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A lot of tech businesses tend to look into the UK or even Europe if they want to expand. The truth is that there...

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    Can Irish Tech Businesses Really Make the Most out of the Brazilian Market?

    A lot of tech businesses tend to look into the UK or even Europe if they want to expand. The truth is that there...

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    Will Americans Stay ‘Crafty’ Post Pandemic?

    On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a global health emergency related to a new strain of coronavirus, dubbed Covid-19. Mere days after the WHO’s announcement, President Trump declared a public health emergency in the United States on February 3.
    Source: Margarida Afonso via Unsplash
    By March 13, Covid-19 escalated to a National Emergency as U.S. cases continued to increase. Less than a week later, California became the first state to introduce a stay-at-home order on March 19. Most states would follow suit, issuing stay-at-home orders of their own in a bid to stop the spread of this novel virus.  As more and more American citizens found themselves in lockdown, they looked for safe ways to occupy themselves while staying indoors. 

    An aptly dubbed ‘craft renaissance.’

    With many Americans now confined to their homes because of the pandemic, they turned to creativity, particularly arts and crafts, to pass the time. This trend was mirrored globally, with The Guardian aptly dubbing it an ‘arts and crafts renaissance’ in May 2020.  Some of the most popular screen-free activities in the United States during this time were crocheting, knitting, and flower pressing. Meanwhile, online craft retailer Design Bundles experienced a 113% increase in digital crafting file sales during the lockdown.  Suggesting many crafters were experimenting with digital elements like free svg files for Cricut and other cutting machines. When asked for comment about crafting during lockdown by Design Bundles, crafter Jennifer Royle had this to say: 
    “Crafting really stopped me going stir crazy during lockdown because it’s one of the few ways to occupy yourself without leaving the house! All you need are a few supplies and a bit of inspiration. I taught myself to knit during the first lockdown, and since then, I’ve really enjoyed developing this skill to make all sorts of knitted toys for my nephews. It’s been great for them as well as me!”

    Will the craft renaissance continue?

    Now over a year after the first 2020 U.S. stay-at-home orders, and almost a third of the way through 2021, Americans return to some semblance of normality. With many states open or on their path to opening up and returning freedoms (including socializing outdoors) on the horizon, there is a new question. Will the craft renaissance continue?  If Covid-19 taught Americans anything, it’s that it’s hard to predict the future. But with some Americans preferring to return to normal at a slower pace, and the ever-looming threat of a surge in new covid cases, potentially meaning more stay-at-home orders in the future, it might be a little too soon to ditch the crafting kit.  Emerging craft trends collated from Pinterest, Instagram, and Tik Tok also indicate the rising interest in arts and crafts may stick around into 2021 and beyond. Some of the activities trending in these digital spaces include:
    • Resin crafts
    • Pottery
    • Volume sewing
    • Polymer clay
    • Bargello
    • Painting
    • Textured embroidery
    • 90’s crochet
    • Tie-dying & ice dying
    • Marbling
    • Candle making
    • Calligraphy
    Whatever the future holds, arts, crafts, and creativity, in general, was a powerful coping mechanism that saw many through the worst of the 2020 global pandemic. 

    Can Irish Tech Businesses Really Make the Most out of the Brazilian Market?

    A lot of tech businesses tend to look into the UK or even Europe if they want to expand. The truth is that there could easily be more untapped potential way ahead. Even though tech companies are becoming huge players when it comes to the global stage, you have to remember that there are various pockets of the world that are very much untapped. Surveys have shown that just 6% of tech companies are tapped into the Brazilian market. Right now, it would seem that Brazil has the fifth biggest market in the world, so the opportunities are huge to say the least.

    Brazil Needs More Tech Services

    A lot of people think that there is going to be a huge demand for tech services in the next two years.  There is a huge need in Brazil when it comes to tech services. Irish companies and even start-ups can easily take advantage of the global climate so that they can try new things and so that they can also explore the untapped potential that is there. There’s an increasing demand for things such as  NetBet slots and casino games, and on top of this, there’s also a high demand for smart services and fintech hubs. That being said, even if there is a demand, it’s important to know that there are a number of challenges when it comes to doing business in the country.

    The Challenges

    Reports from IBNB have highlighted a lot of challenges when it comes to operating in Brazil. The main thing is that the costs of operating in Brazil tend to be much higher when compared to other markets. The main reason for this is because you have secure yet complicated tax systems. You also have the absence of double taxation agreements for the two nations, especially those who are coming out of Ireland who want to trade directly with Brazil. There are also a lot of cultural nuances that you need to consider before you invest your resources into the market. This is not limited to market research, so you need to keep this in mind.

    Addressing the Issue

    One way to potentially address this issue would be for you to dip into the talent pool that is within Ireland. Brazilian workers made up one out of the ten people who have been offered work permits in Ireland. The only other market to provide this much labour to the Irish market in particular would be India in 2018. At the end of the day, it would seem that there is a large talent pool for Irish technology firms and that this could easily benefit Brazil if some form of agreement could be made. This would help them to target the market much more and it would also make it way easier for them to make the most out of every decision and opportunity. Who knows what the future holds, but right now, it looks like the Brazilian market could really do with a boost from the tech industry.

    Solar Panels: Could this be the start of an energy saving revolution?

    Many consumers of energy have started to ask themselves if solar panels are worth the investment, and if they are able to save you money in the long term. Solar panel technology is relatively new in the consumer space and has started to see adoption increase in certain countries around the world. If you use a lot of energy, these can be considered to be an attractive proposition. To get the most benefit, you’ll also want to make sure you’re paying the lowest price possible for your gas and electricity. Ultimately, the total amount you can save from solar panels alone will depend on your usage statistics, where you’re located in the country and how much the total installation cost will be.

    How do solar panels help you save money on energy?

    For solar panels to be a viable energy cost reduction option, you will need to live in your current property long enough to recover the initial installation costs. By using this technology, you’ll be less reliant on electricity from the power grid as you’ll be generating your own. Over the past decade, the cost of electricity has soared, so if you’re able to generate your own power, you can save even more. Even while you’re not at home, you can store any energy that has been produced and use it at a later time. Previously, some customers even had the option to sell this energy back to the grid, although this Government initiative is no longer available to new customers. Aside from helping you save money; solar panels can also help to increase your property’s market value. Those in the property market may be more willing to pay the asking price, as this is a desirable feature, and will only become more popular in the coming years. This is especially important when you consider that we’re heading towards a more sustainable future. If you’re a landlord, a tenant may be willing to pay a little extra as they will save this amount on their utility bills.

    Is solar panel technology worth the investment?

    The amount you will be able to save through using solar panel technology will depend on a number of different factors. We have outlined these below.

    Energy consumption

    Start by looking at your gas and electricity bills for the past 12 months. If you see that your consuming a lot of energy, your household may benefit from installing a system with around 5kW capacity. This would help you generate between 18kW/h to 25kW/h. These figures are a rough estimate and will depend on how much sunlight is available and where you’re located. Most residential solar panels currently available are rated to produce between 250 and 400 watts each per hour. Domestic solar panel systems typically have a capacity of between 1 kW and 4 kW.

    Usage pattern

    The energy you generate through your solar panels will always be used before you access power from the grid. This means that if you’re primarily consuming energy whilst your panel is generating it, you will be less reliant on the grid helping you reduce your bill.

    Energy Storage

    Most installations will include an energy storage facility. This will allow you to store energy and use it later on when you need it. For example, during the day you could be at work while energy is being generated, allowing you to make use of it later in the evening upon your return.

    System capacity

    The more panels you’re able to fit on your roof, the more energy you will be able to generate. Having a system with larger storage capacity will also help you avoid wasting excess power. The size of your property will determine how many panels can be installed.

    Your location

    The amount of power you will be able to generate will depend on where you’re located in the country. It’s worth noting that solar panels don’t necessarily need direct sunlight and can utilise normal daylight.

    Initial cost of installation|

    One of the biggest barriers to entry for many interested customers will be the initial cost of installation. Typically, you can expect this to cost at least £5,000 in the UK. This figure could be much higher depending on what option you choose. It’s worth checking if you’re eligible for any Government grants. Hopefully, as the technology becomes more popular and manufacturing costs are reduced, this will become far more affordable in the near future. In summary, installing a solar panel system in your home will initially be expensive. However, you will likely see savings over a longer period of time. Think about your household energy consumption, and where you live in the country to see if you can take advantage of this modern technology. It may be worth waiting to see how things evolve rather than becoming an early adopter.

    Latest Thatch Building Methods & Thatch Insurance for Peace of Mind

    The building of homes and other buildings has been carried out for centuries using the same traditional methods. In this method foundations are first laid, walls are built, roofs get added, and then any work needed in the interior is carried out. The materials used in these methods can greatly vary from stone, brick and mortar, wood, metal, mud, thatch and others. In the more recently used methods of building, foundations continue to be the first activity, while the actual superstructure is built in factories under controlled conditions, and can include all finishes for both the interior and the exterior, any needed plumbing and electricity and flooring. This is a modular method of building that requires the building to be transported to the site to be fixed in place. In both cases, it is important that the design and planning of the proposed building be carried out earlier. The land on which the building is to be constructed has to be prepared to receive the building. Often, it is also necessary to obtain permissions and approvals, before any building work is started. The majority of buildings being constructed traditionally still use brick and mortar, with some concrete and wood for roofs. There has been a trend in recent times to go back to older traditional materials such as thatch, for the construction of houses, even with Thatched Insure Thatch Insurance. The use of materials that are available locally has led to reduced costs, while the use of more natural materials has led to environmental benefits. Building using stone that is locally available, mud or lime that is there in the vicinity, wood from forests that grow nearby, straw and thatch make up for building material that has been used by centuries by people all over the world. The only drawback of using these materials has been that they required higher maintenance, which was even made easier by the ready availability of all needed materials. Earth and mud and thatch houses are even now in wide use in poorer countries and continue to use traditional building methods to deal with their need for housing. One advantage that comes from using traditional construction techniques is that every building is unique, and allows for changes to be made at every stage of construction, thus leading to a building that is completely customised to the needs of the homeowner having the building constructed. Modular homes, on the other hand, require an assembly method of construction in which changes are not easy to incorporate. One disadvantage with the traditional methods of construction is that it takes longer. It requires the use of particular skills at each stage of construction. There is no continuity of work for the people employed in the construction, as each stage has to be completed before the next one requiring their skills is needed to be taken up. This can lead to higher costs of construction and require more time, because of the start and stop method that traditional building methods often require. Traditional construction methods, however, do lead to the building of structures that have better quality.

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