“ICT Products and Services are 16% of the GDP”

What e-content means in Ireland:

A: E-content can be defined in a number of ways: in Irish terms, e-content encompasses business, cultural, educational and government sectors and it could therefore be defined as those sectors which use electronic or digital technologies to communicate with and to serve the general public.

What is the current status of e-content in your country, including national e-content development across all the sectors of the industry?

Ireland has established an international reputation as a leader in the ICT sector. Ireland is the largest exporter of software in the world and seven of the world’s leading software companies have selected Ireland as their gateway to Europe. Over 300 overseas ICT companies develop, market and manufacture a wide range of cutting edge products in Ireland. Overseas companies, including IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Microsoft employ 55,000 people in Ireland. In 2002, exports in this sector exceeded 28 billion.

This has also acted as the catalyst for the growth of both sophisticated and innovative indigenous services, and also of the software and development sectors. The indigenous software sector currently employs 18,000 people, compared to only 3,000 people in 1992. This has fuelled the recognition of the fact that all sectors should focus on delivering e-Content and other complementary services to people, predominantly in the areas of business and government.

However, it should be noted that indigenous Irish content has been fairly low in markets such as entertainment, culture and education which are targeted at Irish people themselves. Ireland has a long way to go before it can confidently deliver e-content to everyone.

Which e-content area is best developed in your country?

All the areas of e-content are being actively developed in Ireland with a pronounced emphasis on business services and government.

Which sectors in your country are the leaders in e-content development?

Currently, the Government Sector is aggressively developing services and information resources for its citizens.

Please describe the progress of e-content development in your country.

As Ireland has been at the forefront of ICT, the technology sector has been developing at a phenomenal rate due to the infrastructure and support mechanisms which the Government provides. The Private Sector has, however, been slow to adopt and produce original e-content.

Please list the major initiatives which have influenced and spurred the development of e-content in your country.

Over 34,000 people graduate in Ireland every year, and since 1992 there has been an increase of 35% in students who study third level engineering/technology courses. A significant number of these third level students now study computer science or business studies as well. Combined with competitive levels of government spending and initiatives for third level education and research, Ireland is an attractive choice for high value inward investment and business expansion. Let’s not forget Government initiatives and also, the highly competitive Tax Regime.

What have been the major bottlenecks in the development of e-content in your country?

To ensure that Ireland maintains a reputation of being an e-hub, there is an urgent need for the development of a comprehensive and coherent national plan to develop e-commerce and other e-based activities supported by high quality e-infrastructure especially with access to broadband.

In developed countries ICT has become part of daily life and e-content development is primarily left to the initiatives of individuals or organizations. On the other hand, in less developed countries, the development of e-content is largely dependent on ICT infrastructure. Please give a detailed analysis of the situation in your country.

In 2001, the output of the ICT related products and services was calculated to be almost 16% of the GDP. Also, between 1993 and 2001, the overall growth rate of ICT sector has been around 18%, which is more than twice the GDP growth rate of Ireland.

Over 1,100 overseas companies have chosen Ireland as their European base and are involved in a wide range of activities in sectors as diverse as e-business, engineering, information communications technologies, pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, financial and international services.

However, this success has not always trickled down to Irish citizens and changed how they live their lives with regard to e-content. This has been disappointing.

How do you see the future of e-content development in your country?

In my opinion, the development of e-content in Ireland has slowed down significantly since the global market declined but now, there seems to be a pick up in the demand for e-content and therefore, supply will follow.

The Business Sector will always be focused on enhancing customer services and will consequently be committed to commercial innovation and market evolution.

The Government Sector also has a lot of work to do, not just in providing services to its citizens (which it is actively doing) but even more importantly, to manage and control the development and quality of its e-government portfolio. It is imperative that the citizen experience consistency while using these services. There are some excellent Irish examples of e-government but overall, the quality of service across various departments of the government is inconsistent.

Other developments in e-content are beginning to take place and there some great educational and cultural examples which show the creativity and innovation of Irish companies and institutions. The key is to ensure that innovation is supported by substance and that it can assist and deliver true benefits online.

As an expert in your country, what would be the five most important pillars of e-content development?

People: without inventive and creative people there is no e-content.

Commitment: without the commitment of the Project Team, there are no results.

Planning and Management: without careful planning, management and patience (!), projects fail.

Adequate Funding: E-content takes time and money. People deserve to be paid at the market rate for the work they do.

Realism: Many projects fail because they are far too ambitious and unsustainable.

Please explain which is the most preferred medium for e-content development: Print, TV, the Internet, Radio, Mobile/Wireless or a combination of some of these?

Clear winners are TV and Internet.

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