A mobile data system will provide fire crews in Northern Ireland with vital access to operational information during emergencies. Fire engines will be equipped with a mobile data terminal and the upgrade represents a "significant improvement" on the current paper-based system. By Helen Beckett [27/07/2010]
The investment in the new technology tops up previous spending of £1.5m on a Tetra digital radio system for Northern Ireland's fire service and the investment of £700,000 on the upgrade of a command and control system.
According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers consultancy, the contract is typical of other technology roll-outs in the province. "Most of the IT transformation work we undertake is a move away from a paper-based system, and is driven in part by the desire to remove duplication and reduce cost", said Paul Atkinson, PWC partner with the Belfast office.
Additionally, he confirmed, "80 per cent of all change projects here have an element of IT in them. There is an increase in both private and public sector IT implementations". This is in spite of the challenging economic climate.
PWC has two offices in Northern Ireland and is seeking to maximise on the proportionally higher numbers of IT graduates that come through the higher education system in order to mop up local work. Neighbouring Republic of Ireland has long since carved out a reputation for excellence in software engineering and also the provision of offshore call centres and technical support.
Atkinson said that PWC is in hiring mood in its NI offices and in particular is seeking to recruit ‘returners’. “We’re interested to hear from professionals with skills and experience who are looking to come back”.
• The overall number of vacancies fell throughout the year, there is still a reasonable level of recruitment activity with one in ten ICT companies currently recruiting, predominantly software development and technical support roles.
• Despite the current labour market conditions, four in five companies with vacancies suggest they are finding them hard to fill with technical and leadership skills, and experience (ranging from 2-5 years for technical and software roles to 10+ years for senior management) lacking in particular.
• Company optimism has picked up with over half of ICT companies more optimistic about the general business situation than they were three months ago
• The outlook more generally for 2010, is rosier with a third of companies expecting to increase the number of ICT staff employed at their site and just 1% expecting a decrease. Whilst for many, recruiting new staff is not expected to pose problems, one in four companies still anticipate recruitment difficulties mainly because of a lack of skills and experience in applicants
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