Limerick’s economy was once driven by its port in the River Shannon, salmon fishing and its bacon industry. The latter was so important Limerick even earned the name Pigtown.
All three industries declined in importance over time, but other factors helped the city bring in the financial bacon. Take Shannon Airport, located just 20km from Limerick, which was the world’s first to introduce duty-free tax. And both the University of Limerick and the Limerick Institute of Technology brought science, technology and engineering students to the city.
More recently, the council introduced its Limerick2030 programme with the promise of a €500 million infrastructure investment.
Tech scene in Limerick
The tech scene in Limerick is inevitably entwined with Dell.
The American giant opened a manufacturing plant in Limerick in 1991, employing 3,000 people at its peak. But then came the 2008 financial crisis; under pressure to reduce costs, Dell moved its operations to Poland. 1,900 people lost their jobs, with some analysts estimating that another four to five people were affected indirectly for each job.
But Limerick’s tech scene is nothing if not resilient, continuing to thrive. Dell remains a big part of it, with its Innovation Lab employing around 1,200 people, but the international giant has competition. In 2017, Limerick tech companies captured the highest amount of funding among all cities in Ireland, bringing in €72.7 million.
In this instalment of tech companies around the world, we highlight top tech companies in Limerick that are representative of the city’s growing momentum. Without further ado…:
Few industries have benefited more from digital transformation than healthcare. For starters, digitised data is endlessly more accessible than its equivalent recorded on paper. Then there’s the fact that “going paperless” means facilities no longer require the physical storage space to store a record. Nor the paper, ink and printer to create it in the first place. Finally, data accuracy tends to be higher when collected through digital forms compared to physical ones.
Kneat doesn’t exclusively serve customers in healthcare. The company describe its product as “e-validation software”, but we think even that undersells its power. In our view, Kneat is really a productivity tool. While it’s designed to digitally validate workflows, processes and documents, it’s the way it pairs those capabilities with collaboration features that make it stand out.
To facilitate that collaboration, it includes features that you’d often find in project management software. Think user access management, collaborative document creation, data tagging and approval workflows. Plus reporting tools built off the back of all the activity tracked within workspaces.
The cherry on top is its logbook management capabilities. These include the ability to create uneditable audit trails, which are a legal requirement for some industries.
As of writing, Kneat’s platform is used by more than 17,000 users, including eight of the top ten pharmaceutical companies worldwide.
Artificial intelligence is in pole position to be buzzword of the year. Yet, more often than you’d think, when people allude to AI’s ability to replace jobs they really mean its less fashionable cousin: automation.
When it comes to finance, automation is a big deal. From stocks being traded in real-time, to banks pre-approving mortgage applications, automation is the quiet MVP that enables humans to save time in an industry where the old adage “time is money” holds.
Which brings us to Cashbook. For more than 30 years, the company has provided customers with tailored software solutions that help their finance departments automate processes, with a particularly strong track record integrating with Infor’s ERP offering.
On its website, Cashbooks states that, on average, its solutions help businesses automate more than 95% of cash transactions, 85% of deductions and 95% of bank reconciliations. Tasks that might otherwise require human resources to execute. It’s not just the human capital expense though; automation also tends to help with accuracy, timeliness and forecasting ability, in turn enabling businesses to focus on what drives growth.
Customers seem to agree. Cashbooks operates across more than 25 countries, integrating with more than 200 banks and serving clients such as Bridgestone, Formica and Makita.
Chips are everywhere. The device you’re using to read this article has them. So does your TV, your watch and even your fridge. But just because chips, or more accurately semiconductors, are ubiquitous doesn’t mean they are easy or cheap to make.
If your company is in the business of developing products that use a lot of them and does so at scale — companies such as LG Electronics or Raspberry Pi — then it becomes a priority to ensure those semiconductors are used as efficiently as possible. This is where yieldHUB comes into play.
Founded in 2005 — back then as MFG Vision — the Irish company set out to help engineers understand how the semiconductors they use are performing. In simple terms, throughout the different stages of manufacturing an electronic product, there will be endless amounts of data that needs to be analysed for the final output to be successful. Data stemming from safety tests, performance tests, compatibility analysis and dozens of other variables.
yieldHUB’s founder, John O’Donnell, is an engineer by trade and realised first-hand that data was often unstructured or produced in formats that made it hard to digest. yieldHUB’s offering reflects that insight; it equips companies with business intelligence and analytics capabilities that enable them to visualise the data coming out of their production workflows, giving them better control of their yields.
yieldHUB isn’t the only company in Limerick whose business is intrinsically connected to the semiconductor industry.
In 2007, Emutex launched as a software development company servicing businesses whose products require purpose-built applications that can interface with the hardware they use. The use cases are wide and varied; the company has developed solutions for fuel monitoring systems, portable alarm monitors, networking devices and Intel’s Edison Kit for Arduino. Just to name a few.
In 2012, Emutex was accepted into Intel’s Partner Alliance. As a member, it gained access to a network of other Intel partners; a perfect marriage for a B2B company looking to work with other companies leveraging Intel’s solutions. Membership also meant an inside track on Intel’s capabilities, which in turn armed Emutex with the knowledge and ability to take on more complex projects.
Two years later, in 2014, Emutex launched ubiworx, an Internet of Things (IoT) software framework designed for embedded systems running on Linux. For Emutex, that meant pairing its software with its experience of offering professional services to numerous clients.
More importantly, it was an inroad into the growing Internet of Things field, at a time when it was becoming increasingly evident that more devices would soon be interfacing with other devices. This made it appealing to an even wider range of clients, including BP. And BP would go own to acquire ubiworx in 2018 through its global solar company Lightsource BP. Emutex remains as a standalone company.
Speaking of the Internet of Things… let’s have a look at SmartFactory.
Say your company operates an assembly line. During maintenance, your production experiences downtime, while technicians do whatever work is needed. You naturally want to track how much that downtime costs you. To do so, you might have staff keep a maintenance log with start-to-finish timestamps.
Alternatively, you could deploy SmartFactory’s wireless sensors. These automatically track that activity — or the absence of it — and have that activity tracking turned into data that can be circulated downstream.
The advantages here are similar to the benefits of automation we discussed above when profiling Cashbooks: wireless sensors and other devices essentially automate tracking data that is essential for a manufacturing plant to run as efficiently as possible. If you’re a factory plant manager, you want to spend your time fixing problems, not finding them. You need to know where to look and, typically, the less that process is reliant on humans, the more accurate and scalable it tends to be.
The example above gives you an idea of the kind of work SmartFactory does. Naturally, it goes beyond sensors. The company offers a full range of hardware integrations — touchscreens, industrial PCs and energy monitors, to name but a few — and, in many cases, runs its own software to tap into that hardware. SmartFactory is all about leveraging IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) to help clients, particularly those in the supply chain, logistics and manufacturing verticals.
The next company on our list, Teckro, is leaving its mark on the world in a very different way.
In recent years, the field of collaboration software has become narrower and more tailored. Across many verticals, companies have flourished because of their ability to offer collaboration tools that are specific to the needs of clients, rather than one size-fits-all. Esper — which we recently wrote about in our Top Tech Companies in Austin article — is one such example of a collaboration tool handcrafted for US Government Agencies. Teckro is another such example, this time catering to organisations running clinical trials.
Clinical trials are a detail-oriented affair, with companies often pouring millions into research and development with no guarantee of returns. That’s why pharmaceutical companies sponsoring research want to connect with test data and research staff directly; it allows them to identify issues early on and correct the course where possible.
Used worldwide by more than 34,000 sites, Teckro offers its customers the benefit of a centralised digital platform. Access rights can be set for different stakeholders involved in a research study. Those users can communicate with each other through the platform (available as an app or via a browser), manage all the documentation that accompanies the study (including versioning control) and derive insights from all the activity being logged in the platform.
Founded in 2015, Teckro now has more than 150 employees across its two offices in Limerick and Dublin. It works with seven of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies and is ISO 27001 certified in Europe.
As any facility manager will tell you, half the battle of managing a site is keeping an organised record of everything that happens. There are assets of all kinds that need maintenance; contractors who come and go; access rights to consider, health and safety procedures to adhere. And, while all of that is balancing in the air, the small matter of staff going about their day-to-day work.
So how do you make sure you don’t forget about the date the elevator needs maintenance? Or that there’s fruit in the main conference room? Or whichever one of the dozens of tasks that have not only deadlines but costs associated with them?
Well, there’s more than one way… but in 2023 you should consider Facilities Management Software, the kind that Trackplan Software specialises in.
Founded in 2015, the company’s appeal can be gleaned from how varied its client list is. Lidl, the Australian Open, The Netherlands Embassy and the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago are all clients. It’s not the only measure of its offering though. In addition to winning the 2020 Facilities Management Awards for Innovation in Technology Systems Providers, the company also boosts high ratings across popular software comparison sites, with a 4.7/5 rating on Capterra, a 4.8/5 on G2 and a 4.5/5 on SoftwareAdvice.
Do you think your company should be profiled in this article? Or perhaps you would like another city to be profiled. Email us at [email protected] and let us know.
Nathalie Parent, Chief People Officer at Shift Technology: “HR is the conscience of an organisation”
For more than 30 years, Nathalie Parent has led global HR teams, working primarily with software companies. Today she’s Chief People Officer at Shift Technology
Amazon introduces new storage class that makes it cheaper to store rarely used files
Robot carers are real, but caregiving has bigger problems, writes Richard Trenholm in this FlashForward edition