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Irish IoT platform start-up Wia gets €750,000 in seed funding

Wia chief executive Conall Laverty, Mike Brennan of Enterprise Ireland and Suir Valley Ventures managing partner Barry Downes.

Wia chief executive Conall Laverty, Mike Brennan of Enterprise Ireland and Suir Valley Ventures managing partner Barry Downes.

‘Stripe for Internet of Things’ to double headcount and expand into enterprise space

Wia, a Dublin-based start-up that aims to be the “Stripe for the Internet of Things” (IoT), has raised €750,000 in seed funding as it looks to expand globally.

The company has come up with a cloud platform that enables developers to turn sensor-based hardware into IoT devices.

The funding round was led by Waterford-based venture capital (VC) firm Suir Valley Ventures, with participation from Enterprise Ireland.

Established in 2015, Wia’s platform is used by developers in more than 85 countries to turn sensing devices into smart applications.

The company, a former participant in the National Digital Research Centre’s LaunchPad programme, has partnerships in place with a number of leading technology companies including Sigfox, PubNub and Twilio.

Founder and chief executive Conall Laverty (28), who comes from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, has previously designed software solutions with Big Motive, Channel 4, BBC, Net-a-Porter, Cambridge Silicon Radio and Deezer.

Mr Laverty said Wia, which won the Best Start-up award at the Irish Internet Association (IIA) awards last year, will use the seed investment will be used to fund its expansion and for further investment in R&D.

“We intend to use the funding to grow the team out in Dublin and make a big move into the enterprise space,” Mr Laverty said.

The company currently employs six people with plans to double headcount over the coming months.

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This article was published by The Irish Times on August 3rd.

Waterford group leading €1.8m Ireland-Wales fisheries project

Included in the photo are Senator Paudie Coffey, Tim James - Energy Director MHPA, Marie Harnett - Senior First Level Controller, Southern Regional Assembly, Tomas Cooper - Energy Engineer, BIM, Sean Lyons - Project Manager, WIT, Dr Monjur Mourshed - Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Engineering Cardiff University.

Included in the photo are Senator Paudie Coffey, Tim James – Energy Director MHPA, Marie Harnett – Senior First Level Controller, Southern Regional Assembly, Tomas Cooper – Energy Engineer, BIM, Sean Lyons – Project Manager, WIT, Dr Monjur Mourshed – Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Engineering Cardiff University.

Waterford IT-based TSSG will orchestrate a new international programme to improve Irish and Welsh fisheries, with €1.8m of EU money.

In a rarity for things like this, Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT), Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) will lead an actually cleverly named research study.

Pisces (Smart Cluster Energy System for the Fish Processing Industry) will see TSSG orchestrate a €1.8m investigation into opportunities and risks posed by climate change on both sides of the Irish Sea.

The funding will be used to develop and test a new “smart grid” electricity network to help reduce energy costs for the fisheries industries of each country.

The fish processing industry is generally centred around coastal fishing ports, which is fine in theory but these can often be isolated, cut off from complementary services and communication lines.

The programme suggests that this “imposes inherent competitive disadvantages in the market” compared with the likes of farming, or other food production industries.

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€1.8m for WIT’s TSSG to develop smart grid for fisheries industry in Ireland and Wales

Included in the photo are Senator Paudie Coffey, Tim James - Energy Director MHPA, Marie Harnett - Senior First Level Controller, Southern Regional Assembly, Tomas Cooper - Energy Engineer, BIM, Sean Lyons - Project Manager, WIT, Dr Monjur Mourshed - Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Engineering Cardiff University.

Included in the photo are Senator Paudie Coffey, Tim James – Energy Director MHPA, Marie Harnett – Senior First Level Controller, Southern Regional Assembly, Tomas Cooper – Energy Engineer, BIM, Sean Lyons – Project Manager, WIT, Dr Monjur Mourshed – Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Engineering Cardiff University.

TSSG will be the lead investigator in a €1.8m EU funded project “piSCES” to examine risks posed by climate change on both sides of the Irish Sea

Waterford Institute of Technology’s, Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) is the lead investigator in a €1.8m EU-funded project, piSCES, which will support the scientific investigation of the opportunities and risks posed by climate change on both sides of the Irish Sea. Included is the deployment of technology to reduce energy costs and help businesses develop new products and processes will be investigated within the project.

The funding will be used to develop and test a new “smart grid” electricity network to help reduce energy costs for the fisheries industry in Ireland and Wales. TSSG are lead investigators on the piSCES project which will have a significant impact on the overall fisheries industry in Ireland.

The piSCES project was launched in Dublin recently and followed the operations first Steering Group meeting held at the same location. Senator Paudie Coffey formally launched the piSCES Project, which involves innovative collaboration in the smart energy sector between WIT, Cardiff University, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Port of Milford Haven. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.

Sean Lyons, Tech Lead at TSSG, opened the launch proceedings by saying, “I would like to acknowledge the support of the Interreg programme which has a strong track record in supporting regional development initiatives in the past and is now supporting new technologies and knowledge transfer to help meet our climate change obligations”.

As a former Minister of State in the Department of Environment, Senator Coffey helped steer the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act through the Oireachtas in 2015.

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FOUR WIT/TSSG RESEARCHERS LISTED IN “IRELAND’S CHAMPIONS OF EU RESEARCH”

Horizon2020-ChampsOfEUReflecting upon Ireland’s recent success in Horizon 2020, Minister John Halligan recognised the efforts of 4 WIT/TSSG researchers at the EU Research Forum

Researchers in Ireland were acknowledged for their achievements in the Horizon 2020 programme, equivalent to €2.7m per week in competitively won funding, at the EU Research Forum in Dublin. A success rate that testifies to the world-class research ongoing in Ireland and the robust research infrastructure developed over recent years.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister John Halligan was very positive regarding the future of Irish research and innovation. The Minister stated, “The breadth of projects nominated for awards today inspires confidence in the continued excellence and dedication to research and innovation in Irish society.”

“I was particularly impressed to note the variety of Universities, Higher Education Institutes, agencies and companies that are competing at the highest levels of European research”, he added, noting the range of participants in the funding programme.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added, “Today’s event celebrates the achievements of collaboration between academic research and industry. Horizon 2020 is an important source of funding for research and innovation and provides a mechanism for researchers and Irish enterprise to network and collaborate with the best researchers and leading companies across Europe.”

Special awards were made to researchers for specific projects they helped to realise and all researchers responsible for coordinating funding awards were recognised in an official brochure from Enterprise Ireland, including 4 researchers from WIT/TSSG who coordinated Horizon 2020 projects (Kieran Sullivan, Dr Steven Davy, Dr Alan Davy, and Robert Mullins).

Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for research and innovation. It runs over the period 2014-2020 and has a total budget of €75 billion. Ireland’s national target of securing €1.25 billion in EU funding is equivalent to 1.67% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget. To date, Ireland has secured funding of €424 million, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.

Enterprise Ireland leads the national support network for Horizon 2020, working to increase participation by Irish companies and academic institutions in the EU’s main instrument for funding research in Europe. Led by Enterprise Ireland, the national support network for Horizon 2020 has 9 member organisations; the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council, the Irish Universities Association, the Marine Institute, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

For more information visit www.horizon2020.ie

Waterford Institute of Technology leading policy and technical dialogues between European Union and United States in Cybersecurity and Privacy

Left to right: Camille Sailer, European American Chamber of Commerce - New Jersey, Prof. Rebecca Wright, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Yolanda Ursa, INMARK EUROPA SA, James Clarke, Waterford Institute of Technology. Missing from photo: Dan Caprio, The Providence Group – Washington D.C., Jonathan Litchman, The Providence Group – Washington D.C., Fabio Martinelli, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, and Claudio Caimi, Hewlett Packard Italiana Srl.

Left to right: Camille Sailer, European American Chamber of Commerce – New Jersey, Prof. Rebecca Wright, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Yolanda Ursa, INMARK EUROPA SA, James Clarke, Waterford Institute of Technology. Missing from photo: Dan Caprio, The Providence Group – Washington D.C., Jonathan Litchman, The Providence Group – Washington D.C., Fabio Martinelli, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, and Claudio Caimi, Hewlett Packard Italiana Srl.

The TSSG group of the Waterford Institute of Technology has been successful with the awarding of an International EU – US project in the ICT 2016-2017 call of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme.

The AEGIS project answers the H2020 dedicated call in relation to strengthening of dialogues between Europe and the United States, in order to facilitate exchange of views, policies and best practices to stimulate cooperation around cybersecurity and privacy Research & Innovation (R&I), and contribute in shaping the future global cybersecurity and privacy landscape.

At its core, the project is setting up an EU-US Cybersecurity Reflection Group composed of two dedicated working groups: 1. Cybersecurity Research and Innovation; and 2. Cybersecurity Policy topics, which will collectively give attention to international technical trends, and policy and legislation challenges in cybersecurity and privacy. The reflection group (expected to be minimum around 15 persons per Working Group) will facilitate the effective collaboration of a wide range of interested parties including policy makers, researchers, technology experts, business leaders, cyber policies experts and influencers and civil society.

The AEGIS project builds upon earlier work carried out at the TSSG in relation to the building of international cooperation with the United States and other countries, including the FP7 INCO-Trust project (2008 – 2010), FP7 BIC – Building International Cooperation for Trustworthy ICT (2011 – 2013), which created an EU based cooperation platform for researchers in the areas related to Trustworthy ICT in EU and Brazil, India, South Africa, USA, and many other countries, and the currently running H2020 DISCOVERY project (2016-2017), which is looking at the broader aspects of EU-US cooperation in all areas related to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). AEGIS will complement these projects very well with a specific focus on the enhancement of transatlantic dialogues in relation to the technical and policy aspects in areas related to the important topics of cybersecurity and privacy.

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