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Institutes of Technology should be lightning rods for entrepreneurs

Ireland’s Institutes of Technology need to be seen as the cornerstone of regional economic recovery through entrepreneurship. Image: Morrison/Shutterstock

Ireland’s Institutes of Technology need to be seen as the cornerstone of regional economic recovery through entrepreneurship. Image: Morrison/Shutterstock

Undermined by financial problems, Ireland’s Institutes of Technology have a powerful role yet to play in the country’s entrepreneurial journey, writes John Kennedy.

At the end of the working week, I had time for one more phone call. I spoke to David Whelan from a company called Immersive VR Education. I had met him a year earlier at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) R&D campus, known as the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), which is nestled in a river valley on Ireland’s south-east coast.

On that earlier occasion, Whelan told me to wear a VR headset and suddenly I was in a different world, one where I was Neil Armstrong and I was boarding Apollo 11 on its historic mission to the moon.

‘The ITs should be assembly points where knowledge can be gleaned, talent accessed, deals done and problems solved’

Last Friday, Whelan informed me that the Apollo 11 game has been bought by 10pc of all Oculus and HTC Vive VR headset owners worldwide, and he is anticipating a similar outcome with the new PlayStation VR headset. New Immersive VR Education titles are in the works; the company is attracting talent from Silicon Valley and it could one day be a global brand name in the gaming world.

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Deliver fast and scale: meeting the demands of a tech savvy society

TSSG hosts successful Internet of Things (IoT) event at Conrad Hotel, Dublin, Wednesday November 2nd where they outlined demands of a tech savvy society.

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Pic. Dr. Steven Davy, TSSG

Current trends show that hitting the market with a new concept fast will be critical, and with the emergence of IoT, the potential possibility and opportunities to gain overnight success are huge.

Hurdles that typically delay early MVPs from “hitting the shelf” can include poorly set up development environments, inflexible software architectures, ineffective development, staging and production pipelines and lack of large scale testing.

Below are TSSG’s tips to ensure your next MVP and scaling product will be a success.

Virtual Development Environments:

When you have a fast growing team of developers, you need to make sure they are all developing code on a level playing field. Using technologies such as vagrant and docker can allow your developers to get coding faster, with less time wasted configuring development environments

Message Oriented Architectures:

If you expect you software architecture to change from MVP to full scale product, considering using a message oriented architecture, with a message bus such as RabbitMQ or commit log such as Kafka. In future releases you will not need to throw out as much early code.

Micro Service Architectures:

A micro service allows you to make more effective use of cloud computing resources, where you just need to scale the most popular services, rather than spinning up many virtual machines with redundant services. Micro services also force you to think about using the best technology for each service, so not everything uses the same stack. This can benefit the fault tolerance of your system. Have another look at docker

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Why computer sciences need to embrace VR & AR

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TSSG CEO Barry Downes. Image:Conor McCabe

Ireland’s academic landscape need to embrace augmented and virtual reality to meet the future needs of entrepreneurs and industry, according to Barry Downes of TSSG.

Out of all the academic campuses in Ireland, the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has developed an uncanny ability for spotting new trends, spinning out start-ups and achieving undreamed exits.

It seems to have developed a methodology that takes the latest – or future – trends and pulls together students, researchers and entrepreneurs to rise to the next challenge, whether it is in telecoms, gaming or internet of things.

‘Investment in basic science and education in the areas of AR, VR and AI will be crucial’
– BARRY DOWNES

Masterminding this frenetic activity is Barry Downes, CEO of TSSG.

To get a sense of the pace, Downes is also the founder of FeedHenry, the software company bought by Red Hat for E63.5m.

There are others in the pipeline that could also take the same path.

The shape of what is to come next

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Designing Enabling Economies and Policies (DEEP 2016) conference in Toronto

cropped-DEEP_Discovery_2016_logo2Waterford Institute of Technology – TSSG took part in the annual Designing Enabling Economies and Policies (DEEP 2016) conference in Toronto, Canada during 13-14th October, 2016.

The main theme for DEEP 2016 was on Creating Global Ecosystems for Economic Inclusion and International cooperation between EU-US-Canada, with a sub-theme addressing “Our Data: Who owns it, who controls it, what can we do with it?

DEEP 2016 was co-organised with the EU’s H2020 international cooperation project, DISCOVERY, which has WIT as a core partner.

Mr. James Clarke of the TSSG group at WIT participated to the event and took part in two panel sessions on international collaboration and security and privacy aspects related to digital inclusion.

According to Clarke, “the event was organised in a team work fashion with a nice mix of panel sessions based on animated discussions only, without the usual boring PowerPoint presentations, and breakout sessions on various important topics in a think-tank fashion focussing on “how” we could pool our talents to design strategies, plans, collaborative projects, cross-sector initiatives and new disruptive ways to foster more inclusive prosperity, privacy, and life-long learning”.

The DEEP 2016 / DISCOVERY event was held at OCAD University in Toronto, which is known as the largest and most comprehensive art, design and media university in Canada.

TSSG Present at Agile Tour, Dublin

agiletour_logoFor several years, the Agile Tour has been a way for enthusiasts of Agile to spread the word about Agile practices and to share their experiences, both good and bad, within their local community. Agile Tours came to Dublin on October the 6th 2016, where the event was held at The Chartered Accountants House, Pearse St.

Brendan O’Farrell and Patrice Boleguin from TSSG’s Verification & Validation Unit, presented a talk titled ” Working through the challenges with the adoption and the use of agile in a research and innovation center”.

As TSSG’s research activity is funded throughout a variation of projects. It’s this diversity of projects which has brought challenges in the adoption of agile. The presentation looked at these challenges, and the approach that was taken to overcome them.

Other presentations on the day covered many aspects of agile, including Scrum and Kanban. Presentations included:

● Jonathan Coyle of Murex, a financial software company. He spoke of the difficulties of implementing agile without the development team’s input, the issues it raised and how they intend to rectify them going forward.

○ “The agile Journey – Enhancing delivery with with agile practices.”

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