Green PartyCommunications Minister Eamon Ryan today announced a wish list /plan, or a menu without prices, to create up to 30,000 jobs over the next decade in digital and clean technology. The glacial development of broadband is still a work-in-progress but "smart" is the current brand for almost everything other than for the political system, which resulted in the crash of the Celtic Tiger.
Ryan says the first part of the endeavour will with 50 jobs created in the next year, followed by another 300 within three years, as Irish company Intune Networks builds a new communications network which will cut down bottlenecks in data transfer.
His goals can be ambitious because he will almost certainly be out of a job, after the next general election.
The Government is also planning to establish an International Content Services Centre in Dublin, and a Marine Research, Test and Development Platform in Galway Bay.
Intune system uses laser technology
The Intune jobs will result from what is called an Examplar Smart Network using Intune's technology.
Trials of the new network are expected to start early next year with the first phase in operation before the end of next year.
Intune has developed a programmable fibre optic platform, using laser technology, which it says uses up to 75% less energy than today's networks. The company says the system was developed to cope with growing amounts of data and video traffic on the internet and allows for greater speeds and higher quality interactive services.
The company employs 100 people in Dublin and Belfast.
Ryan launched a report today: Technology Actions to Support the Smart Economy, which concludes with a clarion call to arms, based on the past success of American companies: "Ireland has a history of economic courage and innovation. We created new models of regional economic development using special tax designation status; we pioneered duty free shopping and low corporation taxation. We have acknowledged centres of excellence in manufacturing in ICT and Healthcare.
From being a manufacturer of products, we have migrated up the value chain and are now a leading exporter of high-tech products and traded services, and a location of choice for second generation ICT companies like Google and Facebook.
In the next ten years, Ireland will move decisively to being a creator, developer and exporter of products and services meeting real needs in an era of serial crises – climate change, peak oil, energy, water shortages, food production, etc.
We must harness our creativity, vision and connectedness and develop these solutions in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way. Building on our expertise in Advanced Technologies and our strengths in education and R&D, we will develop the new infrastructures and services that will allow our people – at home and abroad – to play their part in an already globalised world."
Energy and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan TD and Minister of State responsible for the Information Society Conor Lenihan TD today launched “Technology Actions to Support the Smart Economy” in Government Buildings.
This is a strategy aiming to position Ireland at the forefront of the digital and clean technology revolution; creating the investment and jobs of the future. With 6 new and innovative plans for Government action and infrastructure development, the report identifies 30,000 jobs as a baseline target for achievement over the next 5-10 years.
Coupled with investment and continued progress in broadband delivery, this strategy plans to secure competitive advantage for Ireland in the high-tech/clean-tech area by positioning ourselves as early movers. The digital revolution and its convergence with energy efficiency represent a new wave of economic and social activity, which can provide the jobs and investment of the future.
The plan includes the building of a new communications network, the establishment of energy efficient data centres in Ireland, a new International Content Services Centre (ICSC) to be located in Ireland, smart electricity networks, a new application to reduce commuting times and allow for home-working and a plan to establish a marine testing centre in Galway Bay.
The 6 Actions are as follows
1) Building an Exemplar Smart Communications Network
Network (IP) traffic is doubling every 2 years, creating bottlenecks across the network. An Irish company, InTune, has developed an innovative technological solution to the problem – Optical Burst Packet Switching. InTune hold the worldwide patent for this new technology and are already supplying MIT, the European Space Agency, NASA and the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Today, the Ministers announced that InTune will be creating over 300 jobs in the next 3 years as they lead the Government’s plan to build Ireland’s Exemplar Smart Network using their technology.
It is estimated that from this move 5,000 direct jobs and a further 5,000 indirect jobs will be created over a 5-10 year period
2) Energy-efficient Data Centres and Cloud Computing
The Government is planning to position Ireland as a centre for Green Data Centres i.e. reducing the cost of data centres by reducing the amount of energy they use.
Cloud computing is a method of storing data remotely, thereby lowering server and energy costs. EMC’s data centre in Cork supports 1700 jobs. This success with new energy efficiency technology can be replicated across the country.
Choosing to prioritise the development of these centres across Ireland will create 10,000 high value jobs over the next 5-10 years.
3) International Content Services Centre (ICSC)
The Government intends to establish an International Content Services Centre, modelled on the IFSC to harness skills in the following areas:
- Digital creative arts (film, games, music and animation)
- Modern communications technology
- Legal and other professional services
The ICSC will provide content generation, distribution and management expertise. The facility will support the development of the 1,000 digital content companies currently located in Ireland.
The proposed centre will act as a broker between digital content developers/owners and the major content distributors. A feasibility study for the ICSC will be finalised by the end of the year and the centre has the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs by 2020.
4) Smart electricity networks
The Government plans to roll-out an electricity network that allows for a two-way flow of electricity. This will enable microgenerators, smart meters and a range of energy efficiency measures. The ESB has committed to developing an Electric Vehicle charging system to reach the Government’s electric vehicles targets.
Such a system requires communications technology linked with the electricity network.
Developing the smart electricity network will sustain the 3,700 jobs already announced by the ESB and more in anticipated indirect employment arising from electric vehicles, smart meters, microgeneration and the Government’s wider sustainable energy agenda.
WorkFlow is a new concept using web-enabled mobile traffic sensors and communication tools to reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions. Live feeds of real-time estimates of commute times between the company and the home office will enable workers to choose optimum travel times.
A pilot scheme for WorkFlow will be rolled out in 2010 with the assistance of the Department of Transport.
6) Smart Bay
Smart Bay aims to establish a Marine Research, Test and Demonstration Platform in Galway Bay. It will link surface and underwater sensors and networks to enable environmental research. By understanding whole marine systems, new technologies will enable oil and gas exploration, mitigation of storm surges, coastal flooding and rising sea levels.
IBM Ireland and Intel are working on the SmartBay project. In 2010-2011 SmartBay will graduate from a pilot to a full-scale national platform and test bed, involving the upgrading of its wireless facilities and the laying of fibre on the seabed.
Launching the report Minister Ryan said, “While there is a correct focus on the amount we need to save and the spending we must curtail; we must also plan for the jobs of the future. We need to stimulate the economy as well in order for recovery to occur.
The Smart Economy document pledged to make Ireland a centre of high-tech jobs that cannot be outsourced; one that uses our natural resources and our expertise to Ireland’s competitive advantage. The series of innovations in Government policy today will make the smart economy a reality.
We have identified the challenges the world will face in the next decade. These are climate change, a peak in global oil production and the fight for scarce resources including energy and water. Understanding the challenges means there will be great rewards for the country with the solutions.
Building on our existing strengths, this is an innovative plan which will put our small open economy on a strong footing for a global upturn. We are targeting 30,000 from the outset, today’s 350 from InTune is only the beginning”.
Minister of State Conor Lenihan said, “I am delighted as Minister responsible for Innovation and the Information Society to see such creativity emanate from Government. There are ideas within the system and without. This report brings together the best thinking to position Ireland for recovery from both the public and private sectors to position Ireland for recovery.
I will drive this innovation agenda forward in Government. As Minister of State in both the Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources I am uniquely placed to marry public ideas with private investment. The high-tech jobs this investment brings will not be so easily moved around the globe as we develop the expertise.
The digital revolution and the demand for clean technology present Ireland with a unique opportunity to be early movers and provide jobs for our people into the future. This Government will enact this plan.”