Tuesday, 24 November 2015

MyPlace Connect smashes one million user barrier

MyPlace Connect, Ireland’s largest free WiFi provider has continued it incredible fast paced growth with the announcement that one million users have now joined MyPlace Connect to avail of free WiFi in hundreds of locations throughout the world including restaurants, cafés, pubs, hotels and shopping centres.

CEO and Founder of MyPlace Connect Peadar Gormley said that “The rate of growth in the past two years that we have experienced in terms of new users of our services has been phenomenal. The growth to one million users has been accelerated in the last number of years with the ever increasing demand for free WiFi. As MyPlace has grown into ten countries, the number of users has grown exponentially helping us smash through the one million user barrier, long before we could have envisaged it being possible.”

It was in one of these venues in Ireland, Dundrum Shopping Centre, which the one millionth user signed up to MyPlace Connect in recent weeks. To mark the significant milestone, the one millionth MyPlace Connect user, Annie Thompson was presented with a gift card for Dundrum Shopping Centre.

“There is an increasing demand for hassle-free WiFi and we are thrilled to have now exceeded one million users. What it demonstrates to us and to the hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and sports venues around the world that use our platform, is that hassle-free WiFi is an essential part of the customer experience. The last two years have been very successful for MyPlace Connect with the expansion of MyPlace Connect into our 10th country and the roll out of our innovative platform for the accommodation industry to major global hotel chains such as Best Western, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn and Radisson Hotels. The growth trajectory for MyPlace Connect shows no signs of slowing down and the announcement that one million users have signed up to MyPlace connect demonstrates that,” said CEO Peadar Gormley.

“MyPlace Connect are very proud of our Irish roots and we have consistently focussed on innovation and growth in the Irish market. The partnership with major venues with such a large footfall as Dundrum Shopping Centre has allowed us to focus deploy our technology to one of the largest commercial spaces in Europe, which is a wonderful endorsement for our team and our technology. Everyone at MyPlace Connect is working hard to ensure that not only do we meet the demand, but that we also continue to widen our lead in the market.”

According to a face to face survey carried out last year in Ireland by MyPlace Connect, if restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, hotels and pubs want to attract customers, they have to offer free WiFi to their customers. The survey reveals that a staggering 90% of customers expect free WiFi service in these businesses. What is more, not only do they expect free WiFi, they will vote with their feet between those locations with free WiFi and those without, with 67% saying that they have chosen one of these destinations based on whether or not it offered a free WiFi service.

Peader Gormley said, “Free WiFi has become a key ingredient for businesses in the service industry like pubs, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues or hotels. Not only does free WiFi attract and retain customers, it also allows these businesses to engage with their customers in a new way.”

Founded in 2011, MyPlace Connect has experienced phenomenal growth and has established itself as Ireland’s leading free WiFi provider. The services are now available in ten countries across three continents. The intention is to continue growing the business by expanding domestically and in the international market.

MyPlace Connect, Ireland’s largest free WiFi network provider supports hundreds of venues in England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland and the United States.

EMR spreads its wings and extends presence to the UK market

SCADA network and mobile telecommunications supplier, EMR Integrated Solutions today announced its expansion to the UK market, in a move that will take its portfolio of market-leading products and system design and engineering capabilities to the UK’s energy and water utility industries.

The development comes hot on the heels of a €1 million contract with Northern Ireland Water to upgrade the utility’s telemetry network.

EMR currently employs 22 at its base in Dunboyne, Co Meath and hopes to add to that number with the establishment of its UK base. The company specialises in designing and building wireless communication for media organisations as well as SCADA and telemetry networks for energy suppliers and water companies.

Mark Quinn, managing director with EMR believes that significant opportunity exists for his organisation to make a breakthrough into the UK, thanks to the rapidly changing nature of the utility industry there.

“Power generation and water utilities are facing a perfect storm of business challenges in terms of environmental constraints, security of supply and cost pressures. Aging network infrastructure is a burning issue for many of them but taking the right approach with the right integration partner will promote more efficient management of energy or water supply into the future,” he said.

The company’s UK headquarters will be based in Reading, a strategic location to target some of the market’s key players. A team of technical and project management professionals will support the rollout of EMR’s SCADA and network infrastructure deployments.

The UK utility industry is undergoing a period of substantial change, where many will be forced to re-examine their business models, according to Quinn.

“We believe we have the track record and expertise to generate strong return on network investment for all stakeholders and support continuity of supply,” he said.

EMR was founded in the early in 1980s and has a strong management team with a wealth of industry experience. The company has some of Ireland’s strongest brands on its books including ESB, Eir, RTÉ NL, Virgin Media and many of the country’s county councils.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Who is responsible for cyberbullying?

Is it the education? The schools? The Gardaí? Online websites? Social media? The victims themselves? Who should bear the brunt of responsibility for cyberbullying? According to the last survey commissioned by ESET Ireland and carried out by Amárach Research on a thousand Irish (of which 591 were parents themselves), the majority of those surveyed said the fault is with the bullies and their parents.

35% of all Irish surveyed and 34% of parents only said the bullies themselves must be held responsible. 34% of all and 33% of parents said it’s the parents’ fault. 9% of all and 10% of Irish parents blamed the websites where the bullying occurs. 8% of all and 9% of parents said the Gardaí are not doing enough to prevent cyberbullying. 5% of all and 6% of parents blamed the schools, 4% of all and 5% of parents shifted the responsibility to the parents of those bullied and 1% blamed the victim.

The demographic breakdown was pretty consistent among all age groups, median income and location, except for one interesting difference. 43% of those from Connacht and Ulster said the primary responsibility is on the bully, while only 31% of those in Munster did. But they responded rather the opposite when it came to parental responsibility, where only 27% of those in Connacht and Ulster would put the blame on parents, while 40% of Munster did.

What does all this tell us?

While the institutions, such as schools and law enforcement are mentioned, they’re not considered the main problem by the majority of Irish surveyed. Websites, such as social media that the bullies and the bullied use, may offer an easy platform for cyberbullying, but since not everyone is engaged in cyberbullying, they can’t be that bad either. The core problem is therefore the behaviour of the bullies and the responsibility of their parents for such behaviour.

Previous ESET research has shown that 54% of parents had no idea their child was being bullied online, while another ESET research has revealed that while 88% of parents are concerned about their children online, only 34% have actually done something about it and installed Parental Control software on their children’s laptops or mobiles, which enables parents to monitor their kids’ activities, be alerted of anything out of the ordinary and intervene appropriately if they notice their child is a bully or getting bullied. While Parental Control itself can not eradicate the problem of cyberbullying, it can certainly enable parents to act responsibly and prevent it in time, before it causes serious damage or leads to tragedy.

For more information on keeping children safe online, see also Why parents must teach their children about internet security and Back to school: 5 challenges that parents and teachers face in IT security.