This week’s interviewee is John McCabe (pictured), managing director of Damovo, a €17m-a-year company behind many key Irish public and private sector communications rollouts.
What is the most exciting change you have witnessed to hit Ireland’s changing telecoms landscape?
Mobile would be one of the most important elements of what companies are doing today. Across a number of different project rollouts the trend would be to mobilise managers in organisations.
Guys normally stuck in offices are being given the capability to work flexibly from home or on the move.
Another key feature of what’s happening is how public and private sector organisations are moving to use technology to improve customer relationships, whether in or out of the office.
Interesting services on the horizon would include loan approval over mobile devices.
How are public sector organisations innovating through technology?
Pretty much along the same theme of improving relationships with customers that you see in the private sector.
Organisations like the Revenue Commissioners are looking at boosting self service among taxpayers and there is some interesting speech technology being used through interactive voice response (IVR).
We also deployed a videoconferencing system for internal use within the Revenue Commissioners.
Around 60pc of our customers would be in the public sector, including local government, the health services, ESB and Irish Rail.
Is greater communication through mobile and internet changing the landscape of Irish business?
We see it particularly having impact on the indigenous business community rather than the multinationals who already have a lot of technology at their disposal.
Convergence of collaboration and presence technology, the ability to know where people are and what they’re doing, whether available or in a meeting, will be pivotal.
Much of this technology is two or three years away but the seeds of change exist right now while key workers are stuck spending half their morning in traffic on the M50.
Using technology to avoid traffic bottlenecks and support are being considered to boost productivity in firms. Will this help?
Definitely. I think we are getting there and certainly the companies we deal with are already there but if you want to roll out home working in Ireland we need more broadband.
And we will certainly need better broadband than we have. Even if we improved on what’s there we are still going to be behind the rest of the world.
If you’re in an office in a big town or city the quality is all right but getting affordable quality broadband to the home is an issue.
I think the ESB’s fibre backbone and the metropolitan area network (MAN) initiative will help.
Right now you can see the difference between the market in the Republic and the telecoms market in Northern Ireland, which is really competitive and aggressive by comparison.
By John Kennedy