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Microchips grow with Midas touch

WHEN a person tells you they work in microelectronics, it can be hard to visualise exactly what they are talking about.

In a nutshell, the business is focused on the silicon chips that power so many of the electronics we rely on today, be they computers, smartphones, or many other items.

This is highly technical work. Those chips have shrunk dramatically over the years, while Moore's Law, which dictates that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every two years, means that these chips can now have thousands of transistors on them. Doing that work requires extreme technical skill and commitment.

While the sector does have some high profile employers here, such as Intel, it also has some less well known, but highly valuable firms such as Analog Devices. Nevertheless, the lobby group for the sector has been out boosting its profile over the past few days with "Micro Electronics" Week, which concludes tomorrow.

As chairman of the industry group MIDAS, John Blake is in charge of running a successful week. He believes the industry is primed for strong growth over the next few years.

"The sector is very strong in Ireland, employing some 8,000 people and contributing about €6bn worth of exports to the economy.

"There is some scope for growth, however. Forecasts show that about 1,300 jobs will be created in the sector over the next three years so it is important for us to get that message out there," he adds.

Among this week's events are the launch of an education competition aimed at third level sector, while the industry also hosted its annual conference. MIDAS is holding a start-up seminar for entrepreneurs and will conclude with a series of open day events hosted by microelectronics industry companies, universities and associations.

Further details of the activities, which are being sponsored by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Analog Devices, can be found at www.midasireland.ie.

Volvo V40 ad a first for Shazam app

MEDIA engagement company Shazam, and Adforce.ie have launched a new Volvo V40 commercial that will be the first Shazam-enabled TV ad in Ireland. This week, when viewers use their Shazam smartphone app to tag the commercial, they will have what the companies are describing as "an integrated brand experience that includes promotional links and integrated social sharing".

The new advert enables people to tag the commercial to sign up for a test drive, find out more about the Volvo V40's features as well as having the chance to win an iPad Mini. The campaign will continue for a month.

Universal deal for all Sky platforms

SKY has signed a new "multi-year" licensing agreement with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution for the exclusive television rights in the UK and Ireland to current, upcoming and library feature films from NBCUniversal for its Sky Movies service. All movies will be made available to Sky customers on-demand, on Sky Go, as well as in High Definition (HD) and 3D where available. In addition, Sky has a separate deal with Universal Networks International (UNI) to extend the availability of UNI's television channels on Sky's subscription TV packages. Sky Movies Director Ian Lewis was "delighted" with the agreement: "The combination of NBCU's hit movies with Sky's innovation will give customers an unrivalled in-home movies experience," he claimed.

Indo Business