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Why 10 Gigabits, Why Now?

On 1 June last, SIRO launched its’ 10 Gigabit (10G) enabled broadband network in Galway city. The first city in Ireland to have this high speed, large bandwidth network at its disposal. At the end August, SIRO’s entire fibre broadband network was upgraded to 10 Gigabits. This €10 million, 15-month upgrade project includes our full existing SIRO network, i.e., 450,000+ premises we have already passed and the further 320,000 we are in the process of passing right now.

10G: what is it?

From the middle of last year, SIRO began the process of upgrading its’ existing network to a 10 Gigabit network using XGS-PON technology. G-PON stands for Gigabit PON or 1 Gigabit PON. The “X” in XGS represents the number 10, and the letter “S” stands for symmetrical, XGS-PON = 10 Gigabit Symmetrical PON. The upgrade allows SIRO to turbo-charge our existing network from a one Gigabit network to a network providing up to 10G connections which are symmetrical (same upload and download speeds), much more reliable, with lower latencies and better security.

The point of a 10G network is the flexibility to scale up seamlessly as your data demands grow. One Gigabit to two, four, six Gigabits and so on

What can it do?

One of the most prominent and headline grabbing aspects of 10 G is speed, specifically speed of data transfer. 10 Gbps lets you transfer at a rate of 1.25 GB/s when you copy a file to another computer across the SIRO network. This equates to sending a 20 GB file in under 20 seconds. At SIRO we know, that at least for the short-to-medium term, end users of this much larger bandwidth will be enterprise/business users vs. residential consumers. It makes sense. It is businesses, whether small or large, who typically move large data sets. However, the number of businesses who falls into this category is not as niche as it once might have been. As ever more intensive applications run on our servers or are stored in the Cloud, the amount of data created, stored and transferred increases each day. Add in the growing automation of once manual tasks and the need for high-speed internet as the key enabler of these processes becomes clear.

10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world. It will ensure that technology in our lives becomes even more embedded and integrated

Speed and bandwidth are also important for business where large numbers of colleagues and clients need to connect at once. Both now have an expectation of being able to access services when they require them and that this access is dependable and consistent. Business, for reasons of productivity, reputation and of course the bottom line, cannot afford to have any bottlenecks in their connectivity which can hold their business back. Businesses with many employees and multiple clients all logging on at the same time are obvious candidates for much higher speeds. Yet over recent years as our use of digital technologies has grown, it has spawned new types of business which are equally heavy data users. Businesses in the creative sector is one example. While they may not be big in terms of employee head count, they are big users of data. Think content creators in advertising, digital or marketing agencies, animators, film or videographers, game design – all transferring large files each day. Though smaller companies, the creative sector in its’ totality is a significant sector, employing up to 5% of the Irish workforce or about 100,000.

Do I need 10G?

In truth, it depends. If you are an individual, doing video editing, streaming, audio production, activities which involve a large amount of data and if your workflow currently lags due to slow speeds, then likely you do need to move up the Gigabit ranks from the standard one Gigabit to higher speeds. The point of a 10G network is the flexibility to scale up seamlessly as your data demands grow. One Gigabit to two, four, six Gigabits and so on. The use case is much clearer if you are a business or enterprise. If your business has large file sizes to deal; you use HD streaming or your company is growing in terms of capability or headcount, then there is a real risk of congestion on your network necessitating larger bandwidth.

10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world.

An important additional benefit of SIRO’s 10G network is affordability. Previously access to high-speed point-to-point (P2P) services was largely just available to very big organisations with substantial IT budgets. With this upgrade SIRO have changed that market limiting dynamic.

A 10 Gigabit Future?

Just as when once the need for one Gigabit broadband met with questions on the use case of that level of bandwidth; some might today ask a similar question of 10 Gigabit broadband. Those of us who have seen the relentless march of data demands, know better than to ask that question anymore. Instead, the more pertinent question for business and society to consider are what processes and technologies (many, not yet invented) can this level of bandwidth unlock for the benefit of all? 10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world. It will ensure that technology in our lives becomes even more embedded and integrated. Healthcare professionals will monitor and diagnose their patients remotely in real-time, our students will collaborate and learn not just from their classmates but with other children across the world and virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) will change many aspects of how we live from retail, to home entertainment, to the world of work. In SIRO we have always sought to drive innovation in the Irish broadband market to make the probable, possible. Today’s focus may be on 10 Gigabits, but the direction of journey to 25 Gigabits is already coming into view. To find out if your business can avail of SIRO for Business, please visit www.siro.ie/search-your-eircode
SIRO, the broadband network operator, has today announced that its fibre broadband network is now a 10 Gigabit network. SIRO’s announcement comes following the completion of a €10 million investment upgrade programme, implemented to ensure the company’s network can deliver the fastest speeds available. SIRO’s decision to make 10 Gigabit speeds available is driven by the ever-increasing data demands of enterprise year-on-year and the necessity to have a future proofed network primed to respond to the needs of businesses. SIRO, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, is currently rolling out a 100% fibre broadband network across 154 towns and cities across Ireland, with services currently available to 450,000+ premises and reaching 770,000 premises over the next four years. In October 2021, SIRO launched 2 Gigabit speeds for the residential market. Today’s announcement of 10 Gigabits is initially focused on the enterprise market. The latter have a need to progressively scale up their bandwidth from 2 Gigabits up to 10 Gigabits in the short to medium term. The upgrade to 10 Gigabits reflects SIRO’s ambition to continuously bring innovation to the Irish broadband market. SIRO is Ireland’s sole open-access wholesale-only broadband operator and was first to introduce 1 Gigabit broadband to Irish homes. It is now stretching its offering further with speeds of 2 Gigabits for residential and up to 10 Gigabits for enterprise customers, respectively. The benefits of multi-gigabit speeds include: Ensure fastest speeds: Symmetrical speeds up to ten times faster than the best standard currently available of up to 1 Gigabit. A 10 Gigabit connection can transfer 1 Gigabit of data in 0.8 seconds or upload a file of 20 Gigabits in under 20 seconds. Provide scalable connectivity: A future-proofed connection to support the increasing number of connected devices used by businesses. Enhance cyber protection: Enhanced data and network protection by facilitating network management systems which reduce cybersecurity risks. Support new technologies: The bandwidth to integrate emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D technology or voice recognition tools. Commenting on the announcement, SIRO CEO, John Keaney, said: “For SIRO, completing our transition to a 10 Gigabit-enabled network is about ensuring we continue to lead the market in terms of delivering on Ireland’s future broadband needs for the decades ahead. “All aspects of business processes and operations are increasingly digitised. Reliable and future proofed connectivity is the foundation upon which they all rest. “This upgrade gives enterprises the opportunity to plan and scale up their bandwidth requirements as their data demands and business requirements grow. Rather than wait for the broadband infrastructure to catch up, businesses can now have the certainty that they can access higher speeds and capacity as and when they need it,” added Mr. Keaney. To find out if you can avail of 10 Gigabit today, check your Eircode today! [lookup_modal type="eircode" button-text="Search Your Eircode Today" position="mid" title="Search Your Eircode Today"]
Broadband operator, SIRO, has today announced that it is bringing its 100% fibre broadband network to Ballinasloe and Loughrea. The company, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, is rolling out a full fibre broadband network to towns across Ireland, with Loughrea and Ballinasloe next in line to benefit. SIRO’s broadband network will bring world class connectivity to almost 5,000 homes and businesses in both towns, with an investment of €5 million overall. The work will be carried out by SIRO contractors, TLI, with civil construction works commencing in Loughrea in the next week, with Ballinasloe’s works to commence in Spring of next year. SIRO Announces Five Million Investment In Full Fibre Broadband For Ballinasloe and Loughrea The rollout in Ballinasloe and Loughrea is part of SIRO’s ongoing roll out in Galway city and county. The company has already made its full fibre broadband network available to over 33,000 homes and businesses in Galway city. The investment is part of the company’s ongoing fibre rollout across Ireland, targeting 154 cities and towns and 770,000 premises. Areas within Ballinasloe that will be connected include (but are not limited to): Townparks, Portnick, Poolboy, Dunlo, Kilgarve, Church Street, Bóthar Sáirséal, Meadowbrook, Beechlawn, Esker Hills. Areas within Loughrea that will be connected include (but are not limited to): Portumna Road, Danesfort, Barrack Street, Abbey Street, Athenry Road, Ashlawn, Galway Road, Gort Road, Main Street, Cosmona, and The Hill. SIRO’s network in Ballinasloe, Loughrea and Galway City is a 10 Gigabit-enabled network, which means that enterprise customers will be able to access higher speeds and bandwidths as their data demands grow over the years ahead, ensuring that current and future needs are met. Residential users can avail of 1 Gigabit broadband, with the option of 2 Gigabits where homes have larger bandwidth demands. SIRO Announces Five Million Investment In Full Fibre Broadband For Ballinasloe and Loughrea SIRO is a joint venture company between ESB and Vodafone, founded in 2015. SIRO’s state-of-the-art fibre broadband network is built on the ESB electricity infrastructure, trusted for its reliability and resilience. Overall, the company is investing more than €1 billion in delivering high speed, future proofed broadband across Ireland. Commenting on the launch in Ballinasloe and Loughrea, SIRO CEO John Keaney said: “Since we first started rolling out our network in Galway city, over four years ago demand has been strong for SIRO’s fibre broadband service. Our expansion now to Loughrea and Ballinasloe reflects the broader demand across Galway – city and county. “Reliable, resilient and future proofed broadband is a game changer for regional towns and having access to SIRO’s network will create huge investment and job creation opportunities for towns such as Ballinasloe and Loughrea. “SIRO is pleased to support this objective and to play a part in giving individuals and businesses a choice about where and how they live and work. We have had positive engagement with local stakeholders on the ground in both towns and we are now excited about getting on with our roll-out and connection process in the months ahead,” added Mr. Keaney. Welcoming today’s announcement from SIRO, Galway County Council Chief Executive Jim Cullen stated: The building of these fibre networks will be a significant investment in these two towns. The delivery of such infrastructure is a key economic enabler for existing business, with the potential to help increase their online presence and to trade online nationally and internationally. “It will have positive impacts for both towns around growth, economic spin off effects & makes these towns more attractive for future investment. “It will open up opportunities for citizens to work locally, with the delivery of high-speed connectivity, as remote working becomes more realistic for larger numbers of people, which should lead to a lowering of the towns carbon footprints and the residents of these towns will have more choice on broadband service provision in the future,” added Mr Cullen SIRO as an open access wholesaler, partners with twenty broadband retailers across Ireland, to ensure that customers and businesses enjoy greater choice and competition. Retailers offering SIRO residential, or enterprise broadband products include: Digiweb, Blacknight, Airwire, Sky, Vodafone, Virgin, Fastcom, Telcom, Viatel and Pure Telecom. To register your interest, and to find out when SIRO will become available to your home or business, click here [mailchimp_modal button-text="Register Your Interest" title="Sign Up Form" position="mid"]
Amit Kapur author Ireland is renowned across the world as a hub for innovation and growth. According to recent data from CRIFVision-net, there were 25,695 new start-ups in Ireland last year, showing an increase of 17% from the previous year. Access to funding is one key reason why there has been a significant rise in start-ups in recent years. Large amounts of funding have been provided to aid new start-ups in the country, with findings from a survey by the Irish Venture Capital Association showing that in 2021 €1.3 billion venture capital funding was acquired for Irish tech-based SMEs and start-ups. For Irish entrepreneurs, starting up a business can be both a challenging and exciting time. Businesses starting out have a lot to consider before they begin operating, and with the pace of digitisation accelerating, the application of this technology in the most effective and productive manner is an essential for start-ups.

Key technology considerations for start-ups include:

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a fundamental issue for any business in our digital era. Start-ups, in their infancy are often most at risk to cybersecurity attacks. So, it’s important that start-ups consider how they are going to protect their customers, business operations and employees from external threats. Implementing simple and cost-effective measures such as two-factor authentication or investing in a threat detection system will help keep your business secure. In addition, a good practice is to backup data regularly, so that in the case of an attack, important data is kept safe. A recent survey conducted by a renowned Irish ISP found that one in five Irish businesses had yet to put a cyber security policy in place within their firm. This is alarming as businesses, especially smaller/newer ones, are easier targets for cyber-attacks. Cyber threats can often occur due to human error, making staff awareness of the risks essential. While budgets might be tight for start-ups there are tonnes of free online training and resources available which businesses can avail of.

Social Media

Software company, Sprout Social, notes that as of January 2022, there are 3.96 billion total social media users across all platforms. From this, it is clear to see why many businesses are opting to have an online presence to drive brand awareness and/or direct sales. Having a social media presence is key, as it allows new firms to directly engage with the public, to create a brand identity, and overall to increase brand awareness attracting new customers. Sprout Social research also found that that 55% of consumers learn about new brands on social media. When deciding to use social media to promote your business, it is important to choose which platforms to use, taking into account your businesses target audience, goals and product. Small businesses may not be able to afford to be on all platforms, so choosing the correct platforms will be crucial for the firm’s performance. Lyfe marketing outlines the top 6 social media platforms for businesses in 2022, which are Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Data analytics

According to analytics platform, MicroStrategy, 59% of organisations around the world use big data analytics. Data analytics can be an extremely useful tool to integrate into your new business. Using analytics can help entrepreneurs identify trends and patterns, identify issues and areas to improve, and overall can help develop goals and strategies for going forward. Analysing analytics can also help new businesses measure performance of campaigns and identify what generates clicks/traffic to their website and social media impressions. By analysing this data, firms will have a better understanding of their target market and know how to generate better responses to their campaigns and posts. image of graph

Access to Wi-Fi

Something which can often be overlooked is the importance of having a stable Wi-Fi connection. The biggest rationale for high quality connectivity include support for business operations, use of Cloud technology, automation and online sales. In addition, researching competitors, identifying the target market, engaging with staff via Teams or other video call meetings and the general every day running of the business, all rely on having a good connection. For business, access to good quality Wi-Fi, no longer means just access to your own office building. Fibre broadband is changing both how and where work takes places. Start-ups have greater leeway to be more flexible about their business location. Digital hubs assist businesses across Ireland by providing them with access to gold standard connectivity locally, so that their new/existing business can thrive. Choosing to operate from a digital hub could be a cost-effective way of bringing a new business to life, whilst also bringing teams together in person. Equally, many start-ups have chosen to work fully remote and again the importance of a reliable broadband connection cannot be overstressed, in terms of the overall ambition and success of the business. image of three people looking at a laptop in an office To find out if SIRO is available to your new business click here SIRO 100% Fibre Broadband, Ireland's Fastest Broadband for Business
SIRO, the broadband network operator, have today launched its new 100% fibre broadband network in Maynooth. SIRO’s broadband network will bring world class connectivity to 2,500 homes and businesses in Maynooth, with an investment of €4 million in the town. Areas within the town set to benefit include Main Street, O'Neill Park, Parson Street, Leinster Street, Pound Lane, Dublin Road, Doctor's Lane, Bere Street, Carton Grove, Carton Square, Pebble Hill Park, Limetree Hall, and Back Lane. With 600 homes and businesses already live and available to order, SIRO’s roll-out in Maynooth to a remaining 2,000 premises is ongoing and expected to complete by end September. SIRO’s investment in a new broadband network for Maynooth is part of the company’s ongoing fibre rollout across Ireland targeting 154 cities and towns and 770,000 premises. SIRO’s full fibre network in Maynooth is available to both residential and business customers. Maynooth Business Campus (MBC), which has over 100 national and multinational companies operating within it, is just one of the commercial locations where SIRO is already available. SIRO’s network in Maynooth is 10 Gigabit-enabled which means that enterprise customers can now avail of broadband speeds which will meet their current and further bandwidth requirements. Maynooth is the ninth Kildare town to go live on the SIRO network, with 30,000 premises in Naas, Athy, Johnstown, Kildare, Clane, Newbridge, Sallins and Prosperous are already able to connect to its future-proofed, gigabit broadband. a photo of racehorses on a racecourse with a map of Kildare in the foreground SIRO is a joint venture company between ESB and Vodafone, founded in 2015. SIRO’s state-of-the-art fibre broadband network is built on the ESB electricity infrastructure, trusted for its reliability and resilience. Overall, the company is investing more than €1 billion in delivering high speed, future proofed broadband across Ireland. Commenting on SIRO’s launch in Maynooth, SIRO CEO John Keaney said: “Maynooth has been hugely successfully in attracting high quality investment and jobs into the town in recent decades. Added to that its status as home to one of Ireland’s leading universities, makes having high quality, reliable and future proofed connectivity critical. “SIRO is delighted to announce the arrival of its network in Maynooth. High quality connectivity is now the foundation of how we live, work, study and engage with others. Our network provides a platform for individuals, families, communities, and businesses to do all these activities. “We are focused on delivering the highest quality of broadband services, a reliable network, and the capacity to meet data demands today, without fear of lag or downtime, but also, future demand with our 10 Gigabit capacity. Our network rollouts in Kildare towns have been hugely positive to date so we are excited to now expand to Maynooth,” added Mr. Keaney SIRO as an open access wholesaler, partners with 20 broadband retailers across Ireland, to ensure that customers and businesses enjoy greater choice and competition. Retailers offering SIRO residential or enterprise broadband products include: Digiweb, Sky, Vodafone, Fastcom, Telcom, Viatel and Pure Telecom. [lookup_modal type="eircode" button-text="Search Your Eircode Today" position="mid" title="Search Your Eircode Today"]
With the rush to the beach or getting time away after two years of COVID-induced lockdowns, you might have missed the news of Amazon’s most recent acquisition this summer. On 21 July, Amazon announced that it had acquired One Medical, in a cash deal valued at $3.9 billion. One Medical is a membership-based primary care practice which provides healthcare to patients through a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care services in locations across the U.S. The company is using technology to drive innovation in primary healthcare such as by allowing online booking for GP appointments or text messaging with doctors, in addition to 24/7 on demand tele-healthcare. It has also built its own medical records technology from the ground up to help doctors better manage patient relationships. One Medical was one of the earliest companies in the U.S. to recognise the enormous potential of technology to improve both access to and quality of healthcare. Amazon’s SVP of Health Services, Neil Lindsay, summed up the opportunity when he noted:

“…. healthcare is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention.”

“Booking an appointment, waiting weeks or even months to be seen, taking time off work, driving to a clinic, finding a parking spot, waiting in the waiting room then the exam room for what is too often a rushed few minutes with a doctor, then making another trip to a pharmacy – we see lots of opportunity to both improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days”

While the agreement was met with some discussion around the risk of Big Tech and the privacy of patient health information, it equally met with optimistic commentary on the ability of Amazon to bring much-needed efficiencies and improved customer experience to health care, as it has to retail shopping. The caveat is that the healthcare is different from purchasing new trainers given its nature and the fact that some costs just cannot be squeezed. But its’ certainly true that technology, and the high-quality broadband connectivity upon which it is based, can fundamentally change how healthcare is delivered and how patients experience it. Primary care is just Amazon’s latest move into health care. The company acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 for over $700 million and launched its own online prescription delivery service Amazon Pharmacy in 2020. There are also rumours that Amazon is considering starting a new digital therapy and counselling platform. Whether, or not, Amazon’s foray into healthcare is the commoditisation of health and whether that’s a good or bad thing is beside the point. The truth is that as Neil Lindsay put it “healthcare is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention.” Technology across all aspects of our lives has put power back in the hands of people, broken down unnatural and societal barriers to equality of access in areas as diverse as education, travel or share trading. Yet healthcare, particularly patient experience of accessing care, remains one of the few sectors where the impact of connectivity and digital technologies doesn’t appear to have made as much cut through. While most activities can be booked online such as a haircut or an NCT for a car, why not an appointment with a GP? Equally, in Ireland’s hospital system there is no single digital health record for each patient to provide a catch-all record of a patient’s lifelong medical history. Instead, 85% of all hospital records remain paper-based and hospitals can’t access GP data and vice versa.

85% of all hospital records are still paper based.

Accelerated changed and faster digital uptake in healthcare is achievable. The pandemic showed us what’s possible, albeit in response to an emergency situation. The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme was predominantly over a digital platform. The move to e-prescriptions also during the pandemic – stalled for years prior to that - rapidly simplified and enhanced prescription practices overnight. Patients, too, managed to successfully navigate both processes. The digital win’s during COVID in Irish healthcare can continue. With groups like the Irish Digital Health Leadership Group, a collective of health, IT and patient experts, looking to accelerate the timelines for delivery.

In Ireland we have a wealth of health tech companies, many who are world leaders in their field whose expertise can be tapped into to develop local solutions for Irish patients.

Examples include, SilverCloudHealth, which has delivered online mental health programmes to over a million individuals and 500 organisations globally, including in Ireland. LetsGetChecked is another Irish-grown company making waves in healthcare internationally. The company offers more than 30 home diagnostic tests in the categories of sexual health, women’s health, men’s health, wellness and coronavirus, with more than seven million tests delivered worldwide to date. In addition, in the U.S. its’ users can order medication online. Health Beacon, a patient medication management system, is just another further example of an Irish company growing rapidly overseas. Added to these is the strong presence of global med-tech and pharma FDA companies dotted across Ireland, all whose expertise could be brought to bear. The Government has set a target of all homes and businesses having access to a Gigabit network by 2028. Through the work of commercial broadband network operators such as  SIRO or National Broadband Ireland people in every corner of Ireland will have reliable and secure connectivity. At a time in Ireland when wait times for accessing health services can be long, reinventing healthcare delivery and expanding investment in digital health services could offer a solution to ensure faster access to care for many. [lookup_modal type="eircode" button-text="Search Your Eircode Today" position="mid" title="Search Your Eircode Today"]
SIRO’s Employee Experience Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Gillian Quigley, explores digital wellbeing apps, mental health, and the importance of staying connected. They say these days that there’s an app for everything. An app to order food or clothes, to stream your favourite shows, and even to adjust the temperature within your home. But what about an app to improve your mental health?  General wellbeing and morale over the course of the past three years has naturally dipped because of strict restrictions, lockdowns and varying levels of anxiety within society. People yearned for diverse ways to connect when the effects of loneliness in Ireland was higher than ever before. 51% of people admitted that the pandemic influenced their mental health, with loneliness in Ireland doubling in 2021, as a result. It’s completely understandable that people would begin to feel more anxious, depressed, isolated or even paranoid when uncertainty was the norm for so long.  It’s not all bad, though. On the flip side, mental health awareness is at an all-time high. This is thanks in no small part to digital health and wellbeing apps gaining in popularity, due to increased awareness campaigns by health services and influencers. In a 2021 survey by St. Patricks Mental Health Hospital, 72% of those surveyed, believe Irish society is more open to talking about mental health issues since the onset of the pandemic. Not only that, but health services have also transitioned their practices to digital platforms to improve accessibility for patients. As an Employee Experience Manager at SIRO, understanding what platforms can help your employee’s morale and general wellbeing is a key aspect of the job. For employees in Ireland, there are many corporate and individual wellbeing platforms, promising a variety of outcomes, with most offering users free programmes through their apps that cover a wide range of health aspects. Meditation, emotional intelligence and wellbeing advice, yoga, and even financial support to name but a few. Being able to manage your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing in your own time, is one of the main reasons health apps have become so popular, especially as we shift into a hybrid, digital way of living. As well as that, it can make what is usually a daunting task easier to manage, as you dip in and out of these services, at times that work for you. SIRO, like other companies provide apps to augment our support resources. However, you may choose to research, evaluate and use your own preferred option. There are many popular and affordable apps that don’t require intervention from your workplace. Some of these apps include , Calm, and Mood Tracker. These platforms allow you to track their moods to identify potentially harmful patterns, allowing them to gain general perspective, combat anxieties and practice mindfulness through meditation or mindfulness. Personally, I use physical wellbeing apps and YouTube channels to help with my mental and physical health – I find exercise a terrific way to alleviate stress and find time for my thoughts. Fitness apps can empower people to take their health into their own hands, and the same can be applied to mental and spiritual health.   It’s important to emphasise that digital wellbeing and health apps are not just a temporary fix for use during the pandemic, but something that will be become a staple for the future. In acknowledging that digital wellbeing apps are a natural progression for health services, with more services coming online each day, it’s important to ensure that your home or business is prepared for this evolution. SIRO’s fibre to the premises broadband is a ‘one size fits all’ type of connectivity that’s resilient enough to handle any video calls, heavy data uploads without a break in signal, when using cloud-based health platforms. The pandemic has shown us that connectivity matters now, more than ever before. Staying connected with your friends, family and your own self is vital to having a positive, healthy state of mind. If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health issues, please contact: www.samaritans.org or 116 123.
The hospitality industry is a vital element of the Irish economy, with the Irish Hotel Federation noting that it accounts for €8.75 billion in annual spending. Every year tourists, domestic and international, and business guests stay in hotels for either leisure or work-related reasons.   Right now, it’s a sellers’ market for accommodation. With the perfect storm of a shortage of supply of rooms, a strong bounce back in consumer demand and a labour shortage, the sector is struggling to meet this demand, whilst also maintaining a high standard of quality and service.  In an increasingly digitising business environment, what role, if any, can digitisation play in alleviating some of these challenges?  The sector has always strived to ensure the customer is king and that it meets and exceeds their expectations. To do so, the evidence suggests that hotels are becoming more attuned to wider societal trends on digital adaptation whether in business or in the home. Research commissioned by SIRO earlier this year on smart homes found an increasing demand for digital and smart devices in our homes. This trend is replicated in the hospitality sector also, where guests equally expect to access smart tech and devices as part of their overall hotel experience. The expectation of guests is likely to be of an even higher magnitude, than within own homes, when they cross the threshold of a hotel. 

The growing digitisation of the hospitality sector:

When arriving at a hotel, one of the first things many guests will typically ask for is the Wi-Fi password. Having a reliable Wi-Fi connection is something naturally expected by guests. This is just the mere starting point, with digitisation at every customer touch point increasingly sought.   In an Irish context, how are hoteliers preparing for the digitisation of the services they provide at their hotels?  At a recent SIRO event in Galway, General Manager of the Galmont hotel, Stefan Lundstrom, gave attendees insights on the ways in which this popular Galway hotel is already accelerating its use of digital technologies. For the Galmont Hotel, like others, its experience of digitisation splits into two functions – digitisation of hotel processes and digitisation of guest experiences.  In relation to hotel processes, this includes utilising Cloud technology to store critical data, increased automation of processes such as purchasing systems and scheduling. In terms of guest experiences, the role of digital tools across the hotel is even more evident. This has included, introduced during COVID-19, a digital application (App.), like a digital waiter, which allows guests to order food and drinks. The process of digitisation is continuing with the hotel exploring digital check-ins, smart locks and the possibility of a robot cocktail maker all on its to-do list.   For hotels digital adaptation can be a case of improving their productivity, particularly during a labour shortage, but also of meeting customer demands. A study conducted in 2020 by Statista found that 62 percent of participants prefer to check-in and out of the hotel they are staying in via a hotel app, instead of at a hotel reception.   Another digital tool which has grown in popularity in recent years is virtual and augmented reality, respectively. A PWC UK report found, that by 2030, VR and AR could bring a €1.4 trillion boost to the economy worldwide.   VR is already a feature in many leading global hotels, becoming an integrated part of the overall hotel experience. Many hotels are now offering VR tours of their hotels. These tours can be made available on hotel websites, allowing guests or potential guests to look at their hotel room, or other parts of the hotel, before they book or before they arrive. Once guests arrive, hotels can continue to use VR to deliver information and allow customers to experience nearby attractions, adding to their stay.  

Other digital trends taking hold in the hotel sector:

  • In the coming years, AI powered technologies and advancements will allow guests to access any resources they need and can have any questions answered through a virtual chat like a digital employee or i-concierge.  
  • Moreover, hotels will implement apps designed to control various aspects guest’s rooms like switching on/off lights or opening and closing the curtains, making the experience more comfortable and convenient for the visitor.  
  • Virgin hotels, a U.S. based hotel chain with branches located in areas like Chicago, Nashville and Dallas has already implemented a process which allows their guests to digitally control their in-room experience. With a guest App called ‘Lucy,’ guests can alter the temperature of their room, order room service and communicate with other hotel guests or hotel staff in real time all through the one application.  
  • Another futuristic feature likely to become the norm in hotels will be the use of smart mirrors. These smart mirrors allow guests to access tv, news or research places to eat or sites to see, all from simply touching the mirror in their hotel room. 

The importance of connectivity:

Globally and here at home in Ireland, digitisation of the hotel sector is gathering pace. COVID normalised and fast-tracked the uptake of digital tools within the sector and consumers have responded favourably to these changes.  The key foundation to these changes is reliable and future proofed connectivity. In June, SIRO launched its 10 Gigabit broadband for enterprise at Galway’s Galmont Hotel. The location was fitting, within the hotel sector, as the number of smart devices in each guest room grows and guests themselves arrive armed with multiple devices, the demand for larger bandwidths will equally expand.   With many hotels already embracing the digital hotel, it’s likely more will follow and guests themselves will increasingly view the digital hotel as an essential part of the overall experience.  If you are in the hospitality sector and want to find out more about SIRO broadband, search your business eircode today to speak with us. 

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SIRO, the broadband network operator, has today launched its’ 100% fibre broadband network in Ballina. SIRO’s broadband network will see the company bring its’ world class connectivity to more than 3,500 premises in the town, with a €4 million investment in this essential infrastructure. SIRO’s broadband network for Ballina was officially launched by Ballina Cathaoirleach Councillor Mark Duffy, at an event in The Great National Hotel this morning. Today’s launch in Ballina follows on from SIRO’s October 2021 announcement, where SIRO outlined its plans to connect 90 additional towns and 770,000 premises across Ireland with its’ Fibre-To-The-Premise broadband by 2026. The company’s total investment in broadband infrastructure across Irish towns will exceed €1 billion to deliver its’ future-proofed, sustainable broadband infrastructure. SIRO is a joint venture broadband company between ESB and Vodafone. Since its’ establishment in 2015, SIRO, has to date, rolled out its network to 65 towns across Ireland, reaching more than 430,000 homes and businesses and almost one million people. Across Mayo and the West, SIRO has already connected tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Castlebar, Westport, Galway, and Sligo to its network. Ballina will be the latest Mayo town to receive its 100% fibre broadband. Consumers and businesses will be able to order SIRO’s broadband from September, with network roll out expected to be completed by the end of this year. The first areas in Ballina that can avail of up to 2 gigabits per second broadband include: Cluain Na Rí, The Spires, Robin Hill, Church Manor, Healy Terrace, Oakwood Drive and Brae View. SIRO’s state-of-the-art fibre broadband network is built on the ESB electricity infrastructure, trusted for its’ reliability and resilience. Richard Nolan and CBE are the contractors on the ground in Ballina working with SIRO to ‘light up’ the town with high-speed fibre broadband.
Speaking at the launch, SIRO CEO, John Keaney said: “High quality connectivity is a key enabler for economic growth, and particularly for regional towns like Ballina. The pandemic proved that work from anywhere, once there is access to reliable and future proofed broadband, is now possible. Access to high-quality connectivity is a game changer which allows regional towns to compete on an equal footing with our cities for inward investment and job creation. It’s also an important service to have available for tourists and visitors to Ballina. Since 2015, SIRO has worked to bring world-class fibre connectivity to the heart of towns across Ireland. Our objective is to ensure our fibre broadband empowers people to work and live how and where they want and businesses to access the connectivity needed to operate with ease and efficiency. We are pleased to be extending our footprint further today, by adding over 3,500 Ballina premises to our network, in addition to our existing presence in Westport and Castlebar” added Mr. Keaney.
Present at the launch, Ballina Cathaoirleach Councillor Mark Duffy added: “Over the last number of years, Ballina has benefitted hugely as people have migrated West, either moving back home and/or leaving cities for a better quality of life. Investment in fibre broadband, like SIRO’s full fibre network, will keep them in Ballina. SIRO’s network and investment helps Ballina realise its’ full potential allowing people to stay connected and ensuring they can live, work and visit the town”. SIRO’s broadband network is currently available to 430,000 homes and businesses, growing to 770,000 over the next four years. SIRO as an open access wholesaler, partners with 19 broadband retailers across Ireland, to ensure that customers and businesses enjoy greater choice and competition. Retailers available in Ballina will be: Digiweb, Sky, Vodafone, Fastcom, PureTelecom, Westnet, and Viatel. First homes and premises will be live in September. To keep up to date with our rollout plans and to be notified when your home or business in Ballina is SIRO ready, register-your-interest today.

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Enterprise Ireland is the State Agency responsible for supporting exporting Irish-owned companies. We support start-ups from initial ideation stage in many settings, whether entrepreneurship training, third level institutions, start-up hubs or others. We are also an investor in many Irish funds offering seed and venture capital to companies and are a large direct equity investor in our own right. Our offer for established companies includes direct financial support and advice for expansion, investment, productivity improvement and innovation. We also provide advice and guidance for companies through dedicated Development Advisors on our team. Enterprise Ireland has 40 offices all around the world focused on market access and support for companies to grow and expand internationally

“Connectivity is the glue that binds digital technologies together within companies and with external parties.”

Outline the role digital technologies play in your business and/or the digital service or product you provide?

Digital technologies are vital to our business and have become even more so in the past 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The core function of our agency is that of marketing Ireland and innovative Irish products and services. Digital is key to marketing and engagement with communities of clients and especially potential buyers of Irish products and services. At a more basic level we are a client-facing organisation and the ability to continue to engage virtually with clients and with overseas partners and buyers vastly improves our efficiency and reach. There is no substitute for face-to-face in my view but being able to have a flexible option to connect digitally can cut months of delay from an engagement. For ourselves, EI is looking at continually increasing our programme of digitalisation to improve and future-proof our operations and our products.

“To use digital technology successfully, the underlying process you are applying it to must be understood and in control”

What are the key benefits that digital technologies can bring to Irish businesses?

Marketing and Sales is a key area – a small business can make itself look very big in a virtual environment. With high quality CRM and videoconferencing products any company can build a global sales organisation from just one location. If you combine this with language capability a company can conquer the world from any village in Ireland. Productivity is a great opportunity also – Enterprise Ireland has supported companies with lean programmes and operational excellence for many years – the next frontier of this engagement is digital. I have seen robotics in many client sites, for instance, and the game-changing impact to companies output, quality and cost. Employee engagement and retention is typically improved by working in a location with a digital mindset – people like when their work adds value and builds their skills.  

As connectivity improves across Ireland, what do you see as the big opportunities for Irish businesses from accelerated digital adaptation?

Connectivity is the glue that binds digital technologies together within companies and with external parties. The huge benefit of increasing that connectivity is making those technologies accessible and available to more and more companies. A company that doesn’t have connectivity available is, by definition, falling behind digitally – and with the way the world is going falling behind digitally means falling behind full stop.

For businesses to maximise benefits from digital technologies, what key advice would you give?

My key advice would be to understand what problem you are solving with digital and ensure you know how you will measure the business benefit of solving that problem. To use digital technology successfully, the underlying process you are applying it to must be understood and in control. And the great thing about digital technologies is that they scale well so you should be able to start small and trial the technology, seeing for yourself the impact and then decide how to develop, pivot or roll out further. Looking to take your business to the next level with a reliable broadband connection? Search Your Business Eircode today.

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