The Friday Interview: Mike Conroy, Cisco

7 Sep 2007

Cisco is in the process of creating 200 jobs at an research and development operation in Galway. Mike Conroy is general manager of the new operation

How is the new R&D operation in Galway doing in terms of getting skilled graduates?
It’s growing exceptionally well and we’re still interviewing graduates. We now have 70 people since start-up and we’re pleased with the talent and volume of applicants. The target is to employ 200 people within two years and we’re well ahead of that.

What kind of graduates are you recruiting in Galway?
The aim is to build a balanced team of software developers, technical writers, programmers and marketing specialists.
The Galway operation will be just one arm of a global R&D network and our focus will be on the area of unified communications.

How do you define unified communications in Cisco’s context?
It’s clearly an exciting time to be in communications. In terms of different devices connected to the internet there were 750 million worldwide last year. This is projected to grow to 14 billion by 2010.
Cisco is also becoming more consumer-focused and is marrying internet innovations with the enterprise business. The team in Galway calls this unified communications and is focused on cutting costs out of mobility.

Ireland’s broadband performance has been far from perfect. How do you view this from a multinational perspective?
I think a lot of progress has been made in recent years and is being boosted by an increased Government focus as well as industry-lobbying in terms of getting more broadband out there.
We’re in good shape in terms of multinationals operating from the region but more people want to work from home or on the road and this will need to be urgently facilitated.

From the perspective of a Galway-based business, what difficulties does Aer Lingus’ decision to drop the Shannon-Heathrow route present?
Both road and air infrastructure in the West need to be improved. We’ve already seen delayed investment in road access but I’m happy to see progress in terms of the Atlantic Corridor and look forward to that being completed.
From where we sit, North American air access is most important and we’re well served from Shannon.

By John Kennedy

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