Google has in collaboration with PwC opened its first Google Innovation Lab in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a move aimed at encouraging European firms to embrace new, and more innovative ways of working. The lab is the third of its kind in the world, following previous launches in New York, US and Sydney, Australia.
Recent decades have seen rapid changes to the ways in which people live their lives. While a number of ways of living have changed, ways of working have remained relatively stable. Yet in recent years, on the back of rapid technological advancements, (radical) new ways of working have unfolded, including new organisational structures, agile ways of working, social collaboration, cloud computing and mobile working to name a few. For enterprises, embracing such trends can boost efficiency, adaptability and foster an innovative culture, several studies of late have shown. According to Google medium to large firms which utilise today's technologies could even see a 70% cost reduction.
To support businesses with unravelling the secrets of technological-driven new ways of working and capitalising on the potential, Google and accounting and consulting giant PwC have joined forces and launched an Innovation Lab in Belfast, Northern Ireland, only the third of its kind globally, say the partners. Globally PwC has more than 200,000 employees working in 150+ countries. Its Northern Ireland office is located at the Waterfront Plaza in Belfast, where around 1,300 employees are based.
The innovation hub seeks to provide businesses from the UK and Europe with a space where they can develop and test new organisational processes and workplaces, through among others real time collaboration across functions, departments and devices. “The PwC and Google Innovation Lab represents an alliance for work where organisations can access the PwC and Google collaborative experience and technology to co-create solutions to their digital and business challenges,” says Ashley Unwin, PwC’s Consulting Leader for EMEA.
Google Director of Global Partner Strategy & Alliances, Murali Sitaram, adds: “We’re excited that customers in the UK will be able to benefit from the immersive technology experience at the PwC and Google Innovation Lab in Belfast.”
The PwC and Google Innovation Lab is a key element of a new 11,000 square feet technology facility located at its offices in Belfast dedicated to developing digital solutions for clients worldwide. The lab is already operational, says PwC, with a number of major digital transformation projects being designed, developed and delivered in partnership with clients in Europe and the Middle East.
Commenting in the economic importance for Belfast and Northern Ireland, Paul Terrington, PwC Regional Chairman in Northern Ireland, says: “The decision to site the first PwC and Google Innovation Lab in Belfast is a huge vote of confidence in Northern Ireland as a location. The lab is strategically located less than 100 miles from Google’s European headquarters in Dublin, as well as clients throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
The lab, the third of its kind with others in New York and Sydney, represents a further commitment by PwC to Belfast. Last year the firm invested £40 million to create 807 new jobs in Belfast, while Grant Thornton also recently expanded operations within the city, creating 71 positions. Deloitte too has seen the benefits of investing in Belfast – building on the success of its 2011 founded Belfast Technology Studio, the Big Four last year invested another £30 million in growing its Northern Ireland operations, creating 338 jobs in the region.