A new initiative involving a series of events to be run in conjunction with Cork City Council and sponsored by some of Ireland’s most prominent technology firms is aiming to raise awareness and use of ICT amongst businesses and consumers, and develop Cork into a truly e-enabled city.
In March 2004, a PA Consulting report benchmarked Cork against five other European cities in terms of internet connectivity and commercial and domestic broadband usage. The report drove home the point that the purpose of the 60km Cork metropolitan area network was to accelerate the decline of broadband prices in the region and attract more service providers into the region.
The report, which compared Cork with the cities of Aarhus in Denmark, Aberdeen in Scotland, Bilbao in Spain, Montpellier in France and Tampere in Finland, said while Cork performed strongly in terms of internet penetration, government prioritisation and the promotion of ICT, it performed poorly in terms of the amount of external business correspondence done using email, broadband access and public access to the net.
The findings of the report helped to formulate the Cork IT and Telecommunications Strategy, which included recommendations on how Cork City should develop its ICT environment to ensure future competitiveness.
John White of PA Consulting Group explained Connect Cork initiative I not just a one- off event but a sustained initiative over a number of months with events and activities tailored to different market segments.
He explained the Connect Cork initiative — which kicks of with a Technology for Business event on 20 September at Cork’s Millennium Hall — aims to develop Cork into a truly e-enabled city and secure its position as a prominent ICT location. It will do so, he said, by promoting elements of the ICT equation — hardware and software, network access, education and training and content and promoting this to end users in the business and consumer segments. At the business event there will be an opportunity for businesses to win ICT products and services worth €20,000.
A second Technology Education and Training event will take place on 7 October at the Metropole Hotel to provide post-primary and third-level students and parents the opportunity to learn about how technology can assist their careers.
A third event, Wireless Technology for Business, will take place on 25 October at Millennium Hall and aims to provide businesses with the opportunity to learn how wireless technology can create value for their organisations.
The fourth and final event, Techie Toys for Christmas, will take place on 19 November in Millennium Hall and will take the form of a promotional exhibition of the latest range of technology toys and gadgets.
According to White, the event has already attracted considerable interest from sponsors and exhibitors. Companies confirmed include Chorus, Sage, Eircom, E-Net, Irish Broadband, Digiweb, Smart Telecom, O2, Amocom and Strencom.
By John Kennedy