Tech business week: Web Summit on move and Inspirefest speakers announced

28 Sep 2015

It was a week of comings and goings for Dublin, as the Web Summit announced it will be making Lisbon its home from 2016, while Inspirefest 2016 announced its first speakers.

First Inspirefest speakers announced

The first speakers for Inspirefest 2016 have been announced.

They include: transportation entrepreneur Robin Chase; Silicon Valley business guru Nilofer Merchant; Isis Anchalee, the woman behind #iLookLikeanEngineer; New York-based venture capitalist Jeanne M Sullivan; Outbox Incubator co-founder Mary Carty and the Mayo Clinic’s expert on design thinking Lorna Ross.

Inspirefest 2016 takes place from 30 June to 2 July 2016. The inaugural 2015 event was praised by Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek, who said: “Not since TED Talks have I learned so much and left so inspired, though TED could learn a bit from Inspirefest’s speaker sourcing.”

Web Summit to move to Lisbon in 2016

The Web Summit in Dublin will be no more from 2016 with the organisers confirming that the event is to up sticks and move to Lisbon, with the organisation citing infrastructure as one of the reasons for its decision.

The event, which was first held in 2010, has gradually risen to become one of the largest tech events around, attracting major entrepreneurs and CEOs in the field of tech, and even celebrities in the last few years, but now it feels it has outgrown its Irish home.

Announcing the decision in a blog post, the event’s founder Paddy Cosgrave began his piece by thanking Ireland for the last five years, but subsequently went on to say that if it wants to continue growing the Web Summit needs to leave the confines of Dublin.

“It has not been an easy decision to move Web Summit from its Irish home,” Cosgrave said. “We are going because we want to take the next step on our journey to international growth.”

Ratheniska chosen for SIRO broadband pilot programme

Ratheniska, which last week was home of the Ploughing Championships, has also been picked as the pilot point for SIRO’s rural broadband programme, with 17 premises connected to the network.

The plan is to provide a 100pc fibre-optic broadband network to 50 regional towns nationwide, part of a larger industry move that has seen a number of players emerge amid a race to connect (in high-speed terms) the whole country to the web.

Of the 17 sites that will be hooked up, 14 are homes, with Ratheniska National School, the Community Hall and Park Ratheniska GAA club completing the set.

EY named Employer of the Year at GLEN Workplace Equality Index Awards

Ernst and Young (EY) was named Employer of the Year at the GLEN Workplace Equality Index Awards, which took place in Dublin’s Westin Hotel last week.

The GLEN Workplace Equality Index Awards are held annually and recognise and celebrate organisations that are making significant efforts to ensure employees can be themselves without fear of it negatively affecting their career.

EY took the top award, ‘Best Place to Work for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People’ or Employer of the Year, with IBM (2nd), Accenture (3rd), Deutsche Bank (4th) and Microsoft Ireland (5th) rounding out the top five.

EY also claimed three leadership awards.

More than half of world’s population has no access to internet

A new worldwide broadband report released by the United Nations (UN) shows less than promising results for the majority of the world, with 57pc of people on the planet having no access to broadband.

The world broadband report produced by the UN Broadband Commission and entitled The State of Broadband is disheartening given that 90pc of the people living in the poorest nations are the ones with least access.

By the end of this year, however, the report predicts that we are to pass the 3.2bn mark for people connected to the internet, which represents an annual growth of 7.8pc, but overall growth is believed to be slowing as markets reach saturation.

European Commission responds as Safe Harbour comes under fire

The European Commission (EC) has responded to the landmark option put forth by an adviser to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the Safe Harbour system between the EU and US.

The advocate general of the ECJ has advised national data protection bodies to overrule the Safe Harbour agreement if they feel European citizens’ rights are compromised.

Safe Harbour permits the free flow of user data to states outside of the EU, as long as they provide ‘adequate protection’ towards it, with the agreement basically a funnel for IT companies to send data across the Atlantic with little or no interference from resident states.

Yet ever since Edward Snowden revealed that this ‘adequate protection’ is nothing but an empty space where empty words once lived on an empty plain, many felt Safe Harbour was obsolete.

However, the European Commission (EC) doesn’t think so, with it still supporting the view that the US provides adequate protection.

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Dublin city image via Shutterstock

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.