Technology business week: credit unions to get online banking, Apple reshuffles management

3 Sep 2012

In our roundup of top business tech stories from the past week, the Credit Unions in Ireland are going to start offering online banking services, Vodafone kicks off a new roadshow for start-ups and entrepreneurs, and Apple makes some interesting new additions to its senior-management team.

Credit Unions to start deploying 21st-century banking services

Debit cards, ATM services and online banking – the things most banking users take for granted – are about to make their presence at Ireland’s Credit Unions which, despite intense loyalty from local customers, haven’t really modernised much since the last century.

The Irish banking software provider Wellington IT has been working on new software with the credit union sector that will include online banking functionality, debit cards, plus a smartphone app that will work on both the iPhone and on Android devices.

Fifty-four credit unions have already started using Wellington IT’s ‘CU Online’ facility. According to a source from the company, the service now has 100,000 registered users.

As well as this, credit union members will also be able to use their credit union debit card to pay for purchases in retail outlets.

Other new services will apparently include automated SMS alerts and same-day payments clearing throughout the Single Euro Payments Area.

Apple reshuffles management team

Tech giant Apple has upgraded its senior-management team with new senior vice-presidents who will report to CEO Tim Cook. Bob Mansfield, who announced his retirement in June, is staying on to work on future products.

Apple, which recently surpassed Microsoft as the world’s most valuable company in terms of stock value, is clearly preparing itself to continue on its stellar growth path which was enlivened in recent years by new products such as the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

According to Apple, Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice-president of Mac Software Engineering, and Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice-president of Hardware Engineering, have been promoted to senior vice-presidents.

Federighi and Riccio will report to Cook and serve on Apple’s executive management team.

Energia secures contract to power up 1,000 schools

The Irish energy provider Energia has won a public tender worth in the region of €4.5m to supply electricity to more than 1,000 Irish schools, as the new academic year kicks off.

According to the company, it expects to supply more than 32 gigawatt hours of electricity to power the schools in the coming year under the new contract. The schools themselves are located throughout Ireland, including in Carlow, Dublin, Limerick, Offaly and Wicklow.

Energia has a 28pc market share of the Irish business electricity and gas market, according to the supplier’s business markets manager Alan Mulcahy.

Vodafone to kick off Smart Start-up Network of roadshows for entrepreneurs across Ireland

Vodafone will this month begin the first of a number of Smart Start-up Network events to give local businesses and start-ups access to successful entrepreneurs and new technologies through talks, workshops and networking sessions.

The first of the Smart Start-up Network events will take place in Dublin on 20 September at Vodafone’s headquarters in Leopardstown and will feature Sean O’Sullivan from SOS Ventures and Avego.

Five further events will take place in Cork on 10 October, Limerick on 7 November, Galway on 16 January, Leitrim on 13 February and Dublin on 13 March.

UPC pushes out bulk SMS service for businesses

Cable operator UPC has taken an interesting plunge into the mobile space (the first of many to come?) with a new bulk SMS messaging service for businesses.

According to the operator, bulk messaging is one of the most effective business communication tools.

Citing research from Phonovation, UPC said 98pc of all SMS messages are viewed, while 62pc of SMS messages are remembered and 22pc are forwarded.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years