Ireland must live up to its digital potential, says Interxion’s Tanya Duncan (video)

31 Aug 2012

In terms of attracting industrial strength digital projects from data centres to major internet firms Ireland is punching above its weight, says Interxion Ireland managing director Tanya Duncan. But as consumers becoming increasingly connected other sectors of the Irish economy need to catch up she warns.

Interxion recently embarked on the expansion of its Dublin data centre to bring an additional 900 sq metres of equipped space at its DUB2 data centre, bringing the total equipped space to 1,700 sq metres.

The expansion brings to €13m the capital investment in the company’s Dublin facilities.

Duncan says in terms of the large projects Ireland boasts good international connectivity and electricity infrastructure.

“The connectivity that we have across to the US and Europe is there when you look at the round trip figures; latency to New York is sub 70 milliseconds, to London sub 10 milliseconds, to Amsterdam sub 15 milliseconds. Ireland is a natural stepping stone for a lot of organisations that want to do business in Europe from the US and globally.

“But there is work that needs to be done in terms of energy. In general the grid is good and stable but in places there is congestion on the network. Looking ahead there’s plenty of investment going into planning the network and the (smart) grid.”

She says that in terms of green credentials Ireland has positioned itself very well in areas like ambient temperatures, stability, etc.

“But our green credentials the energy we receive from renewable resources is just under 15pc – which is higher than most countries in Europe – but a lot of work can be done to improve that.

“Targets are set for around 40pc of our energy to come from renewables by 2020, so it remains to be seen if that can be met.”

The selection of Ireland by organisations ranging from Facebook and Google to Zynga and Big Fish Games makes Ireland a key player in the emering digital media industry and Duncan recommends the country be ready for big revolutions in this area, partiuclarly mobile.

Referring to the World Bank’s study which revealed that 6bn out of the world’s 7bn people now carry some form of mobile device there is an enormous opportunity in playing a role in enabling content to be delivered to any device, any where, at any time.

“Gaming is going to be such a huge part of it and it’s great to see the Government of Ireland establish a Task Force. Some 70pc of the content consumed on mobile devices are actual games. It’s great to see Big Fish, Zynga and these guys coming into Ireland, creating what we hope will be the start of a major global hub for these industries.”

Pointing to the €3bn that is spent every year online in Ireland – 70pc of which leaves the country to overseas online retailers – Duncan says Ireland needs to ensure that all sectors of the economy, especially indigenous firms, are equipped to join the internet economy.

She pointed to the difference in GDP between Ireland (4pc) and the UK (7pc), which has embraced the internet economy wholeheartedly.

“I think one of the low hanging fruit and its something that has been talked about before – the SME market and their adoption of technology –there’s very low adoption of technology among that group.

“Households have adopted it more than they (businesses) have – but once realised the opportunity globally from being more connected or more online or whatever it may be for SMEs, then obviously your GDP increase because they are producing more services in order to serve the global community as opposed to (solely) a domestic community,” Duncan points.

“Any business servicing today’s connected consumers has to be always available and provide a reliable service that’s well connected and fast.

“Consumers online today will not tolerate downtime or interruptions to services,” Duncan warned.

Ireland’s digital leaders will be joined by international speakers to discuss Ireland’s opportunities and challenges in the age of the connected consumer, at a forum hosted by Silicon Republic on 21 September in Dublin. Digital communications expert Neville Hobson and Wired’s editor-at-large Ben Hammersley have been confirmed as keynote speakers on 21 September.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO, Vodafone Ireland
  • Tanya Duncan, CEO, Interxion Ireland
  • Muirne Laffan, managing director, RTÉ Digital
  • Maurice Mortell, MD Ireland, TeleCity Group
  • Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland
  • Andrew Maybin, network services director, Tibus

Click here for full details and for keynote and speaker updates.

Highlights from the last Digital Ireland Forum in March can be viewed here.

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