Report calls for more robust talent pipeline for Irish immersive tech sectorBlathnaid O’Deaon April 26, 2022 at 07:15 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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The Irish immersive technology sector currently employs more than 750 people in Ireland and is worth more than €43m. The sector has significant potential for future growth as 63pc of businesses working in immersive tech expect to grow in the coming 12 months.

That’s according to a new report published by Skillnet Ireland in association with Eirmersive, an organisation that advocates on behalf of Irish businesses in the immersive tech industry.

Eirmersive aims to position Ireland as a global player in the sector, however, the report highlighted a number of barriers obstructing its success.

The Irish Immersive Economy report found that there is a skills gap in the sector as well as a lack of networking and knowledge sharing happening between businesses.

“Immersive technologies have evolved rapidly in recent years,” said Tracey Donnery, executive director, Skillnet Ireland said. “For Ireland to be a global leader in this space, we need to ensure the immersive technologies talent base reflects not just current business demands but the challenges of future growth in existing and new markets.

“Central to achieving our potential in this space will be developing a robust skills and talent pipeline, a world-class research and development framework, and relevant business supports to start-ups and scaling up existing businesses.”

The report also found that the immersive tech sector is not receiving sufficient funding to capitalise on market opportunities. Ireland is also behind in terms of other countries when it comes to funding immersive tech.

However, investment within the sector itself is fairly robust. The majority of organisations surveyed for the report said they were certain they would either make a major investment (22.2pc) or explore new applications (40.5pc) over the coming year. A further 18.5pc said they saw a possibility that they would invest during the same period.

80pc of Irish immersive businesses are exporting to Europe and internationally. The report identified that Ireland’s export opportunities were a major strength to build upon. It also found that there was a relatively low awareness here in relation to the potential of immersive technologies. This could be rectified by building up the country’s immersive tech talent pool as well as creating a strong ecosystem for the sector to rely on and share knowledge.

The report also recommended that a new fund be put in place to harness the potential of immersive tech for businesses who might not be aware of its applications.

The sectors where immersive technologies are finding the widest application include education and research, software development and training and skills. Recently, Skillnet collaborated with TU Dublin to introduce a new course in power handling for pharma manufacturing using VR.

According to Susan Talbot, network manager for the Immersive Technologies Skillnet, the report provides a “baseline for future research around the Irish immersive ecosystem,” while helping to “align thinking and aid key decision-makers moving forward”.

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