Over a third (37%) of Irish SMEs still do not have a website or any online presence whatsoever, according to a recent survey by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR).

The statistic, alongside other revealing figures which show 91% of Irish SMEs cannot process sales online and 54% do not have websites optimised for mobile browsing, were outlined this morning at the launch of Ireland’s first ever “Internet Day” at the CHQ Building.

In a panel discussion titled 2030: The future of the internet, Rudy de Waele; Rob Leslie, Founder and CEO of Irish cybersecurity startup Sedicii; and Patrick Walsh, Managing Director of Dogpatch Labs glimpsed into the next 15 years of the internet. Mr Leslie, commenting on cybercrime and identity theft, said that the European Commission values each individual’s personal data at €2,000 per annum, while identities are already being sold online in black markets for as little €19.

In a second panel discussion titled Activating the digital marketplace for Irish SMEs, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR;  Patricia Callan, Director of the SFA; Marie Davis, Head of SME Sales (Ireland) at Google; and Mark Cummins, cofounder of Pointy, discussed e-commerce and how Irish SMEs must have digital in mind for growth and sustainability.

David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “Ireland is a world-renowned technology hub and we attract some of the best talent and best companies in the world. While this is a great thing, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the profound contributions Irish academics, engineers and businesspeople have made to the expansion of the global interconnected internet.”

“Internet Day is a celebration and exploration of Ireland’s online heritage which outlines its greatest milestones and its most innovative contributors. It also gives us the opportunity to reflect on areas that we need to improve in, especially in important areas like e-commerce and mobile optimisation of Irish SME websites.

“Indeed, our findings from May this year highlight a serious deficit. 37% of Irish SMEs have no online presence whatsoever, while 91% cannot process sales online. In November, we will have a further update on these figures.”

“We hope that members of the public will take a moment to visit the exhibition and gain a deeper insight into how we, as a country, use the internet, and remember some of the Irish men, women and businesses behind it.”

A number of definitive gadgets from the early internet era and the forefront of today’s technological innovation, including the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, the Sega Dreamcast and a 3D printer, were on display for guests to view and interact with.

Internet Day’s free public exhibition on The History and the Future of the Internet in Ireland will remain in the CHQ Building until Friday, 6 November.

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