Videoconferencing crosses all borders

23 Dec 2008

A cross-border partnership on videoconferencing has secured funding from the Intrernational Fund for Ireland’s Building Foundations Programme.

Tyrone Donegal Partnership is in the process of building an innovative conferencing initiative called CORE Digital Network, which will involve the extending of the World Bank Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) available on a cross-border basis in Omagh to five community learning centres in Donegal.

“The CORE Digital Network dramatically simplifies the video communications experience to let people see, hear and share life’s experiences in an extraordinary way,” said Gareth Boyle, CORE Digital Network Manager.

“We are providing five learning centres with a one-stop shop for all of their conferencing needs. The high-performance, feature-rich secure audiovisual not only deliver great value on their own, but are unique in that they can reduce travel time and reduce your carbon footprint,” Boyle added.

The videoconference suites will be based in Ballyshannon, Clonmany, Dungloe, Kilcar and St Johnston. The network will provide local access to a wide range of courses covering subjects such as conflict management/resolution, citizenship, personal development, diversity awareness, peace and reconciliation and community development.

The three-year project will further help to overcome three of the main barriers to education and development in rural border areas – the border itself, travel distance and lack of critical mass to run and support programmes in rural areas.

 The videoconferencing network allows for a dynamic form of long distance communication, as it allows the people involved in the conference to immediately see any visuals that need to be seen, such as educational notes, PowerPoint presentations etc, all in real time.

“Rural communities in Donegal will have the opportunity to attend meetings or training classes without actually leaving their own town,” Conor Mc Gale, CORE Digital skills manager explained.

“Our videoconferencing network revolutionises communication by enabling people to enjoy all the benefits of real life communication. CORE Digital network aims to connect people, communities and businesses at any time, any place, and in a virtual experience that is as natural as being there in person.”

For local rural businesses separated by great distances, the ability to hire the videoconferencing facility precludes the need for travel just to make the all-too important client presentation, as the presentation itself can be made through the videoconference.

“Tyrone Donegal Partnership should be commended for implementing such a progressive ICT strategy throughout rural learning centres in various parts of Co Donegal,” Paddy Harte, development officer for The International Fund for Ireland, added.

“Our joint investment in videoconferencing systems ensures rural areas can avail of more advanced services that would not have been available before. CORE Digital Network brings a new exciting experience, which will make remote communications become more frequent and efficient, as well as impact the operational ways of community learning centres,” said Harte.

CORE Digital Network is funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and Tyrone Donegal Partnership. The IFI’s mission is to address the root causes of deprivation in the most disadvantaged areas by using shared economic concerns as a platform for regeneration and cross-community activity through Peace and Reconciliation.

By John Kennedy

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