The Innovation in Business Centre in Castlebar is nestled behind the trees on the busy ring road and adjacent to the bustling GMIT. Many people probably do not know of its existence but its importance is immeasurable.
It provides incubation office space to start-up companies with business development supports for the nurturing of new ideas.
One such company is InTime Media, a mobile phone software development firm, which is set to blow open the mobile phone market.
InTime Media enables broadcasters to take advantage of the full power of today’s mobile phones through interactive services between television and mobile.
It is hard to believe that from the confines of the IiBC such innovative software is being developed which will revolutionise the world market.
Take for example a show like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, once this software is launched, you could interactively take part in the show from the confines of your sitting room, through your mobile phone. The questions appear on your phone as they do on TV. You select your answers and have your scores sent to your phone.
Or if is entertainment shows like Strictly Come Dancing that take your fancy you could rate the contestants as they perform against key criteria, creating your own leaders board.
Broadcasters can also realise premium rate revenue, bringing new benefits to show sponsors and enabling producers to reconnect with audiences.
The development of this technology started four years ago by Julian Ellison who lives near Mulranny with his wife and children.
Ellison previously worked in London where he did a lot of participation TV, providing platforms where programmes enabled people to interact with their shows. He also worked for the BBC in the development of its website before setting up his own company.
“I felt things were stuck given that mobile phones are improving and can do so much more now,” Ellison told the Mayo Advertiser when we visited him at IiBC. Ellison and his partners who are based in the UK and Spain, are working on projects for the BBC and ITV which are due to be launched before the end of this year. Their small technical team are excited about this new software which will change viewers’ relationships with their mobile phones and their televisions.
InTime has been working from IiBC since 2006. Ellison says they have been steadily slogging away to get their product out, this has involved frequent trips back and over to the UK and the constant challenge of raising money.
He said the centre has been invaluable, not least because he can’t get broadband at his home, but also because he belongs to a place where there are other people in the same boat. He also gave special mention to Maria Staunton, IiBC manager, for all her assistance and support.