Zoom partnership with the Western Development Commission to support collaboration and innovation across rural and regional Ireland through remote working hubs
Zoom has today (10.03.22) cited Ireland’s Connected Hubs network as a leading international example of how remote working should be promoted to drive regional economic and social development. Led by the Western Development Commission, Zoom has partnered with Connected Hubs to provide users of 200 plus hubs with access to its suite of tools and services, optimising their ability to connect and collaborate in co-working spaces.
As it works towards onboarding 400 hubs nationwide, Zoom Global Chief Information Officer, Harry Moseley has recognised the Connected Hubs programme as a novel approach in bringing the ambitions and objectives of the Irish Government’s Remote Working Strategy to life.
Commenting he said: “Connected Hubs is a prime international example of how remote work can be promoted to drive sustained regional development and economic growth. One fundamental change that I’ve witnessed over the past two years is how work is no longer defined by being in a certain location at a certain time, but rather by the outcomes and objectives an employee achieves. For those who previously felt compelled to move to a major urban setting to develop a career, Connected Hubs offers a real opportunity for them to return home and breathe life back into the social and economic fabric of Ireland’s regions.
“As the leading peer-to-peer unified collaboration platform in Ireland, Zoom aims to empower Connected Hub users to deliver their best work from anywhere. Central to this is ensuring hub users have access to the latest tools and technologies from Zoom, enabling them to drive collaboration, which is seamless, enjoyable, and more productive. It’s incredibly energising to see how the Connect Hubs network is positioning rural and regional Ireland at the heart of innovation and technology change. This approach we believe can and should be replicated in other global jurisdictions and positions Ireland as an early world leader in remote working.”
Zoom’s partnership with Connected Hubs, announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, provides hub users access to a bespoke package of Zoom services at a reduced rate of €10 per month. This includes Meetings and Webinar licences allowing up to 500 attendees to join, which would cost €130 per month if purchased separately. Hub users will also benefit from Zoom Rooms licenses, which are designed to facilitate hybrid meeting spaces, and a suite of other productivity enhancing tools such as Zoom Chat, Zoom Whiteboard and Zoom Apps.
CEO of the Western Development Commission, Tomás Ó Síocháin said: “The support shown by a global tech company the size of Zoom signals a strong endorsement of the approach we’re taking in promoting remote and flexible working across Ireland. We see the Connected Hubs programme as an excellent opportunity to rebalance some of the challenges we’ve faced in Ireland’s outlying and rural regions over the years. In doing this, the collaboration with Zoom is an important step for us as we work with hub users to identify their needs and ensure they have access to the right technology options to enjoy the benefits of remote working.
We’re confident that the Connected Hubs initiative, building on this and similar partnerships, will also help stimulate local economic activity supporting the ambitions set out by the Department of Rural and Community Development in it’s Our Rural Future strategy. At the heart of this is transforming digital connectivity for rural communities and enterprises, ensuring equality of access to digital services and supporting the diversification of rural economies and jobs through digital technologies
Distribution and access to the Zoom licences will be managed through the integrated media solutions company, iMedia which will also provide support, training, workshops, education and best use examples to Connected Hub managers and members.
Mr Moseley concluded: “We commend the work undertaken by the Western Development Commission and the Irish Government to date in ensuring that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace. Zoom looks forward to building on its partnership with Connected Hubs and we hope this is the first of many future collaborations and partnerships in our efforts to support remote working across Ireland.”
With thanks to Aisling, Sarah, Kieran and the team in Dogpatch labs for facilitating the meeting between Zoom, the WDC and the Connected Hubs managers across the country.