Thursday, 8 November 2018

Esri Ireland makes €500 million worth of digital mapping software available to every Irish classroom


Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), today announces the launch of ArcGIS for Schools, making €500 million worth of digital mapping software available to every primary and secondary school in the country. More than 900,000 students in almost 4,000 schools* will have free access to Esri’s digital mapping platform, ‘ArcGIS Online’.

The platform allows students to collect, analyse and visualise data on a wide range of topics. As well as teaching the skills and techniques required for working with GIS, the application enables new ways to study climate change, design cities and towns, explore demographics, understand history, predict future scenarios, and perform many other cross-disciplinary activities.

The cloud-based application is accessible through any device connected to the internet including school computers, tablets and students’ smartphones, allowing pupils to collect their own data in the field. Interactive project-based experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) supports STEM learning for students, and ties in well with the recent announcement of computer science as a Leaving Certificate subject.

The initiative has been rolled out by Esri in other countries across the world, including the UK, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand. Students are applying the technology in a wide variety of ways and creating impactful GIS projects. For example, an Australian school recently mapped and developed solutions to alleviate local school traffic congestion, and students in Virginia have been using the technology to analyse police and fire coverage in four major US cities.

ArcGIS for Schools is already in use by 12 pilot schools located across Ireland, including a primary school and gaelscoil, and at a junior cycle, senior cycle and transition year level. Esri Ireland will provide a fully supported ecosystem consisting of hosted and managed infrastructure and continually updated local and global mapping data and content. Lesson plans aligned to primary and post-primary teaching and a GeoMentor programme, designed to connect mapping experts with local teachers, will also be provided.

The programme fits well with the Department of Education and Skills’ ambition to bring the Irish education system further along the path to being the best in Europe at embedding digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment by 2026, as laid down in the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan.

Andrew Horan, geography teacher at one of the pilot schools, St. Kevin’s College, Finglas, Dublin, said: “The functionality and applicability of the ArcGIS application to so many different subjects means it has huge potential as a teaching tool. The support and resources provided by Esri Ireland have made it easy to implement, but most importantly, my students are really engaged with the technology. It’s simple to use and allows them to study topics in new ways, enhancing both teaching and learning in my classes.”

Joanne McLaughlin, ArcGIS for Schools Sponsor, Esri Ireland, commented: “The Esri Ireland team is delighted to launch the ArcGIS for Schools programme here in Ireland. Through our work with the pilot schools we’re really encouraged by the reaction of both teachers and their students. Key to the successful adoption of the programme is the provision of support for teachers through workshops, lesson plans aligned to the curriculum, and a huge variety of online training resources. We believe this initiative can help address the evident STEM skills shortage in this country, by developing key spatial analysis, and critical thinking skills at a grassroots level.

“The programme is a perfect complement to the Government’s digital strategy to further embed technology and digital learning tools in our primary and post-primary schools. Through their exposure to GIS, students will be better prepared to understand our planet and become better problem solvers and evidenced based decision makers. It is crucial we do everything we can now to enable future generations to imagine and realise a better future for all.”

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Out-of-hours demand spurs the online doctor provider to deliver a round-the-clock solution

videoDoc, the Irish leading digital healthcare provider, will offer their online doctor service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the first service of it’s kind in Ireland.
videoDoc consultation figures have grown month on month culminating in more than 2000% growth since January 2017.  Partnerships with Vhi Healthcare, the USI, Beaumont hospital and the Irish Postmasters Union among other initiatives have driven this trajectory.

Mary O’Brien, co-founder of videoDoc, ”We have seen an increasing number of out-of-hour logins and in reaction to this demand we are now offering the videoDoc online doctor service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Industry experts and our own belief is while online doctors will never replace a patient’s own GP they are growing exponentially.”

videoDoc annual subscription customers will be given access to the 24/7 service from the 1st of November while the pay-as-you-go customer can avail of the doctor on demand from January 1st 2019.

videoDoc, due to the extra demand, aims to double the workforce in the next 6-12 months from 26 to 55.

videoDoc recently announced the launch of an online therapy service on their platform. This new addition to the videoDoc service aims to provide patients with a solution focused approach to issues affecting mental health.  The programme has been developed as a response to the significant numbers of patients accessing the videoDoc service seeking help with mental health related concerns.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

IBM buys Red Hat

Yesterday, IBM made the biggest software acquisition in history through buying open source platform company Red Hat for $34 billion. Some industry commentators see IBM’s move was forced by the continued dominance from AWS, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba and Google Cloud.  
Does the Red Hat purchase suggest that IBM sees the significant impact of open source as the basis for digital transformation? IBM data estimates some 80 percent of business workloads “have yet to move to the cloud, held back by the proprietary nature of today’s cloud market.” Indeed, buying Red Hat will help IBM better tap into an opportunity to address that. 
Suman Nambiar, Head of the AI practice at Mindtree, a digital transformation consultancy which helps businesses like Lufthansa, Procter & Gamble and Avis Budget Group customers live and breathe digital, said: 
“IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat is the largest acquisition of a software company in history and shows how even the biggest beasts in tech are having to adapt to the Cloud computing world and react to where customers clearly want to go.
The price IBM is paying, almost a 60% premium to Red Hat’s most recent stock price and 51x estimated adjusted earnings for next year, reflect the urgency they feel to catch up to AWS, Microsoft Azure and others who have reshaped the Computing landscape with Cloud platforms and solutions. It will also be interesting to see how IBM benefits from the huge presence Red Hat has in the Open Source ecosystem, though of course they started to bet on Open Source back in 1999, well before many of their peers did.
As the competition hots up, it creates a win-win scenario for end-user organisations, such as the major banks, high-street retailers and digital manufacturers who want to satisfy customer needs by becoming more ‘Digital’. From our experience helping businesses transform themselves digitally, there is a big opportunity out there for cloud services providers to provide customers with a new way to manage their IT infrastructure – it will be seized by those who are fast and agile enough!”