Farmleigh forum aims to create new ideas for recovery


A MAJOR economic forum aimed at generating new links and ideas to aid Ireland’s economic recovery is to take place this weekend.

The Global Irish Economic Forum, which gets under way at Farmleigh House in Dublin today, hopes to create strategic partnerships between the State, the global Irish community and those with business connections to Ireland.

Organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the three-day event will discuss how the economy can position itself for the upturn, innovation on the island and promoting Ireland. About 200 delegates are expected at the inaugural event.

With the Government focusing on developing Ireland’s “smart economy”, the opportunity to connect with potential partners is looking increasingly important.

Tim Fritzley of Intune networks is hoping that the event will help attract research funds into Ireland, by way of academic institutions and industry tie-ins, using Ireland and Intune’s Exemplar smart network, a fibre-optic-based network that can cope with large volumes of internet traffic as a “test bed” for innovative technology.

Mr Fritzley is speaking at the “Innovation Island” workshop tomorrow, which is focusing on green technology and ICT.

“The goal is to attract partnerships based on the Exemplar Network capabilities,” he says. “It will allow Ireland to be a leader in the development of new goods and services. This technology will be in Ireland years before other areas get it.”

The network could attract a variety of firms into Ireland, such as those who want to develop new web applications for the next-generation semantic web and those interested in testing new content distribution models.

Neil Leyden, from Digital Hub firm Calico Media, is presenting his plans for an international content services centre, known as the ICSC. The IFSC in Dublin is held up as the model for the centre, which aims to help content providers distribute their intellectual property.

“In the 1980s, financing due to computerisation became a much more globalised service so that the backroom functionality of financing could be removed from the front end and be geographically displaced,” he says. “The same thing is happening to content now.

“What we saw in the late Nineties was the digitisation of content, be it music, film, games, mobile content, imagery, book. The problem is that there are still rights attached to those.”

These rights restrictions can lead to content being blocked in certain territories.

“What the ICSC will do is allow content owners to come to Ireland with their intellectual property and benefit from tax regulatory system here,” Mr Leyden adds. “In turn we will offer them storage, localisation, delivery and distribution and more importantly, rights management over that content to allow it to be easily distributed throughout the world.”

Ireland is perfectly placed to become the European gateway for this type of business, Mr Leyden says, in a similar way that multinationals used Ireland as a base for entry into the EU markets.

The event itself has a high-tech edge, with Airspeed Telecom providing underlying technology to allow the sessions to be broadcast and streamed live over an IP network, with a 155Mbps link provided into Farmleigh for the event.