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FH Dublin Wins Irish Sponsorship Award

FH Dublin Wins Irish Sponsorship Award for BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

In January the team from FH Dublin led by Gill Madden and supported by Maria McGrath managed the PR activities for Ireland’s prestigious BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, January 2014 marked the biggest and the best exhibition in the competition’s incredible tenure and a real celebration for BT, the organisers and sponsors.

That hard work was duly recognized this week at the Irish Sponsorship Awards 2014 when BT and FleishmanHillard took home the award for ‘Best Use of PR in a Sponsorship’.

Preparation for the event involves 12 months of activity culminating in the exhibition itself which takes place over four days in Dublin’s RDS every January. 2014 saw the most impressive stream of coverage to date. Over the four days we secured a constant stream of coverage including 5 national front pages; headline news daily across all national TV and radio news programmes and bulletins; numerous print, online, TV and radio interviews as well as a significant media profile for Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland.

The event was opened by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and visited by members of government, national broadcasters, celebrities and Ireland’s rugby elite. Interstellar star and astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield also visited the exhibition and delivered the keynote address at the celebratory gala dinner.

Having attracted over 2,000 entries from over 4,000 secondary school students, the 2014 exhibition broke all previous entry records and was visited by over 50,000 people over the 4 days making it the largest event of its kind anywhere in the world.

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Day Three (Final) Web Summit Review

Web Summit likes to go out with a bang and Thursday was no exception with Peter Thiel of Paypal and Facebook courting the crowd, followed by U2’s Bono closing out proceedings at the event dubbed #DavosForGeeks.

During the day Lorraine Twohill, global VP of Marketing for Google, discussed programmatic buying. Precision programmatic buying is a marketing goal for Google itself, having set a target of 60% of digital spend globally to be bought programmatically. Programmatic buying has some limitations and until these are lifted, Google won’t make its target easily.

As the funding competitions wound up Codacy won the BETA startup pitch, having developed an automated code review tool. Using a “freemium” model, users can check code for security issues, accuracy, coding style and other metrics and lets the user get informed of his progress through rich visuals. Codacy currently has over 3,000 users and growing.

In the ALPHA startup pitch competition BaseStone was the winner. ALPHA is intended for technology companies in early stages of development. BaseStone is based in the UK and aims to streamline communication and speed up the design review process between architects, builders and developers. Both startups won 10,000 Euros and a pitch opportunity at the Coca Cola global HQ in Atlanta.

Bitcoin made news on both the Centre Stage and the Builders Stage. Gavin Andressen from the Bitcoin foundation discussed how Bitcoin is undergoing centralized mining but this could be reversed in the future. Regulatory issues are still his main concern for the cryptocurrency as there are major countries, like Russia and China, that he feels over-regulate in this field.

Peter Smith from Blockchain talked about the company’s journey to 2.5+ million users over the past few years. He emphasised Bitcoin’s utility for Countries where the population don’t have access to regular banking and currency transfers are still prohibitively expensive. Describing bitcoin as “magical internet money”, Peter denied any work in progress to integrate with Google wallet of Apple pay.

As one of the ‘Star’ billings of the Summit, Peter Thiel played the crowd beautifully saying that the Web Summit and its participants were not a representative of “slacker Europe”. This referenced a comment he made two months ago in a Financial Times interview about Europe in which he stated that Europe was “a slacker with low expectations, held back by a poor work ethic and held back by politicians who strangle technological progress.”.

Peter also discussed his views on Artificial Intelligence and his belief that it is very far in the future. He blieves that the challenge with Artificial Intelligence is not technological, but political. He gave the example of the ‘flying car’ that he gets pitched about by entrepreneurs around one to two times per year. A flying car can happen, but since “the world of bits is not regulated but the world of atoms is heavily regulated” it can be a big issue from the regulatory standpoint.

Artists, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Paul Hewson (Bono to his mates) was the last speaker for the day and of the conference as a whole. He discussed being “the most hated person on the Internet” for the three days after Apple released U2’s latest album for free on iTunes. He believes making a lot of people that were uninterested in U2 now hate U2 is still an improvement and one that he made Tim Cook pay handsomely to make this album end up free, exclusievely on iTunes.

All in all, for an event that has gone from 400 people in a lecture theatre to a solid 20,000+ in four years is a remarkable achievement and given the numbers who headed off to hotels, pub, clubs and restaurants yesterday to make plans for Web Summit 2015, Collision 2015 in the US or Sync Conference in Asia (both siter events to Web Summit) next year will be an even bigger on for the Web Summi brand, the Technology industry and for Paddy Cosgrave.

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Food For Thought At Web Summit

Contributed by Maria Doyle

Thursday PM: It’s the final leg of the Web Summit and Bonin Bough bursts onto the Marketing Stage with a bounding enthusiasm and energy which lifts the entire room. As vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International, the world’s largest snacking company, Bough knows how to capture the attention of his audience.

He’s here to tell us about the difference between how old and new organisations operate. While newer organisations are creating growth and value at an astonishing speed, older, larger organisations need a change of culture to inject innovation into their business and to move forward. But how do you change the culture of an organization and unlock opportunity?

It has nothing to do with size, industry, geography, age or education. New organisations have tapped into a cultural phenomenon whereby they create value by breaking things and it’s all down to talent, according to Bough. He believes that you have to hack culture to create an environment that drives change – it’s about breaking your core business.

But how does Mondelez break its core business of snacking? With the explosion of mobile changing social media habits, it set out to look at the future of snacking distribution and after four days of hyper-brainstorming the team came up with the idea of vending while trending. This saw one of Mondelez’s brands, Oreo, conducting an experiment called ‘Trending Vending’ at this year’s SXSW festival, where they provided a customized consumer experience based on trending Twitter conversations.

Oreo’s vending machines used 3D printing technology and the hashtag #eatthetweet to create designs based on what was currently trending on Twitter. The result: 10,0000 attendees queued for up to two hours in the rain to create their own personal cookie and over 42 million impressions between online, print and social media. The experiment was such a success that Oreo is now taking it on the road.

Bough acknowledged that bringing to life new ideas is difficult, but that a talented team willing to not only embrace the future but to hack it is what will drive an organisation forward. According to computer scientist Alan Kay, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Bough concluded by re-coining this famous quote, suggesting that “The best way to predict the future is to hack it.” His vision should certainly provide marketers in larger organisations with food for thought.

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Day Two Web Summit Review

The second day of the Web Summit in Dublin took the #DavosForGeeks tag seriously, with major announcements from some big players in the technology game.

Nest Labs CEO and founder Tony Fadell announced a deal that will provide Irish customers with a free Nest thermostat by signing a two year utility contract with Electric Ireland. The Irish deal is the first of several where consumers will have the cost of a Nest subsidized by their utility companies. Although Nest is now owned by Google, Tony Fadell claims it is operating independently from it’s new parent  and will not be sharing data with them. Time will tell.

OnePlus One founder and director Carl Pei was in town and announced that OnePlus One sales have now reached half a million. The low price, high specs smartphone is sold only by invitation. Pei mentioned that OnePlus One is only making a single-figure dollar amount per phone and though this is not the way the company will make money in the future, it will remain as their primary revenue stream in the short term.

Jonathan Klein , CEO Getty Images , argued that he can never see a world where intellectual property is free. Getty Images now claim that they self-disrupted as heritage and revenue model lay in the print photography age. When established it could take anytyhing up to seven weeks for approval to use images to reach their clients. Last year, the company sold 105 million images online and in real-time.

Paul Daugherty, CTO of Accenture pointed out that by 2020 there will be 50 billion digital devices around the world. This means that the Internet Of Things will dwarf the mobile industry in the near future. Meanwhile, Jeff Hagins, Founder & CTO of SmartThings criticized the lack of standards in IoT communication and asked for an open source language for local and remote access to devices.

Finally, Twitter President of Revenue, Adam Bain dismissed concerns about Twitter’s business model, saying Twitter “was just getting started”. Twitter is diversifying its revenue streams between advertising, data services and a new, currently in Beta, e-commerce function. Twitter came to an agreement with IBM to allow the technology group to use Twitter’s data in their enterprise tools and consulting services. This gives IBM access to “the largest set of public conversations available” by Twitter’s account.

284 million unique users use the Twitter site monthly and 600 million visit the site on a monthly basis. The new e-commerce product is hoping to bridge the gap between tweeting about a product and buying that product. By adding click-to-buy functionality Twitter hopes to prove that it can be a place that people buy products in addition to discussing about them.

It’s going to be hard to top that but I’m sure with Bono making the closing address and hundreds of presentations across the multiple arenas and stages we’ll see some major messages during the course of the final day, today.

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Security & Authenticity Are Key At Web Summit

Contributed by Maria McGrath

Day 2, Wednesday afternoon and the same day that brings the news of yet another technology company relocating to Ireland.  Usually, welcoming a tech company to our shores sees government ministers and CEO’s ‘grip and grin’ opposite press photographers to announce ‘one hundred new jobs’ – not so today. Ask.fm, the controversial social networking app which allows anonymous posting and was linked to the suicide of an Irish teenage girl in 2012 is to relocate from Latvia to Dublin.

Reflecting this news, it seems that at the Enterprise Stage at the RDS Simmonscourt, security, authentication and replacing antiquated methods of self-identification promise to be the next wave of e-products worldwide.

At a lecture entitled ‘Death of the Password?’ Emmanuel Shalit spoke about how we humans use, or more aptly misuse passwords, begging the question ‘how many have you got?’ Somewhat of a misnomer in the supposed digital marketplace where everything is so easily accessible and at your fingertips. Not so if you can’t recall your amazon password ahead of your iTunes one. Or, are you one of the clever ones, you use one password for everything? No. You’re not clever. You’re at significantly increased risk of data breach and deservedly so.

The excitement du jour suggests that hardware, your fingerprint or your retina scan will replace your password for accessing personal profiles online however as this hardware is, in many cases, prohibitively expensive, for now Dashlane has you covered with one centralised app that houses all of your passwords and changes them all individually and sporadically, you don’t even know what they are.

Interviewed on stage by Lisa Fleisher of the Wall Street Journal, John MacIlwaine CTO of Lending Club, Brett Meyers of Currency Fair and Sebastian Diemer, founder of Kreditech spoke about ‘Breaking the Bank’ – and how banking, unlike, books, music and news is the most prominent product and service yet to be fully digitised.

Banks rely on legacy software to transfer your funds abroad charging a disproportionately high and according to Brett ‘unjustified’ percentage on the fx rate. Banks rely on dated systems and the input of credit bureaus hampered by regulatory requirements to identify your credit score. This, according these FinTech experts is like using past weather to predict future weather and so – irrelevant and unreliable.

With companies like Currency Fair who allow you to elect your own rate when transferring money abroad, and Kreditech who use your digital footprint to determine if you’re a reliable borrower, and your Facebook profile to flag potential fraud, it seems banking, as we know it is a dying art.

These technology experts agree that one of the most serious challenges facing the FinTech industry that of trust. Like Bitcoin, once one variety is found to be less than honourable, the entire concept is damaged. Unlike Ask.fm which offers a unique ‘anonymous’ platform, the evolution of FinTech hinges on the ability to authenticate and identify ourselves digitally.

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Day One Web Summit Review

Web Summit, now one of the largest technology conferences in Europe opened Tuesday, with the great and the good from the technology and business world, like Peter Thiel, Drew Houston and Anna Patterson flocking to the event now billed as #DavosForGeeks. This year’s Web Summit kicked off with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Paddy Cosgrave ringing the NASDAQ’s opening bell for the second year running.

Oculus VR CEO announced that a consumer version of the Rift headset is expected in the next months. As vague as that sounds, it appears to be a progress for the company that got acquired by Facebook in March, just two years after the initial kickstarter campaign.

Dropbox announced a new partnership with Microsoft in an effort to bring Office files closer to Dropbox users.

Evernote announced that a new pricing structure will take place starting from early next year. The company currently offers a free version and a $5 per month paid version of the product but this pricing decision back in 2007 was basically picked at random.

Love and Robots, a 3D printing company that specializes in personalizing, tweaking and editing products to customers’ liking won the ESB spark of genius award. Love and Robots CEO, Emer O’Daly argued that using selective laser sintering technology is positioning them in a good position against the big brands in the field like cafepress and zazzle.

And as part of the new #SportsSummit Guy Easterby described how Leinster use GPS data and player self-assessment to improve their strategies. Even though he views data analysis used in rugby as lagging behind compared to other sports, he claims that he is putting emphasis on analyzing these numbers in a sense that they can give better results, faster.

As with many events of this size, there were problems with WiFI, though for an event about the web it shouldn’t happen. The fact this was happening after 4 years of the event was criticized by attendees throughout the day. Guinness responded with some apt real time advertising, socially newsjacking the situation but the tweets have been since deleted.

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Morning 2 At Web Summit

Contributed by Maria Doyle

Morning 2 at the Web Summit and it was clear that the Night Summit had taken its toll, with only a couple of hundred early birds there come 8.30am. With the RDS practically to myself and most of the talks not beginning till 9.30am I had the opportunity to check out which brands were exhibiting.

Free coffee was the order of the morning with at least ten exhibitors using high end coffee to attract the crowds. The brands that really stood out had  very slick exhibition spaces that were experiential or interactive. My favourites included Aer Lingus with its airplane shell exterior, EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners Ding with an incredible screen which shows live transactions, and Electric Ireland’s Spark of Genius stand which encouraged people to write down their ideas and predictions on a board, then taking a picture of the person which appeared on a collage on-screen.

The Centre Stage kicked off with Irishwoman Anne-Marie Tomchak, the presenter of #BBCTrending, on how social media is changing conflict and the pivotal role it plays in warzones. She highlighted the importance of authenticity and verification when reporting from a conflict zone. Last July the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack was used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects the airstrikes. A #BBCTrending analysis found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Misinformation like this can often fuel tensions, but used correctly, social media can help make a difference. In April of this year, the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria led to the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls becoming an international trending phenomenon with hundreds of high profile people including Michelle Obama taking to social media to support it.

Six months later, their plight has all but been forgotten by mainstream media but a small amount of social media users have continued to keep it trending, to keep it “in the minds and hearts of the world”, according to one campaigner. This shows the importance of activism online, and the need to persist. Anne-Marie concluded by predicting that chat apps such as WhatsApp, BBM and Firechat will be the most important tools for getting information from conflict zones to the world. While other channels are being censored these are not and will be the newest social media weapons in war.

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Web Summit, Far From Peaking

Four short years ago the Web Summit was just the brain-child of three very young Irish entrepreneurs. Paddy Cosgrave, Daire Hickey and David Kelly can now count their event among the few “must attend” tech conferences globally as well as among the many successful startups operating out of Ireland today.

In fact, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ranks Ireland as 9th among the 28 European Union countries for entrepreneurial activity. One in 11 people in Ireland, according to the report, is involved in an entrepreneurial activity.

Attracted in by the low tax rate of 12.5%, the ease of doing business here, and a young, educated workforce helped by the free movement of travel of people within the European Union, several of the leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Dropbox, have located their European headquarters in Dublin, along with major offices for the likes of LinkedIn, eBay, PayPal and HubSpot.

Alan Hobbs spokesperson for Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government’s agency for supporting Irish businesses and attracting international firms to locate here, believes it is the infrastructure that attracts startups and small businesses and the Web Summit this year really reflects this.

Spread out across a complex of buildings and temporary structures on the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society – a 40 acre site – in the south Dublin suburb of Ballsbridge, close to the FleishmanHillard Dublin offices, the event has come a long way from 400 people in 2010. This year, the more than 20,000 attendees will be fed & watered by an army of 250 artisan Irish food producers in a #FoodSummit that takes over a local park.

But it’s the heavyweight speakers that show how far the Web Summit has come with the number of speakers at Web Summit 2014 exceeding the first event’s total attendance. At least 600 people will take to one of 10 stages over the three days. Among the speakers are cofounder of Paypal and Facebook’s first outside investor Peter Thiel, Dropbox founder Drew Houston, Amazon Chief Technology Officer, Werner Vogels and Google’s Vice President of Engineering, Anna Patterson.

The event has been broadly welcomed by the establishment in Ireland, with the leader of the Irish government, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, coming to the event on Tuesday to ring the NASDAQ’s opening bell for the second year running.

While the speakers are interesting and often inspiring it’s the conversations and casual chats over drinks, usually pints in a city centre pub during the Night Summit, where the real business of the event gets done.

Last year the top 25 startups that came to the Web Summit raised $400 million in the subsequent 12 months and some of those people would have met their investors at the Web Summit and it was a conversation over a pint in a Dublin pub that led to investor Shervin Pishevar signing a deal to invest $26.5 million in U.S. entrepreneur Travis Kalanick’s ride-sharing startup Uber, which now has a valuation of more than $15 billion.

It will be interesting to see what themes, what trends, and, in fact, what deals emerge over the next 3 days in the heart of Dublin 4.

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Dublin Web Summit 2014 Adores Big Data

Contributed by Eilish Joyce

Web Summit 2014 is bustling with high-energy start-ups full of passion for their business, all of whom are enthusiastically telling investors, potential partners and anyone that will listen about why they have the next big idea. One area that particularly stood out was the number of start-ups in the Big Data space. Big data has big potential for brands and their communications strategies. At the moment the majority of businesses struggle to understand how they can use this data to tell them more about their customers. Particularly in the online world, although flooded with options many firms gain limited insights and rarely use the relevant measurement tools available to tackle the problem of understanding the impact of marketing on consumers. A company at the Summit that are seeking to tackle this problem for clients are Adoreboard, www.adoreboard.com, a start-up from Queen’s University in Belfast. They have developed a unique software platform that helps marketers to understand how people feel about their brand in the online world drawing data from blogs, social media channels, news outlets and a host of other websites. This has the potential to have a huge impact in how brands can use this type of data to inform marketing strategy – an interesting one to watch.

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My Voyage To The Summit

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My voyage into today’s Web Summit was absorbing, enriching, revelatory and absolutely terrifying…

The energy and enthusiasm from everyone was invigorating. So many people were utterly engaged in their new product, app, service, system, gadget or whatever it was that they were promoting. And that was also what made my visit to the Web Summit so terrifying…What exactly is the difference between all of these companies? What separates the has beens, the might be’s and the ones who eventually make it?

Mark Twain said that there is “no such thing as a new idea…. we keep on turning and make new combinations”. Dropbox was not the first company to think of providing storage in the cloud, Google wasn’t the first search engine. How can companies make the next leap?

Today I saw companies such as reEmbed, Nuday, Buzzin and Powzy. They all looked great, had some super ideas, and had apparently executed their concept well. But why will some of them make it and the others will be well forgotten by next year’s Web Summit?

I don’t have that answer but I definitely think there are 2 big factors; Luck and Communication. The ability for people to communicate about their company to the right people at the right time is absolutely critical for any successful operation. Uber has credited its success to a chance meeting at the Summit where it sourced the funding that it needed to bring it to the next level and this is an example of why Ireland’s Web Summit has to be applauded. The organisers have recognised that the Irish are known for their ability to communicate and they have capitalised on this to make the event one of the World’s largest digital conferences. The Summit is more than a chance to diligently sit and listen to some of the world’s best minds talk about how they ‘made it’.

Everywhere you go you see strangers talking to each other – engaging, educating and entertaining each other. Making new friends, building new allegiances, securing the future of their current or future company. From Night Summits to pub crawls to food summits to mobile apps – everything is catered for – everything a new opportunity to get that lucky break. The Summit has become a relentless pursuit for the attendees to find someone who will give them their big break.

It is terrifying to attend such an event and realise that your one person is out there and that you have to find them. It is terrifying to realise how much competition exists out there. But it is so exciting to be part of this digital revolution and have the opportunity to witness where the might be’s become the next Google, Dropbox, Facebook or Spotify.

The Web Summit has captured this pursuit perfectly and I have no doubt that these 3 days will see the birth of the next set of companies that will dominate the World’s digital and social landscape for many years to come.

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