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Ireland’s First Future Tech Challenge Final Involving Public Service Bodies and Tech Firms

Minister of State, Ossian Smyth TD, will attend the Future Tech Challenge final, which sees public bodies competing to secure a share of a total of €300k in funding with Amazon Web Services(AWS), Cisco and IBM.

The competition is being coordinated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with the support of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. In this new initiative public servants will be competing to secure funding to develop innovative technological projects that deliver improved services to the public.

Speaking about the Future Tech Challenge final, Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth said, “I commend the imaginative proposals the public service community has generated in this, the department’s first Future Tech Challenge final. This competition highlights how teams of resourceful public servants are adding value to their organisations. It shows how they are constructing higher standards of technological and innovation excellence in the public service, and modelling fresh ways of serving our citizens.”

“I am impressed by the way our public bodies have responded to the challenges they experience by wholeheartedly embracing emerging technology to futureproof how high quality public services are provided. In addition, I want to thank Amazon Web Services, Cisco and IBM for being part of the Future Tech Challenge final. I look forward to seeing the completed winning projects, and sharing and publishing the outcomes of each.”

“Despite the complex constraints posed by COVID-19, our public servants continue to innovate. They are doing this by harnessing technological opportunities that will benefit people across different sectors of society, nationwide. The Future Tech Challenge final is an example of this government’s plans to drive innovation, experimentation and technology adoption across our public service. Innovation will continue to be a cornerstone of government policy and practice in the years ahead.”

A diverse range of public bodies, some of which have partnered together, have been shortlisted in the final which feature novel technological proposals such as the drone delivery of medicine to island inhabitants, automated mobile robot delivery of medications on hospital wards, and enhanced management of bovine TB using data to prevent risk.

The Future Tech Challenge competition was launched in June 2021 and sought entries from public service bodies seeking to creatively collaborate with technology companies AWS, Cisco, and IBM on innovation projects that create more efficient and effective services for citizens.

The Future Tech Challenge final, hosted in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin, features three mini competitions in which public bodies pitch their proposals to a panel of public and private sector judges. The three winners will each be offered prizes of work or materials, up to the value of €100,000, by the respective company sponsor of each category.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said, “the Future Tech Challenge final demonstrates how private and public service partnerships can drive fresh new work practices to manage strategic change. The government’s Making Innovation Real strategy outlines how innovation delivered today in the public service can shape the lives of our people tomorrow. It illustrates how a culture of innovation can be created, ideas shared, innovations scaled up, and long lasting transformations achieved across the public sector.”

Each competition winner in the Future Tech Challenge final will work with a relevant company sponsor in three areas of technological expertise:

  • Cloud Technology – In collaboration with Amazon Web Services(AWS)
  • Remote Connectivity – In collaboration with Cisco
  • Artificial Intelligence – In collaboration with IBM

Mark Finlay, Head of Public Sector (Republic of Ireland), Amazon Web Services said, “AWS is delighted to be working with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in support of the Future Tech Challenge final. Innovation is at the very heart of AWS and the cloud computing technology we provide helps organisations – of all different shapes and sizes – to digitally transform. We are proud to support the cloud-element of the Future Tech Challenge and to work with project teams from across the Irish public sector who are just as passionate as we are about the power of cloud computing to enhance public services. We wish all the short-listed teams the very best of luck.”

Brian Jordan, Head of Innovation and Industry Solutions, Cisco Ireland commented, “Cisco Ireland would like to commend the creativity and vision demonstrated by the Irish public service with the range of digital transformation projects submitted to the Future Tech Challenge final. Each of the submissions demonstrated the potential for new citizen experiences and improved operational models to drive better outcomes in the delivery of public services. We wish each of the finalists the best of luck and look forward to collaborating with the winning entry.”

David Czerniak, Country Manager, IBM Technology said, “data is the foundation for our public service to drive smarter decisions. Data is what fuels digital transformation. But it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) that unlocks the value of that data, which is why AI is poised to transform our everyday lives. IBM has been really impressed with the innovative proposals from the Irish public sector and is proud to be the Data and AI partner of the Our Public Service Future Tech Challenge.”

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