By @SimonCocking. Interesting interview with Rick Nassar Tech Head | Passionate about | Evangelist | Co-Founder | PhD Student at UCD | & Co-Organisor

What is your background briefly?

A complete Tech head, Entrepreneur and Startups with a big interest in rapid innovation. With professional history in startups (successful & otherwise), events managements and the dreaded telesales. Been an Entrepreneur for over 10 years starting with a consultation business in Dubai and then setting up a retail outlet in Kerry. My new and I dare say paid job is Operations Manager in IT & Sales for a retail chain in Cork.

Was / is it a logical progression to what you do now?

My first ever PC was an IBM 5150 which kickstarted my fascination with technology. I always knew I was going to be in Tech and sure thing here I am!

How was the last 12 months? Good / bad / do different?

Horrible! (Chuckling with laughter). Late last year my business closed and that was a very down moment in my life. but I was lucky to have a very loving, and patient, wife who supported my latest decisions, one of which is accepting a PhD candidacy at UCD that focuses on IoT and its relation to rural development.

You’re involved with startups, what tips would you give to people who are starting?

THE TEAM! It is the foundation that will build an amazing and successful business. Many times have I seen winning concepts throughout the startup weekends that perished due to lack of good and inspiring team. Don’t be a lone wolf, share your love for what you do.

Tell us about your move to a more rural area? What inspired you, how is it going?

Honestly it is the family that brought me here. I always say there are three way one can end up in such a beautiful rural town you either come over for a reason, getting away from a reason or simply are a local of the place! I love it though. To all fellow city boys thinking for venturing out of the comforts of their urban life, it will grow on you eventually.


How easy is it currently to work remotely / rurally?

It was quite difficult to work rurally at first, especially for previous urban dwellers as myself. Like all other places, there are good and bads. It’s quite, everyone knows everyone, and sometimes too remote for a good social scene. On the other hand the views are stunning, locals are welcoming, and broadband is brilliant!

What excites you about IoT? How soon can we see some of the potential innovations?

IoT, just like the internet, is the next technological evolution. If you compare technology to the Earth’s ecosystem, IoT is the Ozone that keeps all communicating tech alive and safe yet vulnerable if abused. If I was to be more specific on what innovation with the most potential, it would be Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially in the administration & governance of the IoT environment. We only scratched the surface in AI and the potential is enormous.

What is a living IoT lab?

IoT LivingLab is a Social Enterprise with a mission, to disrupt centralisation. Our first project is leading the Cahersiveen IoT pilot programme that has become Europe’s first ever truly Interconnected Rural Town.

The initiative was fully backed and funded by the Local Enterprise Office in Kerry, who generously allocated a first phase fund of €20,000 with partners like HP, Aruba, and Kii IoT Platform. The project is a test bed for prototyping pre-commercial products and services. Universities and colleges have also expressed interest in using the test bed for several case studies related to IoT. Some of the technologies we also include BLE Beacons, RFID, NFC and Sensory pods that can identify and broadcast weather patterns, climate changes and CO2 emissions in real time. It has been a successful year so far and hopefully the living lab will be one of the major centres of IoT innovation in Ireland and Europe.

Anything else to add / we should have asked?

The living lab is only beginning. It is part of a bigger picture that will change the way we look at Rural development. More to come soon!


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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