In an age where every business must now rapidly and efficiently digitise, it is difficult to know where to begin.
For any SMEs or entrepreneurs who are struggling with a problem to solve, or perhaps have a brilliant business idea but no way of producing it, Cork holds the answer.
The Nimbus Research Centre at Cork Institute of Technology focuses on research and development of innovative technologies that address the real needs of industry, people and society.
The research centre does this by enhancing and supporting business and academic communities through excellence in technology innovation. Nimbus integrates state-of-the-art research expertise with practical industry applications with the goal of developing new technologies to disrupt and enhance Cork, Ireland, society and business.
The Nimbus Research Centre began in 2007, when engineers came together to determine how cyber-physical systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) could enhance the future of technology.
The centre’s research and innovative technology is helping to create sustainable Smart Cities (Water, Energy, Transport), to enhance Industry 4.0, improve assisted living and redesign how Education works.
Over 13 years, Nimbus developed into a team of researchers, engineers and postgraduate students from across the globe, with multidisciplinary backgrounds. To ensure a truly immersive and holistic approach to technology research, Nimbus works closely with the departments within Cork Institute of Technology, both in Engineering, Science and Business and Humanities.
Nimbus Research Centre also works closely with academic and industry partners throughout Ireland, Europe and the US. Nimbus is very active in EU-funded programmes, including leadership of large international, multi-partner research projects.
In Ireland, Nimbus is a partner in SFI Centres, including CONNECT, CONFIRM, LERO and MAREI. It is also a partner in the SFI Centre for Research Training (CRT) in Advanced Networking for Sustainable Societies – ADVANCE.
John Barrett, Head of Nimbus Research Centre, said: “At Nimbus, we are driven by a shared purpose in being leaders in our field and continuing to be the best at supplying innovation through research.
“We provide economic value to industry and sustainable solutions to societal problems. Our mission at Nimbus Research Centre is to remain at the forefront of innovation by harnessing information and communication technology to build and maintain an ecosystem that will enrich society and transform industry.
“Our research expertise lies within four application areas: Digital Platforms, Future Networks, Cyber Security Systems and Advanced Digital Skills,” he said.
The Nimbus Research Centre saw a gap where its work could not only enhance academic research, but could also benefit businesses. Nimbus evolved to form the Nimbus Technology Gateway which is one of fifteen Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways and the largest applied IoT centre in Ireland.
Nimbus provides Industry with solutions and prototypes in Software, Hardware, Networks, UI/UX, Extended Reality, AI & Machine Learning as well as providing in depth Research in cyber-physical systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT).
Nimbus continues to support business clients of all sizes, from start-Ups and SMEs to multinationals, to solve business problems and develop product prototypes. As a leading research centre in Ireland, Nimbus works with various stakeholders in a wide-ranging list of projects from Healthcare, Agri Tech, Energy, Water, Smart Manufacturing etc as well as developing Chat Bots, Apps and Extended Reality applications.
Many businesses can be daunted by the rapid changes with technology however it is nothing to fear with Centres like Nimbus on hand to help.
Dr Alan McGibney, Research Fellow and group lead at Nimbus, said: “As the digital age is truly upon us, people and businesses have begun to consider how digital technology can go beyond just making old ways faster and began to generate new ideas for their use, this led to the idea of digital transformation and subsequently sparked new ways of doing things that may not have been possible previously.
“The core of digital transformation is the ability to add value to every customer interaction, it is changing the way business gets done and, in domains, creating entirely new and disruptive businesses,” he said.
“Of course, digital transformation is not just technology-driven, it is about making fundamental changes to how a company operates both internally and externally. This can be a daunting process however the low barrier to entry created by our digital world is seen as a strong driver of change, the ability for a company to adapt their business models is a requirement for them to remain in business,” added Dr McGibney.
“Transformation is about a change of culture, which requires innovative rethinking of the role of people, processes and technologies within a business.”
“The Nimbus Research Centre has a solid portfolio of state-of-the-art research,” said Brian Cahill, Business Development, Nimbus. “A key area of expertise is their talent in securing funding to beneﬁt SME projects.
“The Nimbus Gateway will meet approximately 200 SMEs annually: 80 projects will blossom from such meetings and 40 will involve Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher programme. This programme is the quintessential entry-level point for funding in Ireland for registered companies.
“There are several options available with the most popular being an innovation voucher valued at €5000. Not a bad start to the headache of ﬁnding R&D funding.
For more information, please refer to www.innovationvouchers.ie with particular attention towards the FAQ page. A nice feature of this programme is that all intellectual property developed from innovation vouchers is owned by the beneﬁciary company. What a great start,” concluded Mr Cahill.