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Top tech chief praise for Northern Ireland's 'talented' skills base

By John Mulgrew

Published 16/04/2015

Fergal Downey of Bitnet Technologies, Deirdre Hargey, chairman of the development committee at Belfast City Council, Nigel McKinney of Building Change Trust and Tom Gray of Kainos
Fergal Downey of Bitnet Technologies, Deirdre Hargey, chairman of the development committee at Belfast City Council, Nigel McKinney of Building Change Trust and Tom Gray of Kainos

Northern Ireland is producing a host of "very talented people" in the world of IT, a top technology boss has said.

Kate Atkinson, co-founder of San Francisco-based Datasnap, praised the skills and talents found in Belfast and beyond.

"There are a lot of tech companies and incubators happening in Northern Ireland," she said.

"In Belfast and other places there are very talented people who are starting to innovate.

"And there's a lot of energy, from what I've seen and heard.

"People are starting to build up businesses and are pulling in developers."

Datasnap produces software which analyses big data streams from social media, the web and the so-called 'internet of things'.

Ms Atkinson is one of several top tech heads set to speak at the three-day BelTech event, which kicks off later this month.

Datasnap also deals in processing information coming from so-called beacons - short-range bluetooth devices which can be used to track customers and analyse their behaviour patterns.

"We started in San Francisco about 10 months ago and we were playing around with a few ideas," he said.

"We realised people were playing around with beacons - but not sure what they were doing.

"For example, with Virgin America in Heathrow - if you have the app on your phone, when you come near the gate it automatically pops up with your boarding pass.

"So, understanding traffic movements - that's where we focus, on the analytics and the data behind that."

Technology experts from big name global giants such as Google will be flying into Belfast for the BelTech conference which kicks off on April 29.

The event - which is curated by Northern Ireland IT firm Kainos - will provide a platform for some of the most successful firms and individuals to showcase their talents.

And speaking at the launch of the event, Tom Gray, chief technology officer at Kainos, said: "This year's BelTech will provide a valuable insight into the talent and innovation that Northern Ireland has to offer and Kainos is delighted to be able to support the development of the industry by sponsoring the event.

"Technological advances stemming from local businesses are crucial to the economic success of the country.

"A high-profile event like this will highlight our digital capabilities and provide a platform for our local talent to be seen in action by potential inward investors."

BelTech runs from April 29 to May 1. For more information visit www.beltech2015.com

Belfast Telegraph

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