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Ireland, with its historic connections with the US and as a leader in Europe's rapidly evolving technology sector, is ideally placed to work with tech giants in both the US and China.
In recognition of this, Beyond IoT 2020, taking place at CIT's Nimbus Research Centre on January 20-21, is the most important technology conference in Ireland, bringing people from all over the world to CIT to look at the latest trends in technology and Europe's role as mediator between the US and China.
"Ireland prides itself on bringing together strategic concepts and deep tech," says Richard Linger, industry director at the Nimbus Research Centre. The centre is at the forefront of cyber-physical systems and Internet of things (IoT) research."
Linger says that he and his colleagues work hard at ensuring that Nimbus has an international reputation. The centre has an office in Silicon Valley, it will be opening one in Shanghai working with a company called Innocare (part of Shanghai University) and another office in China may be set up in the city of Zhuhai. "We are also working closely with the Irish Chinese Science and Technology Association to help engage with an effective network in the country."
The conference, featuring over 20 top-tier speakers, is aimed at start-ups, academics, executives from large companies looking at technical transformation and anybody who has an interest in the technology space. As Linger says, IoT "is becoming pervasive sitting behind nearly everything we do. It's not just a hardware device with a bit of connectivity.
It's everything from the hardware to all the software, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and the interfaces we see on our smartphones. It is impacting everywhere, down to what information we get fed from marketing organisations, all the way to how our cars interact with us."
Linger is excited by "the amount of amazing ideas that we're turning into software and hardware. For example, we're working with a company based out of the US at the moment where we're developing AI technology to protect students in universities. We're able to look at their social media and assess their behaviours, such as whether they have a tendency towards self-harm, drug abuse, depressive tendencies. It's to allow intervention by the universities to stop students from dropping out or to prevent the issues becoming worse."
On the other end of the spectrum, Nimbus is developing smart locking technology. A person carries a tab and as they approach their door and touch it, it will unlock for the right person. "It's very good for people who have disabilities or arthritis and can't actually turn locks. The company is called Expert Security, founded by David O'Toole."
Beyond IoT will also look at ethical issues. "We're going to discuss the interaction between technology and society and whether that relationship is actually broken. In some areas, I think it is, in particular, when it comes to issues of data. For instance, in the US, large corporates have a stranglehold on a lot of our personal data."
Cybersecurity is a major problem. It will be addressed by Ralph Echenendia who is known as 'the ethical hacker'. Another area that will be under the microscope is climate change and how technology can help mitigate its impact.
Dr Sally Eaves, who was in Madrid at the Climate Change Summit recently, is going to talk about climate change and how smart cities and technologies to develop them can benefit humanity.
Lauren Knausenberger recently joined the US Air Force to drive innovation across the department of defence, speed up adoption of emerging technologies and create stronger partnerships between the department, start ups and the venture community. An enthusiastic Angel investor, Knausenberger is active with NextGen Angels and has invested in emerging technology companies. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. She has founded a non-profit that encourages excellence in education involving the intersection of art and STEM.
David Troy is a serial technology entrepreneur who founded his first business at the age of fourteen in 1986. Since then, he has been working in the information technology industry. In 1995, he founded ToadNet, a major Internet service provider near Baltimore in the US. He sold it to Landmark Communications in 2004. Troy founded TEDxMidAtlantic, a conference dedicated to the power of ideas to change the world. In 2010, he helped organise the BmoreFiber initiative to attract Google's fiberoptic network investment to Baltimore. Troy, who lives in Baltimore, is a certified private pilot.
Professor Sally Eaves has been described as the 'torchbearer for ethical tech.' She brings a depth of experience from her roles as CEO and chief technology officer, as a professor in emergent technologies and as a global strategic advisor, specialising in artificial intelligence, Blockchain, 5G, FinTech, EdTech and cyber security. Eaves has founded Aspirational Futures, to help skill and empower the next generation of interdisciplinary talent through STEAM learning. She is a graduate of the CIO Academy at Said Business School, Oxford University and the Sustainability Leadership Institute at Judge Business School, the University of Cambridge.
Andrew MacAdam is the managing director of Microsoft Start-ups in Western Europe covering fifteen countries where he identifies, supports and develops start-ups who have the potential to be excellent business partners with Microsoft. Prior to this role, he was the customer success lead for Microsoft Ireland involving responsibility for enabling customers to realise the value of their investment in Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft, MacAdam worked for a leading mobile operator where he was head of digital. In this role, he recognised the opportunity that cloud presented to transform the way business could drive down costs and enable innovation. Based in Greystones, he holds an MBA from Henley College and a Bachelor's Degree in civil and structural engineering from Sheffield University.
For more information on Beyond IoT 2020, visit: www.beyondiot.ie.