The ABC of Ireland’s digital future

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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If there’s been one constant source of positive news in Ireland of late, it’s been in the digital sector. It seems as though there’s an announcement each week about a new domestic start-up company. And while new companies are finding their feet, the big players (the Googles, Microsofts and Twitters of the world) are planting theirs firmly in Irish soil as they go from strength to strength.

But digital can be a scary word if you haven’t embraced any new technology since you ditched your radio for a colour TV.

The thing about technology though is that it’ll move along even without your permission or knowledge. The best thing to do is to try stay in the loop and see what all the fuss is about. So to help, here’s a little ABC to get you started.

A is for…


There’s a good chance you’ve heard the term ‘analytics’ being bandied about a few times at this stage, so what is it Well basically, analytics software’s job is to analyse large chunks of information. From the things you buy to the TV programmes you watch, it’s all information that can be monitored, stored and analysed by sophisticated programmes. Analytics is currently busy transforming the worlds of business, healthcare, security and lots, LOTS more.


Apps (short for applications) are the small pieces of software you see on your phone that allow you to do stuff. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, so do the apps that run on them. Smartphones have apps for just about everything these days: you can hail taxis, watch TV, monitor your health or sleep patterns, learn about the night skies – just about anything you can think of. The app economy in Europe is worth around 10 billion euro at the moment. That number looks set to get much bigger, and soon.

B is for…

Big Data

One of the fastest growing areas of IT, Big Data concerns the processing, storage and transfer of a hell of a lot of data. Governments and businesses the world over are still wiping the drool from their chins at the thoughts of what Big Data means for them, and us. By having extremely pwerful machines analyse (via analytics) vast quantities of information, it’ll be possible to spot trends. This means greater forecasting accuracy in terms of consumer habits, healthcare needs, and (believe it or not) even the weather. Knowledge is power.

C is for…

Cloud Computing

A natural companion of Big Data and analytics, cloud computing helps prevent our computers’ brains from exploding from all the info they handle by storing it in a ‘cloud’. Far from the lovely, fluffy thing the word conjures, the ‘cloud’ is actually a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network (i.e. the internet), hence the info kind of exists in a ‘virtual’ space. If you have an email address, then you’ve already got some info on a ‘cloud’. With cloud computing, anyone will be able to access all the info they’ve uploaded (music, workfiles, video, images, etc.) from any device that can connect to the internet. That means no more memory problems for your poor old computer. Another major, major growth area.


They say that content is king (which is true of course!), but what exactly is it The answer is … well, everything really: all the text, video, sound and imagery you encounter on a website is content. It’s what keeps you informed, engaged and coming back for more, so it’s of vital importance to online enterprises. Without content, cyberspace is just empty space.



Frank Bolger

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