Invest Northern Ireland is supporting a 30-strong digital technology group hoping to take advantage of new business opportunities in telecommunications, telemedicine and games flowing from Apple iPhone applications (apps).
The group, drawn from local digital media companies, the two Northern Ireland universities and Belfast Metropolitan College, is being assisted by Invest NI to take part in the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, from 8-12 June.
New ideas for Apple iPhone apps, a major growth area for the global communications and music technology leader, will figure strongly during the week-long event.
In addition to attendance at the influential Apple event, group members will be engaged in a series of networking meetings with other technology leaders in California’s Silicon Valley.
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, commenting on the important global technology forum, said: “As a result of Apple marketing the iPhone as offering an ‘app for everything’, the company is now leading another revolution in digital convergent technologies.
“Our objective in helping smaller technology companies and university research centres to attend this event is to enable them to assess the opportunities for their digital expertise, perhaps coming up with new apps or other ideas from what is probably the world’s biggest and most interactive technology platform.
“It will give them opportunities to talk and exchange ideas with other digital technology leaders from the US and further afield,” she added.
Over 1,000 Apple engineers will be presenting the latest technologies for the iPhone, IPod and Apple operating platforms during the week.
The event features an intensive programme of technical sessions presented by Apple engineers that cover every aspect of the powerful technologies that drive the company’s products and the new ideas being developed in the labs at its Cupertino headquarters in Silicon Valley. These include guidance on how to develop technology for existing and future Apple products. Opportunities are also provided for participants to work in the labs with Apple engineers to gain insights into their development techniques for new technology and products.
Two Northern Ireland companies, EyeSpyFx in Londonderry and Infurious in Belfast have already provided Apple apps for the iPhone. EyeSpyFX supplies web-cam viewing software and Infurious supplies a Comic Reader application.
Anthony Hutton, Managing Director of EyeSpyFX said, “The App Store presented a much better return on investment than developing another mobile platform”.
Philip Orr, Director of Infurious, said: "The potential for delivery of audio, video and interactivity to a device which is always in your pocket, always connected to the Internet and always knows where you are is simply amazing."