San Francisco mayor to ‘virtually’ lead two transatlantic St Patrick’s Day parades

16 Mar 2013

Cork cityscape over the River Lee

For the first time, a mayor will lead St Patrick’s Day parades on both sides of the Atlantic. Enabled by Cisco’s TelePresence technology, the mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee will today lead a virtual parade through his own city before marching in person in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Cork tomorrow.

Mayor Lee, using Cisco TelePresence will virtually lead the San Francisco parade via a live stream to the crowds watching on their mobile devices and smartphones in San Francisco’s Civic Plaza and tomorrow will march in the St Patrick’s Day Cork parade.

“The ability to virtually lead the San Francisco St Patrick’s parade from Cork is just one example of the exciting opportunities which today’s technology creates,” commented Tim Lucey,  Cork city manager.  

“This follows on the recent success of the ITLG Conference which took place in City Hall, Cork in January and which saw over 40 US investors and senior executives take part.   We aim to explore the opportunities that new technology such as this provides for the benefit of jobs, business and citizens in Cork.”

Cisco’s links with Cork city run deep. One of the tech giant’s senior vice presidents Barry O’Sullivan is a Cork native and in September Cisco announced the acquisition of ThinkSmart Technologies, headquartered in Cork.

Inspiring tomorrow’s tech stars

As part of the St Patrick’s Day Telepresence broadcast, Cisco, in conjunction with the Irish Technology Leadership Group, will announce the 2013 Cisco Transatlantic CoderDojo Software Innovation Challenge, a competition for CoderDojo kids. CoderDojo is a youth club movement teaching children aged seven to 17 about software, programming and technology.  The competition, which is open to children here and in the US, has a US$5,000 prize fund for the winning individual or team.

“Cisco is always looking at ways to encourage young people to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths, and  CoderDojo is one exciting way for children to get their first taste of tech,” Barry O’Sullivan, senior vice president said.

“It’s initiatives like these which can spark a lifelong interest and create the tech stars of tomorrow.”

James Whelton, co-founder of CoderDojo, said, “Cisco is the largest networking company in the world, responsible for much of the internet’s architecture and the software that drives it. The Cisco Transatlantic CoderDojo Challenge is a great way for kids to gain a better understanding of the software and code that makes the internet work, how to leverage it and shape its future.”

Cork cityscape image via Shutterstock

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