Day 3 of Tech Trek 2017: It’s a small world when you’re a Greyhound

By Paul Tallon, Ph.D.

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Today—our last day of company visits in Dublin—opened with an alumni panel. Yes, Loyola alums really do get around and, in this case, it wasn’t difficult to find a number of Dublin-based alums willing to chat with our group first thing in the morning.

Brittany Beckert (Marketing/IS 2013), Billy Sheehy (History 2006), Jim Healy (Psychology 1999), and Margaret Ward (English 1988) shared insights into their post-Loyola experience, how Loyola prepared them for the workforce, cultural differences between living and working in the U.S. versus Ireland, and thoughts on Brexit and the changing political environment in the U.S. The pace of life, they noted, is slower in Ireland where business is heavily based on personal relationships. Slow down and smell the roses. Get to know people and what drives their lives.

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After checking out of our hotel, we boarded our bus for a short drive to our first company visit of the day to AOL.

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Ad placement on websites is, it seems, a really complex dance between users, advertisers, and suppliers. Yet again, we discovered that data analytics is reshaping an industry where ad placement decisions are made billions of times each day. The delivery of the right ad to the right person at the right time is no longer based on gut decision making… it’s now a matter of using first (AOL owned), second (partner owned), and third party (purchased) data.

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After lunch, we jumped back on the bus for a trip outside Dublin to the massive Intel manufacturing plant and their Internet of Things (IoT) lab. Students were first invited by our host to stare at their nails for six seconds. A strange request, you might say, until Intel informed us that in this six second period, our nails had grown by 7nm or about the same dimensions as an Intel transistor which is now operating at near atomic levels. Yes, it really is that small.

After an informative Q&A session where we learned about the role of continuous innovation and the need to fail fast (a recurring theme in our many company visits to this point), we toured Intel IoT lab. We saw IoT technologies that have real world application in operating rooms, animal feeding, flood control, entertainment, and healthcare. Sensors are the future. Get used to it! And data… there’s going to be a lot more data as we ramp up IoT. Intel continues to see itself as a compute platform company and less of a user of data from those platforms.

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After Intel, we dashed off to Heuston Station for our train trip to Cork. And now we’re at the River Lee hotel, next door to UCC. When strolling up the street outside the hotel, I bumped into Cameron Smith, one of my advisees who is on a semester abroad at UCC. Our group has a lot of friends who are also at UCC this semester, so close friendships are being renewed over a pint at Reardens.

Cork is a small, close-knit city where everyone really does know everyone else. Tomorrow, we visit Dell EMC, VMware, and Boston Scientific. Cork will be a very different experience than what we saw in Dublin. Where Dublin has its Silicon Docks and high tech companies on every street, Cork is all about manufacturing. Next time, you visit the doctor, you might be surprised to discover that some of their medical devices are made here in Cork. You’re also a Dell EMC user… you just don’t know it but if you have data anywhere out there in the cloud, then it’s probably on an EMC box.

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Follow the students’ travels here.

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