A new report addressing the future of the Western region has been launched by the Western Development Commission and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. Its authors say the report provides a roadmap to help stakeholders to address economic disparities along the Atlantic coast and to put the Western region on a more competitive footing internationally.

The report, entitled “Smart Atlantic Way – A Roadmap towards a Smart Region”, provides a plan for a Smart Region encompassing counties such as Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

Speaking at the launch in Roscommon yesterday, Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development at the Western Development Commission (WDC), said: “Designing and implementing a Smart Region capability in the West of Ireland is a key step to addressing disparity and distance issues facing non-urban environments. The integration of the Internet of Things with cost and labour saving physical devices will go a long way to unlocking potential in the region. As such the WDC is excited to work with regional stakeholders, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Ireland’s national data science centre supported by Science Foundation Ireland, to initiate the steps to ensure the West of Ireland region achieves its aim to become the Smart Atlantic Way.”

There are five main pillars described in the report:

Priority 1: Smart Regional Observatory

Priority 2: Data Infrastructure and Services

Priority 3: E Governance

Priority 4: Smart Business Network

Priority 5: Smart Communities

The full report is available at http://smartatlanticway.ie

The report was be officially launched by Ivan Connaughton, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council. Mathieu D’Aquin, the head of the Insight Centre in NUI Galway and lead author of the report, presented on behalf of Insight and Clodagh Barry presented on behalf of the Western Development Commission. Others involved in the launch include, Stephen Brennan – Ireland’s Chief Digital Advisor, Jeremy Millard – European eGov advisor, Adegboyega Ojo – Head of eGov at Insight, Niall Connolly – NUI Maynooth, Carmel Austin – Mayo County Council, Niall Ó Brolcháin, Lukasz Porwol and Umair ul Hassan all from Insight in NUI Galway.

According to Mathieu D’Aquin, “Our Smart Region in the North-West of Europe has great assets that can be used to make it compete with the most advanced economies in Europe and the World. This will require time, leadership, commitment and investment.”

“I am delighted to send my best wishes to the attendees at the launch of the report, Smart Atlantic Way – A Roadmap towards a Smart Region in Roscommon today. I look forward to working closely with the WDC and other organisations as we strive to develop a smart region that will be of benefit to us all,” said Oliver Daniels, CEO Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

“As the new CEO of the Western Development Commission, I see today’s launch in Roscommon of the report, Smart Atlantic Way – A Roadmap towards a Smart Region as a key plank in the platform for future growth across the region. This roadmap offers the opportunity to enable sustainable decision making at all levels, and in the longer term will build a dynamic skills base that will facilitate balanced regional development both within the region, and against benchmark comparative regions across the world,” said Tomás Ó Siocháin, CEO Western Development Commission.

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