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Belfast City Council launches new 'digital innovation connection service'

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Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Council has launched a new online service which aims to bring together digital experts with firms to address the changing needs of society amid the coronavirus crisis.

It says “the pandemic has created a range of challenges for public, voluntary and community sector organisations, many of which require the innovative use of digital technology to continue to deliver their critical services or to develop a new Covid-19 project”.

“The Covid Connect NI website matches the digital innovation expertise of local businesses with the immediate needs of public, community and voluntary organisations that are tackling Covid-19 across Northern Ireland.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, councillor Daniel Baker said: “The idea came about because we were receiving fantastic offers of help from our innovator community and lots of calls for help from those delivering key services during this crisis. Organisations are feeling the strain at the moment and, for some problems, digital can provide them with a solution.

A host of firms here are involved in the scheme, including EY, Allstate, Amazon Web Services, Analytics Engines, BT, Deloitte, Digital Catapult NI, Farset Labs, KMPG, Microsoft, PwC and Salesforce.

Dr Rob Grundy, chairman of Matrix, the Northern Ireland science industry panel, said: “The current crisis is affecting everyone and to get through it we need to work together as effectively as possible. There is such a wealth of digital talent in Belfast and it’s great to see the innovator community collaborating to make such a positive contribution.”

Seamus McAleavey chief executive of NICVA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action), said: “It’s a challenging time for the voluntary and community sector who are in many ways at the forefront of the response to the Covid-19 crisis.

“As organisations work through the process of adapting how they operate, this kind of specialist support from experts is a timely initiative. Organisations that have developed a clear sense of how a digital solution will help meet their challenge will be able to seek help on the platform.”