Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), the Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland-backed technology centre in Mullingar – tasked with helping to make Ireland a world leader in advanced manufacturing operations – has today been announced as the latest participant of Vodafone and SIRO’s national Gigabit Hub Initiative, which offers a 1 Gigabit broadband connection to qualifying business hubs free of charge for two years.
The Gigabit connectivity will enable IMR to collaborate with Irish and multinational companies at home and abroad to develop, and commercialise new technologies in diverse areas such as collaborative robotics and augmented reality to ensure the continued competitiveness of Ireland’s manufacturing industry.
A number of Danish organisations visited IMR this week to see its research facilities and experience the 1 Gigabit broadband network first hand, which puts the centre on a par for broadband connectivity with international hubs like Hong Kong and Tokyo. LEGO was part of the visiting group and is already collaborating with Sam Del-Greco, VR, AR and Machine Vision Lead at IMR, on potential applications for augmented and virtual reality. The Gigabit Hub initiative will enable IMR to engage in data intensive online collaboration with companies like LEGO that would not otherwise be possible.
Vodafone and SIRO’s Gigabit Hub Initiative was designed to spark a digital transformation in towns across Ireland and encourage job and economic growth in regional towns. As the eighth hub to receive the award, IMR joins the Ludgate Hub (Skibbereen), Tralee HQ (Tralee), Dundalk RDC (Dundalk IT) and The Mill (Drogheda), Enterprise House (Carlow), Centre for Social Gain (Cavan) and Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre (Cavan), which have all been connected to SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic network.
Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Lynch, Chief Innovation & Network Officer at Irish Manufacturing Research, said, “With manufacturing representing approximately 30% of Irish GDP, it is vital that Ireland leads the way in advanced manufacturing operations. Gigabit connectivity is a gamechanger in this respect for IMR as our researchers need the ability to collaborate on cutting edge technologies with organisations all over the world. Thanks to our 1 Gigabit connection from Vodafone and SIRO, being based in Mullingar does not make a difference to our partners as our broadband is on a par to that available in Hong Kong and Tokyo.”
Suzanne Tracy, SIRO’s CTO, added, “With manufacturing firms investing over €3.4 billion in the economy, it is vital that we continue to attract investment and give Irish companies a platform to innovate. IMR is now ideally placed to collaborate with organisations anywhere in the world thanks to our Gigabit connectivity, which is Ireland’s most powerful broadband. With 82% of manufacturing employment in Ireland based in the regions, this highlights how Fibre-to-the Home broadband technology is vital to enabling Irish businesses to compete.”
Debbie Ward, Regional Sales Manager at Vodafone Ireland, also said: “With fast speed networks and widespread connectivity comes incredible ideas, innovations and technologies that help make our lives easier, healthier, smarter and more fulfilling. The research that takes place at IMR is a perfect example of this and Gigabit connectivity underpins the unique blend of collaboration between industry, academia and the wider research community taking place at the centre. By becoming part of our Gigabit Hub initiative, IMR is now ideally placed to help Ireland be a leading light in the world of advanced manufacturing operations.”
Using the existing ESB network, SIRO is delivered through fibre optic cables which run alongside existing electricity connections, all the way to the building. This technology, known as Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH), has no copper connections at any point to slow down the network and delivers 1 Gigabit download and upload speeds. For context, when downloading a high definition film (4 Gigabytes) with a 10 Mbps connection, the download time is an hour – with SIRO it takes approximately 30 seconds. Services powered by SIRO are already live in 30 towns across the country, with ten retail partners offering connections to over 190,000 homes and businesses.