Galway student scoops €10K for his smart conferencing tech

12 Apr 2012

(From left) Emmet Connolly, Students' Union president at NUIG; Bobby Kerr of Insomnia and Dragons' Den judge; winner Niall O'Connor of SonorPlex; Helen Ryan of Creganna Tactx Medical; and Dr Jim Browne, NUIG president

NUI Galway student Niall O’Connor has won the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards for his innovation called SonorPlex, which draws on cloud computing to make conferences more interactive for delegates.

In all, eight teams took part in the award finals at NUI Galway to glean an investment of €10,000 to take their innovations further.

Sligo native O’Connor, an MSc student in enterprise systems, is aiming to deliver services to help the learning and interactive experience of delegates at conferences, using ‘smart’ devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

His plan is for SonorPlex to unify these services using a cloud-based system to store and manage access to conference content and data.

The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway. Its aim is to get students at the university thinking about entrepreneurship.

Two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to the teams behind Tunes in the Church and An Mheitheal Rothar. Bobby Kerr of Insomnia and Dragons’ Den judge presented the teams with their prizes.

Cormac Ó Beaglaoich’s project Tunes in the Church presents traditional Irish music concerts in churches around the country and has already been run in St Nicholas Church in Galway.

Ó Beaglaoich comes from west Kerry and is in his final year of completing a PhD in psychology.

The Bicycle Gang

An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Gang) team is aiming to set up a free, student-run bicycle workshop at NUI Galway to promote cycling.

The team behind An Mheitheal Rothar comprises Paul O’ Donnell, an arts student from Galway; Mary Green, a geography student also from Galway; Sarit O’Donovan, an environmental science student from Kerry; and Senan Mac Aoidh, an arts student from Monaghan.

NUI Galway Students’ Union president Emmet Connolly said the response to the competition had been overwhelming and the entries were testament to the initiative and creativity of students at the university.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic