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Digital Masterclass Featuring Google Digital Garage

Businesses in Antrim and Newtownabbey can learn about getting online and boost their digital skills for free as Google brings its Google Digital Garage, in partnership with the LEAN Business Network, to Mossley Mill on Wednesday 14 November 2018 from 5pm – 9pm.

The Google Digital Garage

The Google Digital Garage is a place where anyone can come and learn free digital skills to help them find a job, grow in their career, grow their confidence online, or grow a business.

Google launched the Google Digital Garage in the UK three years ago to help address this gap in opportunity and give people in the UK the skills they need, to achieve the goals they haven’t reached – yet.

In the last two years, over 200,000 people across the UK have benefitted from Google’s free face-to-face training on digital know-how.

Know your Business with Data

At the evening workshop, businesses will explore how Google Analytics can help them uncover trends about their customers, including how people use their website or interact with their business online through Know your Business with Data. Businesses will then have the opportunity to choose one of two workshops covering either Google Analytics or Google Maps for Business.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael commented: “Google Digital Garage visiting Antrim and Newtownabbey is a great opportunity for local businesses to gain new skills and knowledge and see how they can reach more customers and increase their business potential. It will be a pleasure for me to attend this prestigious event and welcome the many businesses it will bring to our Borough.”

Ronan Harris, Google UK & Ireland Managing Director, said: ‘In the digital age, a basic understanding of how the online world works is useful and when it comes to business, it’s essential. We are delighted to bring the Google Digital Garage to Antrim and Newtownabbey and ensure everyone has access to free digital skills workshops. We hope you’ll pop in and get the skills you need to become more confident online, grow your business and maybe even launch the next big idea.”

Get Digital

To book your place on a session E. events@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk. Find out more by visiting here.

Technology

Stage Set For New Screen Media Innovation Lab

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, with Ards and North Down Borough Council Chief Executive, Stephen Reid, are pictured at the Town Hall, Bangor Castle, during the BCRD meeting.

Ulster University’s plans for a new, world class Screen Media Innovation Lab (SMIL) were centre stage at today’s Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel meeting, hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council.

SMIL is set to play a key role in the Belfast region’s economic recovery post-COVID, by building on the success of Northern Ireland’s creative industries which already contribute over £1billion GVA to the NI economy and employ around 26,000 people.

As one of the City Deal’s innovation projects, SMIL will provide a Centre of Excellence in Research and Development, and Innovation in Virtual Production, where academics, researchers and the creative sectors can collaborate using state of the art facilities, helping to both sustain and grow jobs in one of Northern Ireland’s most successful sectors.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, who chaired today’s Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel meeting, said:

“The Belfast Region City Deal partners are focused on driving investment in our most resilient sectors, and in projects which will lead to sustained, long term regional growth and job creation.

“Demand for virtual content production is rapidly growing, but there’s currently a lack of capacity in this field. And because the Belfast region has already established strengths in film, broadcast, animation, games, and virtual, augmented and mixed reality – we’re perfectly positioned to establish this new Screen Media Innovation Lab and meet that demand.”

Facilitating Virtual Innovation

Professor Frank Lyons, Associate Dean of Research and Impact, Co-Director of The Creative Industries Institute and Ulster University’s Academic Lead on the SMIL project, said:

“As well as facilitating the levels of virtual innovation that will make us world leaders, SMIL will provide training and development opportunities to strengthen our talent pipeline, meeting the needs of the sector and boosting our productivity. In conjunction with the Belfast Harbour Film Studio complex, SMIL will drive collaboration in R&D on an unprecedented scale.

“SMIL has the potential to completely transform our creative industries, providing the platform for local companies to compete globally and establishing the Belfast region as a destination of choice for investment.”

Transformative Programme of Investment

Momentum continues to build for the Belfast Region City Deal, with the aim that a deal will be signed this summer to kick off this transformative programme of investment in innovation and digital, tourism and regeneration, infrastructure and employability and skills.

With the NI Executive’s commitment of £350m to match fund the investment of £350m from the UK Government, the overall investment package from both governments and BRCD partners currently stands at £850m for this ambitious 15-year programme. The government and partner investment will leverage critical private sector investment that will ensure delivery of a deal with a value well in excess of £1billion.

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First Beneficiaries of Project Stratum Connected to Next Generation Access Broadband

Economy Minister Diane Dodds meets with Tara Hamill, one of the first beneficiaries of Project Stratum, and Chief Operating Officer for Fibrus Networks Ltd Conor Harrison. Credit: Aaron McCracken

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has welcomed the announcement Fibrus Networks has connected its first customers to Next Generation Access broadband under Project Stratum.

Just three months into the awarding of the Project Stratum contract, the first OLT (Optical Line Termination) in Coalisland, County Tyrone is now live with the first customers connected.

Once completed Project Stratum, the £165million broadband improvement scheme, will radically transform rural broadband connectivity by extending gigabit capable full fibre broadband infrastructure to approximately 76,000 homes and businesses across Northern Ireland.

Project Stratum is Life Changing

Commenting after speaking to Tara Hamill, one of the first beneficiaries of Project Stratum, the Minister said: “In today’s world we are especially reliant on our broadband services and good connectivity. More and more of our work and leisure time is spent online and if you don’t have access to good broadband this can be a real issue. Speaking to Tara Hamill has underscored the difference Project Stratum can make to peoples lives and how it is bringing tangible benefits to householders.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds meets with Tara Hamill, one of the first beneficiaries of Project Stratum, and Chief Operating Officer for Fibrus Networks Ltd Conor Harrison. Credit: Aaron McCracken

“I know there are many communities, especially in rural areas, which have been waiting a long time for improvements in their broadband speeds. These first connections demonstrate Fibrus Networks have the capability and capacity to deliver full fibre solutions, with speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, to many rural premises transforming the broadband connectivity landscape for individuals and businesses across Northern Ireland.”

“I want to congratulate Fibrus Networks on reaching the first significant milestone and I look forward to hearing about their continued deployment in bringing the benefits of Next Generation Access broadband to many more neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland.”

Commitment and Dedication

Chief Operating Officer for Fibrus Networks Ltd Conor Harrison added: “The logistical planning and immediate execution of this work is testament to the commitment and dedication of Fibrus, as well as the skill of our team who are equipped and ready to deliver full fibre broadband to the people of Northern Ireland.”

UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “Access to fast and reliable broadband is a central focus of our mission to build back better. The UK government has invested £150million in Project Stratum to roll out top-of-the-range speeds not just to towns and cities but to rural communities across Northern Ireland. It’s great news for thousands of people and I’m excited to see the first customers plugged in to these game-changing gigabit connections.”

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