre will feature keynote speeches and thought leadership sessions from industry experts covering a range of CASE topics.

Gahl Berkooz, VP of Data, Analytics, and Monetization at ZF Group, will talk about how data monetization and digital transformation can drive CASE. David O’Donnell, Global Head of Passenger and Light Truck Tires at Continental AG, will address how CASE technology can be applied to fleet management solutions. Frank Weith, Director of Connected and Mobility Services at Volkswagen AG, will speak about next-generation connected services in the US; and John Cormican, VP Engineering Jaguar Land Rover Ireland, will talk about the role played by connected, autonomous vehicles in enabling the digital transformation of Ireland.

Supply Chain Tectonics

There will be two executive panel discussions, the first on the realities of risk and regulation, and the second on how CASE disruption is impacting the supply chain tectonics of automotive manufacturers.

Capability is king in this industry and forming strategic partnerships and demonstrating an ability to innovate while solving exacting problems has provided many Irish companies with the opportunity to grow quickly.

Irish Capability in Future Mobility

Breakout sessions will provide opportunities for one-to-one meetings with more than 25 leading Enterprise Ireland-supported Irish technology companies. Several of these will also showcase their capability during Enterprise Ireland client company pitches.

One of them is software manufacturer Emdalo Technologies, whose artificial intelligence (AI)-based object and gesture recognition systems are providing solutions for powering the capability of autonomous and driver assistance systems in boats as well as cars.

Barry Napier, CEO of Cubic Telecom, will demonstrate how his company’s global connectivity platform allows more than 2.5 million drivers across 180 countries to enjoy internet capability, while also enabling manufacturers such as Audi, Skoda, and VW to collect data on vehicle performance.

Ronan Quinlan will explain how leading car makers can network their vehicles with the outside world using cutting-edge antenna and radio frequency solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) applications produced by his company Taoglas.

Center of Excellence

The highlight of day two at CASE: Driving the Future is a visit to the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Global Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Centre of Excellence, which opened in Shannon earlier this year.

Major auto manufacturers are investing in the capability of Ireland’s technology sector and both JLR and the French vehicle technology multinational Valeo are at the heart of an Enterprise Ireland-led cluster, which includes more than 70 indigenous companies involved in autonomous vehicle research and product development in the West of Ireland.

As well as Enterprise Ireland, the cluster, CAV Ireland (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles), is backed by IDA IrelandScience Foundation Ireland, the Department of Transport, and the Lero research institute.

The future of mobility is one of connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles. It is as much about software as hardware, and at CASE: Driving the Future, industry leaders and experts will shed light on the opportunities that this presents.

Ryan J Shaughnessy, SVP Industrial Technology for Enterprise Ireland Chicago, said: “Ireland is quickly becoming a technology hub for the future vehicle. This is due to a combination of top Irish tech talent and an increasing global demand from automotive companies for new technology solutions.

“Many of the 70-plus Irish automotive tech companies supported by Enterprise Ireland are already doing business with major OEMs and tier-one suppliers across the globe.

“CASE: Driving the Future is an opportunity to showcase Irish technology to a large global automotive audience for the first time and further establish Ireland as the new go-to destination for automotive technology solutions.”

CASE: Driving the Future consists of a conference day at The Convention Centre Dublin on October 23rd, followed by a visit to JLR’s Centre of Excellence in Shannon on October 24thClick here to register.

Shorla Pharma is the latest innovator to benefit from Ireland’s national entrepreneurial honor.

Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma, an innovator of oncology drugs, has been named Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. It’s a major accolade for the 34-year-old former accountant who co-founded it with pharma-regulatory expert Orlaith Ryan.

The annual IBYE competition is run by Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices and supported by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency. The 31 Local Enterprise Offices are Ireland’s first-stop-shop for anyone thinking of starting or growing a business in Ireland.

IBYE helps Ireland to nurture entrepreneurs

IBYE is open to entrepreneurs under 35 and offers three categories – Best Business Idea, Best Startup Business and Best Established Business. In the past five years, it has received more than 7,300 entries from ambitious entrepreneurs attracted by an investment fund of up to €2 million, which is divided up between county and national finalists.

IBYE also offers an intensive Entrepreneur Bootcamp, plus mentoring and pitch training.

The competition is now a major proving ground for businesses with innovative technologies that are looking to grow. Previous winners have gone on to become clients of the Government agency Enterprise Ireland, in many cases going on to secure millions of euro in investment funding to help them internationalize and scale.

Previous participants include Daniel Loftus of UrbanFox, which specializes in the development of anti-fraud technology, and former physiotherapist Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical, an innovator in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

It also includes Alvan Hunt of insect protein company Hexafly and Brendan Boland, co-founder of medtech start-up Loci Orthopaedics in Galway, whose InDx device is designed to help those suffering from arthritis of the thumb base joint.

Participating in the IBYE program helps “put you on the map from an investor perspective,” says Conor Lyden of Trustap. Its platform, which facilitates trusted transactions between strangers, is now used around the world.

Some of its current investors “reached out to me” as a result of the competition, he says. “There’s a clearly defined path from your local LEO to Enterprise Ireland and on to private investors.”

Shorla Pharma has identified a significant issue in relation to women and children’s cancer drugs. Its first product is the redevelopment of a children’s cancer drug, transforming a difficult to swallow capsule into an oral solution.

Its founders met while working at Waterford-based pharmaceutical firm EirGen, and were very much a part of its entrepreneurial journey before it was bought by US drugs company Opko Health in 2015.

The next stage for Shorla is to become a client of Enterprise Ireland. “The Local Enterprise Office helped us build stronger foundations,” says Sharon Cunningham. “The business is ready to grow and we look forward to working with Enterprise Ireland.”

Winning the IBYE will help it meets its international ambitions. “We are currently applying for NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding in the US, the equivalent of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. Pharmaceuticals is a highly competitive sector. Being recognized as having Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a huge differentiator,” Orlaith says.

Ireland’s strong track record in supporting innovative start-ups through the Local Enterprise Network, on into Enterprise Ireland and then out to the world, is increasingly recognized overseas, she feels.

“In North Carolina recently, a state representative said to us that Ireland is one of the most proactive countries in the world, in terms of supporting its companies to set up abroad and pursue their global ambitions,” says Orlaith.

“In our industry, Enterprise Ireland is well recognized internationally. They ask all the right questions, they do their due diligence on your business.” As a result, prospective clients and investors overseas “know you are coming with all this agency support behind you,” she says.

Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation and Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma.

Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation and Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Pharma.

Ireland has a deep talent pool of talented entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, says Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the Local Enterprise Office Network, who says the IBYE competition is an important part of its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“It’s a very rigorous process and a very challenging competition. We are interested in cultivating businesses with strong export and growth potential. They may not yet have made that export leap yet, but have demonstrable export potential for the future,” he says.

The pathway from Local Enterprise Office to Enterprise Ireland is well established. “We are always looking to maximize the potential of Local Enterprise Office clients to grow and develop into Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio so that they can avail of the support structures that it has in place, including its network of overseas offices,” he says.

Knowing a person has won this important, State-backed competition should give any international business dealing with them a huge amount of comfort, he says. “Those international companies who are aware of the strong business support systems we have in place in Ireland will recognize this.”

Irish craft makers set to take over Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore

For one day only, the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore will host Crafted in Ireland, showcasing traditional Irish crafts in the lead up to the 2020 Notre Dame game, taking place in Dublin.

In August of next year, Notre Dame and Navy will play their annual rivalry game in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. It’s an amazing experience for both teams and their respective fans to encounter the culture and craft of Ireland. The Crafted in Ireland store initiative will provide Notre Dame fans with a taster of what they can expect in Ireland in 2020.

The island of Ireland acts as a host to storytellers, artists, and craftspeople. On October 12, the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore will display some of these creative works for a ‘Crafted in Ireland’ store event in which you can buy all sorts of individual pieces. From the bespoke tailoring of Hanna Hats, stunning signature pieces from Belleek, as well as inspiring gifts for the imagination from Wild Goose Designs, there is something for every lover of detailed, intricate handmade Irish craft.

Contemporary designs with an Irish twist will be available from companies like Solvar, along with the likes of JC Walsh bringing Connemara Marble to life in beautiful designs.

You can’t have a college football game without memorabilia! Trinity College Dublin will also be on-site for any game-goer wanting to be prepared for the Dublin trip next year, along with Traditional Craft who will be displaying their bespoke pieces.

As well as with college memorabilia, Trinity College Dublin will have exclusive Book of Kells merchandise available on the day. The Book of Kells is a historic magnificent manuscript that has been in the possession of Trinity College since 1661. Since 1953, the Book of Kells has been bound in four volumes with two of these volumes on display in Trinity College, Dublin.

All companies traveling to Notre Dame for the USC game are clients of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish State agency that partners with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate, and win export sales in global markets.

“We are delighted to support the Crafted in Ireland store initiative,” said Catie Riordan, VP Consumer Retail, Enterprise Ireland. “Notre Dame has been and continues to be a key partner to Irish retail companies. Each of the seven brands involved demonstrates the innovation and creativity of Irish companies in the retail industry.”

“The University of Notre Dame has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with both Enterprise Ireland and the many Irish companies participating in the “Crafted in Ireland” event,” said Tomi Gerhold, Director of Licensing, University of Notre Dame. “They help us celebrate the spirit of Notre Dame every day, and we are thrilled to have them on campus.  We look forward to a continued partnership in bringing authentic Irish products to the friends and family of Notre Dame.”

Over the past 18 months, SilverCloud Health and Microsoft have been working together to conduct research that combines Microsoft’s cutting-edge machine learning and AI technologies with SilverCloud’s expertise in real-world delivery of evidence-based interventions and mental health outcomes.

Mental illness is a significant disease and economic burden; one in four adults globally are affected by a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year but access to mental healthcare is often unavailable because of long wait times or understaffed care organizations. The delivery of care online helps to overcome these barriers.

SilverCloud Health enables healthcare organizations to deliver clinically validated digital health and therapeutic care that improves patient outcomes while reducing provider costs. The company’s multi-award-winning digital mental health platform is a result of over 16 years of clinical research with leading academic institutions. The platform continues to lead the industry with its effectiveness, engagement, and range of clinical programs that encompass the spectrum of mental health needs.

The company’s platform helps healthcare organizations deliver clinically proven, evidenced-based digital content, programs, and support within the area of mental health (depression, anxiety, stress, etc) and long term/chronic illness care (diabetes, CVD, cancer etc).

SilverCloud Health is one of the very few digital mental health platforms that has been deployed at scale in routine clinical care, and currently has the largest real-world patient user base of its kind,” said Christopher Bishop, lab director, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK. “The aim of this project is very much aligned to our ambition to empower healthcare workers and patients through access to effective, intelligent technologies.”

SilverCloud’s digital mental health platform is deployed globally in routine clinical care providing coverage to 65 million people today. With over one million hours of therapy delivered since spinning out from research in 2012, the breadth of this data provides a unique opportunity for this deep research collaboration. Today, SilverCloud is used by over 250 organizations globally to meet their populations’ mental health needs. Global experts have deeply validated the platform through full randomized control trials and real-world data from over 290,000 SilverCloud users. This important research collaboration with Microsoft is on target to further enhance SilverCloud Health’s online offer.

“Through this exciting research collaboration with Microsoft, SilverCloud Health will be able to leverage the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance our digital mental health platform,” said Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health. “This truly is therapy for the 21st century; enabling more personalized treatment, earlier and easier access, and most importantly delivering ever-increasing clinical outcomes.”

Together, Microsoft and SilverCloud will explore the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to accelerate the understanding and delivery of personalized mental healthcare that responds to each patient’s unique situation, including early interventions to optimize clinical outcomes, thereby ensuring patients have access to the right support and content at the right time and in the right context. Further opportunities also exist in identifying successful patterns in therapist/coach behavior to improve therapeutic effectiveness.

SilverCloud is an evidence-based digital mental health platform that removes many of the barriers that prevent patients from accessing mental health services, including cost, access, clinical resources, and stigma, enabling healthcare institutions to deliver clinically validated digital therapeutic care that improves outcomes and lowers costs. The company currently offers a comprehensive library of 30+ programs supported by 16 years of clinical and academic research and backed by more than 16 published papers. The company works with over 250 organizations, with over 65 percent of their service users showing a clinically significant reduction in symptom scores.

Read Microsoft’s Blog for more information.

Source: SilverCloud press release