Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Why Northern Ireland can benefit from an increasingly wired world

When the dust settles on the RBS glitchgate there'll no doubt be inquiries and reviews to try and make sure such a mistake doesn't happen again.

For now the only thing we know for certain is that technology is fallible.

Just as the very computer on which these words are typed occasionally has an off day (which it did early yesterday afternoon, losing the original insightful and interesting Business View which you could have had) so the system which carries out the transactions for RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank had an off day.

Of course, my computer was up and running with a quick 'control, alt, delete' but it didn't have thousands of transactions running through it, and no one was depending on it to pay workers or to pay for groceries.

But similarly to Ulster Bank, while my PC was down I reverted to more traditional methods.

But while pen and paper plugged a gap for me and Ulster Bank customers went to branches, there's no doubting we've become more and more dependent on technology in our daily lives. Ironically that's good news for Northern Ireland because we're increasingly being seen as a hub for international technology companies looking to set up European bases.

And it's not just inward investors who think along those lines but also indigineous companies such as First Derivatives who have previously cited our homegrown talent as amongst the best in the world.

None of this will provide much comfort to the businesses and consumers struggling with the Ulster Bank glitch but it does shine a light on the fact one of our biggest growth industries is only going to find a bigger world market.