What can Irish firms exhibiting at Europe’s largest trade fair expect?

Pádraig Hoare sets the scene for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Paul Sutton, founder of Cork-headquartered Software Radio Systems (SRS).
Paul Sutton, founder of Cork-headquartered Software Radio Systems (SRS).

Minutes before his young charges took to the ice rink against the mighty Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics, legendary ice hockey coach Herb Brooks imparted his no-hoper American team with one of the great motivational talks of sporting lore: “Great moments are born from great opportunity. That is what you have earned here tonight. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”

Just like the unlikely American winners of the gold medal in 1980, 30 Irish firms, including 14 Enterprise Ireland-backed companies, have that great opportunity as they take part in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs until Thursday. The congress is the biggest event for telecoms companies in the world, with 100,000 industry executives descending on the Catalan city to eye the latest trends in the evolving industry, while also hoping to spot extraordinary talent from one of those showcasing their ingenuity.

One of those 30 companies is Cork firm Software Radio Systems Technologies. SRS headed to Barcelona coming off a coup in securing a partnership with US company SmartSky Networks, a high-performance air-to-ground connectivity network operator. Through the partnership, SRS will test SmartSky’s airborne products. Based on aviation-specific modifications to 4G wireless communications standards, SmartSky 4G delivers office-like connectivity in the air. Translating that to lay speak, it means reliable wi-fi in the air while travelling across America by connecting to a special cell tower on the ground. SRS founder Paul Sutton told the Irish Examiner:

“The reliability will be like being on a 4G network in Cork or Dublin city centre because this is the technology underlying the connection. What’s more, the congestion will be far less because the only customers on the network will be the aircraft using it.” SRS was spun out from Trinity College Dublin.

Inhance Technology, based on Monahan Road in Cork, is another with the potential to make serious waves in Barcelona. Inhance helps blue-chip mobile carriers, retailers and insurers to increase profits, drive new business and retain more customers. Inhance’s technology helps carriers and retailers to accurately determine the value of their customers’ mobile device, offering them timely trade-in offers. That helps to drive loyalty and retention. The company’s services also include app-based services to protect customers – letting them know which apps have access to their personal data, backing up their data to the cloud, and allowing them to lock, locate and recover up to 10 devices. Its clients include Best Buy, Dixons Carphone, Orange, as well as insurance giant AIG.

With a burgeoning reputation, Anam Technologies, run by Clonmel-based Noel Kelly, announced a partnership with Deutsche Telekom International to provide comprehensive managed A2P SMS filtering services to the international mobile operator’s customers. In plain speak, it means mobile networks will be protected from unwanted SMS abuse and spam.

The product is already live in several Deutsche Telekom customer networks, serving 16 million subscribers, mainly across Europe.

Anam director of sales Clive Steady, said: “The potential is enormous.” Anam has its head offices in Dublin, an Asia hub in Kuala Lumpur and bases in London, Hong Kong and Hanoi. It filters billions of messages in 60 countries.

The 14 Enterprise Ireland exhibitors on the Ireland Pavilion comprises three start-ups and 11 established companies showcasing in areas from digital engagement tools to utilising artificial intelligence and data analytics. Three more Enterprise Ireland companies will exhibit on their own stand. The 100,000 visitors this week will represent mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world. Leo McAdams of Enterprise Ireland said: “Ireland is a significant player in the sector, we estimate 200 of the 650 Irish-owned ICT companies are involved in mobile and communications software, which includes the emerging Internet of Things sector. These companies, we estimate, generate €650m in exports and support 4,000 jobs in Ireland.”

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