LATEST NEWS

Conversation on AI commerce should be music to tech giants’ ears

Talk is cheap, but security is king in the AI future of conversational commerce.

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Eric Robson, research unit manager of data mining and social computing at TSSG. Image: Luke Maxwell

Researchers at TSSG in Waterford are on the case to make artificially intelligent (AI) voice-based commerce tangible and safe.

The speed of the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon Echo’s Alexa makes it easy to forget that the AI future we all dreamed of is actually here.

Yesterday, Gartner fellow and vice-president Tom Austin pointed this paradox out when he said that most of the AI on our smartphones – many of which have been with us for years – are taken for granted.

‘We are seeing cool apps coming out but we have to make sure that we underpin the technology by addressing core security and privacy concerns as well’
– ERIC ROBSON

And yet, the hottest areas of tech today – AI and machine learning – hold the key to a whole generation of services that will transform our lives forever.

For some, this is already happening. The combination of APIs, the cloud and AI will enable users to simply talk to their phone or Amazon Echo devices and, in a conversational way, ask what their bank balance is like, if they are spending wisely this month, or to order some milk and bread from the nearest Tesco. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for your goods to arrive by drone minutes later. That is the near future.

At present, researchers at TSSG in Waterford are working hard to iron out the kinks from a security and privacy perspective, to enable the compelling AI and voice-based experiences of tomorrow.

TSSG has a track record of building start-ups around evolving technology opportunities. Two years ago, Red Hat acquired TSSG spin-out FeedHenry for €63.5m and recently announced 60 new jobs.

Just this week, TSSG virtual reality (VR) spin-out Immersive VR Education raised €1m to continue to develop breakthrough VR games, including the recreation of historic episodes such as Apollo 11 moon landing and the sinking of the Titanic.

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PhD by Research Position

PhD by Research Position
Telecommunications Software & Systems Group
Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

Applications are invited for PhD by Research positions with the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) (http://www.tssg.org) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Waterford, Ireland. The candidate will work as a member of the TSSG and in particular the Emerging Networks Laboratory.  

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TSSG spin-out Immersive VR Education raises €1m investment

Husband and wife team’s VR start-up aims for the stars.

IVRE Moon Scene

From left: Orla Rimmington, partner, Kernel Capital; Niall McEvoy, senior development adviser, HPSU department at Enterprise Ireland; David Whelan, CEO, Immersive VR Education; Pamela Pim, head of Bank of Ireland Waterford; and Barry Downes, managing partner, Suir Valley Ventures, on the set of the Apollo 11 Experience. Image: Immersive VR Education

Waterford virtual reality (VR) start-up Immersive VR Education, which has recreated historic experiences from Apollo 11 to the Titanic, has raised €1m.

The investment in Immersive VR Education – a previous Siliconrepublic.com Start-up of the Week – comes from Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds and Barry Downes’s new Suir Valley Ventures.

‘Virtual reality is such an exciting, new and emerging industry with many new opportunities’
– DAVID WHELAN

As part of the investment, Downes, former head of Telecoms Software and Systems Group (TSSG) and executive producer on Immersive VR Education’s Apollo 11 VR experience, will join the company as a director.

Moon shot idea gets virtually real

A spin-out from Waterford Institute of Technology’s research-based TSSG, Immersive VR Education’s platform provides VR content that can be used in schools, colleges, universities, research centres and corporate training to teach any subject in a virtual environment. Students can fully immerse themselves in the experience, making hard-to-visualise concepts easy to understand.

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Explore the wreckage of Titanic using a submarine. Image: Immersive VR Education

“This investment from Kernel Capital and Suir Valley Ventures will allow us as a company to continue to grow, continue to hire and expand beyond our current capabilities,” said David Whelan, co-founder and CEO of Immersive VR Education.

“Virtual reality is such an exciting, new and emerging industry with many new opportunities.  It’s great to work with such an established institution such as Kernel Capital, with their proven track record of bringing early-stage companies to fruition. We are very lucky to have them on board as partners on this journey to a new, digital, virtual world.”

Last month, the company took home two HTC Viveport Developer Awards, adding to its five other international awards. Immersive VR Education was also recognised for its Engage Platform and Apollo 11 VR, which uses archive footage and audio from NASA to relive the historical moon landing of 1969.

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€1M INVESTMENT IN WATERFORD VR COMPANY IMMERSIVE VR EDUCATION

IVRE Moon Scene

From Left: Orla Rimmington, Partner, Kernel Capital; Niall McEvoy, Senior Development Advisor, HPSU Dept. Enterprise Ireland; David Whelan, CEO, Immersive VR Education; Pamela Pim, Head of Bank of Ireland Waterford and Barry Downes, Managing Partner, Suir Valley Ventures on set of IVRE’s VR Experience.

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital funds & Suir Valley Ventures lead €1m investment in Waterford VR Company Immersive VR Education Ltd

Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds and Suir Valley Ventures have led a €1M investment in Immersive VR Education Ltd. (IVRE), a developer of VR (virtual reality) software and immersive experiences with a specific focus on Education.  Enterprise Ireland also participated in the round.

A spin-out from WIT’s research-based Telecoms Software and Systems Group (TSSG), IVRE’s platform provides virtual reality content that can be used in schools, colleges, universities, research centres and corporate training to teach any subject in a virtual environment allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the experience, making hard to visualise concepts easy to understand.

Last month, the Company took home two HTC Viveport Developer Awards adding to their 5 other international awards.  IVRE won awards for their Engage Platform and Apollo 11 VR, which uses archive footage and audio from NASA to relive the historical moon landing of 1969.  Apollo 11 launched in April 2016, with initial sales of 50,000+ copies on the Oculus and Steam stores.

The founding husband and wife team David and Sandra Whelan have succeeded in attracting high calibre VR talent from around the world and currently employ 20 at their offices in Waterford.  This investment will enable IVRE to accelerate its growth plans. The Company is currently collaborating with Oxford University and the Royal College of Surgeons to develop VR-based training programmes for medical professionals.

“This investment from Kernel Capital and Suir Valley Ventures will allow us as a company to continue to grow, continue to hire and expand beyond our current capabilities. Virtual reality is such an exciting, new and emerging industry with many new opportunities.  It’s great to work with such an established institution such as Kernel Capital with their proven track record of bringing early stage companies to fruition. We are very lucky to have them on board as partners on this journey to a new digital virtual world.”

David Whelan, CEO, Immersive VR Education Ltd

 “Virtual Reality is playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of education and Immersive VR Education is at the forefront of this change.  IVRE has gained excellent market traction with their first VR experience Apollo 11, and this investment will help them to achieve scale and bring innovative new products to market.”

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Invitation – What it takes to digitize your business

Bannerr workshopOn Wednesday March 29 TSSG is hosting a free 2-hour morning workshop in Kilkenny on “What it takes to Digitize your business”

We have seen over the past number of years, a consistent trend where businesses in the traditional services sectors such as insurance, financial, construction are transforming their industry works. We are seeing technology driven business models that operate on a global forum, disrupt how local services companies operate. The aim of this workshop is to help you bring your existing business to a new level by using technology to be more efficient and reach new customers.  It will include several successful case studies of businesses like yours including eDrive, Waterford who reinvented a traditional business by utilising information they already had to digitize their business.

This workshop will be of interest to companies in areas such as professional services, construction, financial services, hospitality, logistics, technology, customer service but not limited too.

This is a free event, however advance registration is required by booking HERE

The event is in conjunction with eDIGIREGION, Kilkenny Leo, ArcLabs

 

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