Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

19 Feb 2016

Meet the Irish at Mobile World Congress; Three brings adblocking to its European networks; and 10 firms bid for Ireland's National Broadband Plan.

Ten nuggets of knowledge to take away for the weekend, including: 26 Irish companies you can’t miss at Mobile World Congress; Three rolls out adblocking across Europe, and the latest on Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.

1. 26 Irish tech companies you don’t want to miss at Mobile World Congress 2016

Mobile World Congress 2016 is shaping up to be the biggest yet, with close to 100,000 mobile telecoms professionals congregating in Barcelona. Among them will be 26 cutting-edge Irish tech players.

2. Three to introduce ad blocking across its mobile networks in Europe

Mobile operator Three has signed a deal with Shine to block ads from appearing on mobile devices on its networks in the UK and Italy with a “rapid rollout” to follow in its operations across Europe. A spokesperson said no date has yet been confirmed for Ireland.

3. National Broadband Plan: At least 10 firms bid to end Ireland’s digital divide

The Irish Government’s long-overdue intervention to bring 750,000 postal addresses into the 21st century is gaining impetus after it emerged that at least 10 players have bid for two State broadband contracts valued at between €300m and €500m.

4. Can bacteria treat depression? Find out at SynBio Future 2016 in Cork

On Monday next (22 February), some of the leading experts in synthetic biology (synbio) and biotechnology will descend on Cork for SynBio Future 2016, with discussions including the advanced field of psychobiotics.

5. Interview with APC co-founder Mark Barrett: ‘Strategy is nothing without passion’

Ireland’s reputation as the world’s go-to location for pharmachem and biotech has been bolstered by the emergence of APC, an indigenous start-up that has just announced 100 new jobs and which has engineered itself to be the lynchpin of product strategy for the world’s biggest pharma giants.

6. Apple’s encryption battle with the FBI given new deadline

Apple has been given a few extra days to answer a court order requiring it to unlock an iPhone for the FBI, but we pretty much know what the response will be.

7. First global Blackstone LaunchPad opens at NUI Galway with €2m funding

NUI Galway is now home to the first international Blackstone LaunchPad programme, led by Mary Carty, which has received €2m in funding to support budding entrepreneurs for at least three years.

8. Virgin Galactic debuts new SpaceShipTwo for space tourism era

Virgin Galactic has unveiled the updated version of its plane, SpaceShipTwo, which it hopes will be the craft to begin the first journey into true space tourism.

9. 30 years since Mir launch: 6 images from the Soviet’s jewel in space

Tomorrow is 30 years to the day since the Soviet Union launched the Mir space station and, even though it has long burned up over the Earth, its legacy remains intact.

10. IT trends for 2016? Data management, that’s the main one (infographic)

A new report from Nitro points towards security and cloud computing as two primary targets for businesses’ IT departments this year, with data management, of course, a priority.

Barcelona paella image via Shutterstock

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