Eventbrite Co-Founder and Co. Cork Schoolgirl Outline Priorities for Ireland’s Digital Future
– 16-year-old Ciara Judge and Eventbrite’s Renaud Visage deliver keynote addresses at Silicon Republic’s Digital Ireland Forum –
Policymakers, businesses and public service-providers must respond promptly to emerging digital trends. That was the overwhelming message emerging from the sixth annual Digital Ireland Forum, which took place today (12.09.14) in The Convention Centre, Dublin.
The Forum – organised by Silicon Republic, Ireland’s leading technology news site – heard keynote addresses from Renaud Visage, co-founder and CTO of Eventbrite, one of the most successful companies to emerge from Silicon Valley in recent years; and 16-year-old Co. Cork schoolgirl Ciara Judge, who is a member of the recently-formed Digital Youth Council and a former winner of the BT Young Scientist competition.
In his address, Mr. Visage focused on four key digital trends impacting on consumer behaviour and warned that businesses that don’t adapt to these trends will lose out. The trends he focused on were:
- The influence of “the millennials” – those aged 18 to 34 – who, despite having grown up surrounded by connected technology, value interesting live experiences higher than any other generation before it, and for whom experiences are more important than, for example, cars or houses.
- The growth in mobile devices, whereby smartphones and tablets are now outselling traditional desktop and laptop computers.
- The blending of offline and online experiences: according to Mr. Visage, offline events now serve as “a new sort of social currency online”. One in three attendees post on a social media platform while attending an event, he said, while one in four post something online after the event or experience. This has implications for business, as shares on social media become more and more valuable.
- The way in which open platforms allow businesses to become more successful. By allowing external developers to come up with services that complement their own, online businesses will win more customers and achieve greater customer satisfaction, Mr. Visage said.
“These four trends will have a significant impact on every business in Ireland, not just tech companies,” said Mr. Visage. “An accountancy firm, clothes shop or café needs to be just as aware of these trends and respond to them as a tech start-up.”
In her keynote address, Ciara Judge described the feedback she gets from young people throughout Ireland on how they want more of a digital focus in schools.
“Through my work with the Digital Youth Council and other projects, I’m constantly discussing with young people – everyone from eight-year-olds upwards – how they would like to see digital used in the education system,” she said. “What I constantly hear is that people would feel more positively about doing tests if they were allowed to do them on tablet devices. They would like to see programmes like Spotify, Instagram and Snapchat used in teaching; they want to see teachers using PowerPoint and online games more; and they have a high awareness of issues like cyber-bullying and the restrictions that would need to be put in place in fully digitised schools.”
Digital Champion and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
As well as Mr. Visage and Ms. Judge, today’s Digital Ireland Forum was also addressed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD, and Lord David Puttnam, Ireland’s Digital Champion.
Commenting at the event, Ann O’Dea, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Republic, said: “This is the sixth Digital Ireland Forum hosted by Silicon Republic. The event is designed to annually bring the industry together to take stock of where we have got to as regards creating a 21st century digital infrastructure and environment – for consumers, for businesses, for entrepreneurs and for our young people coming through. Tackling any remaining digital divide is also always a priority at the Forum.
“So we are delighted to have the new Minister; our National Digital Champion, Lord David Puttnam; and Irish and international tech leaders participating in today’s event. This has allowed us to get an excellent overview of progress to date and the vision for the future. Lord Puttnam and Minister White met yesterday for the first time to discuss the National Digital Strategy, so the timing is perfect.
“It’s particularly useful that we had ESB, Vodafone and eircom all represented by their leaders at the Forum too. The recently announced joint venture between ESB and Vodafone – as well as the €1.5bn investment being made by eircom – are key parts of the digital infrastructure jigsaw.”
Panel discussions took place at the Digital Ireland Forum on the topics of ‘21st Century Digital Infrastructure and Environment’ and ‘Meeting the Demands of the New Consumer’, with panellists from ESB Innovation, BT Ireland, eircom, Vodafone, UPC and The Digital Hub. Silicon Republic will publish the outcomes of the event over the coming days.
Contact: Martina Quinn / Emily Brennan, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-6522033 / 086-1658629
Notes for Editors:
About Silicon Republic
- Silicon Republic is Ireland’s no. 1 resource for technology and innovation news. Since 2002, its award-winning team of journalists has chronicled the growing technology landscape in Ireland; and the site is now read by over 250,000 people each month, over 50% of whom are overseas. In addition to being Ireland’s leading technology website, Silicon Republic also runs regular events, focusing on topical issues in the tech sector.