March 11, 2010
The first steering group meeting for Digital NI 2020 was held in February. Establishing and maintaining representative participation from across all business sectors is a critical input to the success of this initiative.
An update on activity over the past two weeks follows. This has involved a series of meetings with different players and building a better understanding of the extent of the IP core platform which acts as the starting point for our exploitation drive.
Community Meetings – Meetings have been held with Council Executives and Development Board people in Londonderry and Coleraine. The Derry meeting included representatives from Strabane and Donegal. In Belfast, a meeting was held with community representatives from the West Belfast Development Board (a meeting has already been held with the Executive of the Business Park in Greater Shankhill.
At these meetings we discussed prospective projects for these areas, both in community terms and also potential business initiatives. Derry is looking at how best to exploit the Business Park estate, target business initiatives and the possibility of a data centre development. Coleraine is looking at one of the more advanced projects at this early stage, the Venture North initiative and other business opportunities. West Belfast is looking at developing a focus around activity at the Royal Victoria Hospital site, and also developments at the community level and St Mary’s college complex.
Whilst at early stages, all of these communities are profiting from the focus created by the completion of the Kelvin link, to proactively ensure they benefit, both economically and socially from the potential offered by the communications platform.
Over the coming weeks, meetings will be held with other community bodies.
The Telecoms sub thread of the DETI Matrix project held its third working session. This is looking at how the industry sectors identified in the overall matrix study have/can benefit from the investments made to date. The output of the Matrix sub thread will feed into any follow on activity. The DNI2020 project and the Matrix study group are working closely together.
Business Sector Activity
Meetings have been held with players in finance, media, data centre developments, ICT and education. Further meetings are being scheduled, the aim being to build a good level of understanding of the full potential of the DNI 2020 platform and also a good understanding of business priorities. Out of this work will come a set of recommendations for initial target areas, two meetings of the Digital Media study group are being held this week.
Meetings have also been held with executives from the Titanic Quarter, with focus on accelerating local fibre deployment and potential data centre opportunities. On data centres, a meeting was held with the Yahoo Executive responsible for operations across Europe, executives from Google and also executives from the data centre sector in RoI. In addition, a meeting was held with the Utility Regulator to discuss power issues.
A set of meetings has been held, with more planned, with Telco operators to discuss how to address high speed local loop service delivery. This will be a key element of any follow on study.
The study is still at an early stage, but by the next meeting we should have an initial set of target areas which could form the basis of any follow on activity, to accelerate exploitation of potential. It is also anticipated that some activity will be kicked off before the completion of the study phase. In the coming weeks we will also be looking at key future international links.