Category: Business

Place Your Bets: Integrated ticketing in Dublin by IBM, over budget by how much?

Times are tough so we can’t be completely screwed to the wall these days, only partially. Traditionally in Ireland we go over budget by multiples, but I don’t think IBM would get away with that with this one.

However, going over budget by less an 100% in Ireland would probably result in IBM being bullied in the playground, so I’m betting on 100% over budget, plus or minus 10%. What’s your estimate?

ENN: IBM is to develop and implement an infrastructure for an Integrated Ticketing System ITS across all public transport in the greater Dublin area. The tech heavyweight was chosen by the Railway Procurement Agency RPA to develop and roll out an e-payment system to enable commuters to use a single pre-paid smart card for travel on all buses, trains, trams and coaches in the city. The integrated IBM back-office system will provide ticket and smart card management, central reconciliation and settlement services to all public transport providers. The system is part of Ireland’s “Transport 21” project. Work on the project will begin immediately and a phased deployment of the system will start in late 2009. Financial details of the contract were not revealed.

Foot.ie Longlisted for Irish Web Awards

No kudos deserved, I nominated it myself. It’s been around for a long time, I reckon it’s due something.

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I was longlisted personally for a Netvisionary, but I have no idea why so I reckon that’s about as far as it’ll go! Thanks for the nomination by the way, you strange, strange person!

What Your Global Neighbors Are Buying

Interesting visualisation of spending. I was surprised by the Electronics stat for Ireland, must be just my peer group.

New York Times: How people spend their discretionary income – the cash that goes to clothing, electronics, recreation, household goods, alcohol – depends a lot on where they live. People in Greece spend almost 13 times more money on clothing as they do on electronics. People living in Japan spend more on recreation than they do on clothing, electronics and household goods combined. Americans spend a lot of money on everything.

Mendes & Cork City Council GoCar Car Sharing

This is an absolutely brilliant service. I realise it’s not new, but still, fair balls to Cork City Council for innovating at an Irish level.

Car-pool programme initiated in Cork city (Sunday Business Post)

Residents of Cork city can sign up to share a pool of cars under a new transport initiative.

Cork City Council has entered a partnership with Mendes GoCar, a company that will provide vehicles for car-sharing for periods of as little as one hour.

It is the first time the system has been used in Ireland, but it has been in operation in Switzerland and Germany for 20 years, and for more than ten years in other parts of Europe, Britain and the US.

Private users of the system sign up online and pay a once-off fee of €50, while business customers register for €100 and pay €25 for any additional drivers. All users must have a full licence with at least two years’ driving experience, and have to pay a refundable deposit of €200.

Once authorised, they get a smartcard which unlocks the cars at a particular time, and a customer identification number, which is entered into a handset to start the car. There are eight vehicles in the fleet – six Ford Fiestas, one Ford Focus and one Ford Transit.

(Thanks for the pointer Damien.)

Tweetrush Is Here

A project I would love to have been more involved with, hopefully I’ll be forgiven for opting out to get married…

Well done to AJ, Grzegorz, James, Slawomir and Walter for getting  their  Tweetrush proof of concept Techcrunched today. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with the lads in their lair last week, and there’s been very little doubt in my mind since that this demo of their upcoming Rush Hour engine was going to get slashdotted today. (Although I notice that it is still up!) I only hope I’ll be allowed in the door again to work on future projects with them!

(Special mention to Damien and Pat for helping hands too, I reckon.)

Nokia to buy and open source Symbian

I wouldn’t be mad about the Symbian platform, but this is still huge news, it has a huge install base.

Symbian co-founder Nokia announced Monday night that it is buying the 52 percent of the software maker that it doesn’t already own and releasing its mobile operating system under an open source license.

Someone should buy nineties-thinker Tavis McCourt some clue though:

“With the success of Apple’s and RIM’s models, we would have thought traditional handset vendors would develop and maintain similar proprietary OS models,” said Tavis McCourt, a Morgan Keegan analyst. “We view this move as a long-term positive for the smartphone vendors that own their own OS (RIM, Apple and, soon, Palm).”

The Planet Bad, StatCounter Good

I was affected by this outage at The Planet last week. Outage is understatement of the month, the server disappeared on Saturday, came back up on Tuesday night, was gone again on Monday morning, and stayed that way until Wednesday. The line of problems was horrendous, and although DR procedures were way off the mark, in truth The Planet had a very unlucky succession of failures the like of which we haven’t seen since… well, since a somewhat similar event in the mocky-ah capital above there on the east coast.

There was an outpouring of screaming and shouting by customers, and you can understand why: two big data floors were offline, which took down dedicated racks, dedicated servers, reseller accounts, businesses and end users. A whole vertical was shouting at them, including people that weren’t even their customers. Me, I didn’t bother, I’ve dealt with them before and I know what they’re like: I moved the last two users I had on a box in H! to a machine in CIX, wiped the box and handed it back to them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Meanwhile StatCounter was feeling the burn. At least internally. Did they get shouted at? Not really, in fact for the most part they were heaped with praise for their actions and communications. Know why? Because they give a crap about their customers, they talk to them, and it’s obvious in everything they do. The Planet is their diametric opposite — customers come way, way below the bottom line, they’re simply an annoyance that only deserve scripted responses.

If you want to learn about the web business, come away from the YUI docs and put down the Symfony manual, and read the comments on StatCounter’s blog. Then go explore the rest of their site, and their forums, and learn why they got that reaction. That’s how you’ll create a successful web business. If you build it they might come, but they won’t stay unless you run it like Aodhan and his team.

Look At Me, In The FT!

Bizarre. I got a fair bit of coverage when I was PRO of IrelandOffline, including one moment of international fame on Wired, but the FT? Yowsa!

IT going green: Data centre boasts of ‘Intel-powered heating’: […] Mr Raftery and his business partners, Jerry Sweeny and Adam Beecher, looked at cutting energy costs, and apart from buying some of the most energy-efficient equipment on the market, they came up with several ideas. […]

In truth it’s a little bit previous, since we’ve only just ordered the components to contain the aisles and the heat exchangers are a bit down the road, but we’re not actually generating that much heat yet. 10 cabs occupied though, more reserved; breakeven hoving into view there in the distance! :)

O2 Ireland’s ARPU falls in Q1

Excellent, about time they stopped raping Irish users. Now all they need to do is cut it by another 50% or so.

SiliconRepublic: Mobile operator O2 said this morning that monthly blended average revenue per user (ARPU) “combining voice and data revenue” fell from €45.2 in the fourth quarter to €44.2 in the first quarter of 2008.