The digital business week

16 May 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

O2 says smartphone usage up 39pc, data traffic up 40pc

Telefonica O2 Ireland has reported a 23pc increase in its mobile broadband customer base which grew to 170,000 at the end of Q1. In its Q1 KPIs O2 said that smartphone usage on its Irish network increased by 39pc during the quarter.

The company said that its postpay customer base increased by 7,000. Year-on-year the postpay base increased by 5pc – an extra 34,200 – largely driven by an acceleration in the take-up of data services.

Data traffic was up 40pc by the end of March.

The company, which recently launched its O2 Money Card, revealed that some 25,000 people have opted for the card, which is neither a debit or credit card.

Network a key enabler as profits at BT Ireland jump 11pc

BT Ireland reported an 11pc increase in profits and said it is pushing ahead with a 26pc increase in capital spend on network and IT infrastructure. Revenues decreased slightly by 3pc to stg£749.8m.

“BT has had a strong year in the Irish market – improving profitability and cash flow, while managing the pressure on our revenues,” Graham Sutherland, chief executive officer, BT in Ireland.

“Revenue decreased by 3pc in the year to stg£749.8 million,excluding the impact of foreign exchangeand transit revenue reductions, as a result of the challenging economic climate.

Profits (EBITDA) increased by 11pc year-on-year as a result of cost transformation programmes and the successful delivery of large retail and wholesale contracts. 

National movement to get more Irish businesses online launched

A national campaign launched today, ‘Getting Irish Business Online’, is allowing businesses with no web presence to set up a site for free in less than 30 minutes.

A partnership between Google, Blacknight Internet Solutions, An Post and the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), Getting Irish Business Online is targeting the 40pc of Irish SMEs, including sole traders that do not have a website or an online presence.  

Google research shows more than three-quarters of Irish customers use the internet as their primary tool for researching new companies and products, and 68pc believe that search engines help to find relevant sellers of products.   

But, with only 21pc of Irish businesses e-commerce enabled, Ireland is effectively losing revenues to UK and US online businesses.

The OpenData movement will be a people’s revolution

The emerging OpenData revolution could transform ordinary people’s lives and create jobs as governments and businesses see the merit of opening up their data vaults. Welcome to the people’s information technology revolution.

Get ready to fall in love with technology … all over again. There’s a revolution coming, it’s a revolution that could potentially empower millions, if not billions of people. But it will be a trickle before it becomes a raging torrent.

You see until now most organisations lived by the maxim information is power. Indeed it is power, but only if you know what to do with it. Imagine instead of holding onto that power you instead empower people to take that raw data that sits on databases and spreadsheets and allow them to do something proactive with it.

I felt goosebumps at last week’s Irish Internet Association’s annual conference as I learned how across the world governments are opening up data sets and allow citizens and businesses to make what they will with the data – such as better data models to understand their water consumption or new technology products or applications that could be commercialised and sold around the world.

Security finally moving up the agenda for Irish firms

Irish organisations are making progress in their approach to information security and the professionalism of people working in this area has also improved, the head of the Irish chapter of the ISSA has said.

Speaking to at the start of the group’s annual conference in Dublin yesterday, Owen O’Connor said: “We’re raising the bar year by year in terms of skill levels and people’s maturity levels.”

“There are a couple of organisations locally who are very focused on metrics and measurement, which is a sign of professionalism. They’re properly measuring and documenting and saying ‘we think this metric drives success in security – we want to improve it by 10pc next year’ … that’s a much better approach than we would have had a few years ago, so hopefully more people will move along.”

45pc of Irish organisations back data up on tape – survey

Forty-five per cent of Irish organisations prefer to back up their sensitive data on tape, a survey suggests.

Five hundred Irish organisations participated in The IT Force and ICS Informed annual survey, which was conducted with KeepItSafe.

The importance of backing data up was not lost among these companies, with 95pc of respondents saying they backed their company’s data up in general. Some 88pc back it up on a daily basis and 61pc have a documented disaster recovery plan in the office.

Tape was the most widespread method of backing up data at 45pc and 16pc used disk-based methods. Some 23.2pc used online backup services, which grew from 7pc in 2010.

Fourteen per cent wait for two years before replacing a backup tape while 41pc didn’t know how often tapes were replaced. Some 27pc of respondents were unaware if their data was encrypted on their tapes.

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