Work and income generating

There are a great many subtitles in this area.

We can start with the basic idea of the traditional job. One where you get up, go to work, go home etc.

Then we have smart working where work is not really a place. Work is an agreement to use your skills in exchange for rewards. This can be based on the road- so called nomadic workers, in a shared or community facility, a company called we work is probably the largest example of this, but many more are getting involved too. And finally working from home for either all the hours that are in the exchange or for some hours and then going to a place (office, shared facility, coffee shop, conference, etc) to continue to work or to colocate with other team members to deliver the skills exchange required.

We also have then the idea of service providers or experience providers. This should be a growth market in #smartrural. The city dwellers all want to get out of the city and go to the country for the weekend. Of course this can be either a blessing or a curse. If they crowd the mountains and block the roads with their cars then no one is happy. However it can become an opportunity, albeit part time and casual, to use the demand to provide a service.

What do we see in this area, farm shops, fruit picking, animal feeding, horse riding, bike ways, mountain walks, guided tours to sites of interest, kiddies play areas. Not to mention sales of famers products, experiences in the countryside, seasonal adventures in the oudoors. All these have never been so easy to set up and market with platforms to host the experience, advertise it and collect the money on your behalf.

As we have travelled we have done rafting, horse riding, wine and cheese tasting, cooking including Ceviche, jams, bread, speciality salsas, bike riding, waterfall climbing, zip lining, tree climbing, rock collecting, fossil reading, snorkelling, birdwatching, animal identification, flower identification, harvest of grapes, potaotes, rice etc. Plus countless others. The important thing is that we as customers booked all these on line, and paid our money in advance. This gives the operators time to organise and get the infrastructure in place for the event. Prices are set based on numbers in a group and sometimes the trips did not happen if there was not sufficient interest (money) for the service providers. The booking process includes collection of contact phone numbers to allow for last minute changes (or cancellations) and the opportunity to share and review is built in.

Our pictures are taken and posted in so many locations on the social media as these business promote their offering into the crowded marketplace.

But it is the future. Platforms exist. Lets go

Tourism in the countryside

So what do we know about this? It is complicated. What are the recent big successes? Wild Atlantic Way springs to mind as do all the Greenways being developed following the huge success of the one in Mayo.

Irish tourism is a huge product and one where there are clear gains to be made from our Green and clean country but especially our extra friendly people.

But it is not all roses, staffing in hotels, cafes, hostels etc is a task. How many people are needed, for when, what skills do they need, how long do I need them for and what do I pay them? These are all questions that are hard to answer when setting up.

Oddly enough data and software can help. Most people will book a hotel or guest house, airbnb, or campsite. This information allows the owners to see what staff they need. Some hotels and restaurants have arrangements with cooks, cleaners etc to ‘follow the customers’ . So for example a hotel in middle of Ireland may be quiet mid week but out the door on the weekend. Once the bookings arrive in the systems can generate a message to gig workers like cooks, cleaners, bar men, serving staff etc., offering them work, and usually accomodation to match the new emerging demands.

They pay a premium for this of course but it is cheaper than carrying staff for hours they are not needed. Staff get well paid and get to do other jobs or study or follow their dream outside of these hours.

Owners of stand alone business will need to form alliances with their neighbours to be able to share the information. Guys renting bikes on greenways will need to talk to hotels and guesthouses so they can be ready with teh bikes. Coffe shops and stalls along the way need to link up with the bike guy so they can know when there are potential customers coming.

A simple example is a guy on a greenway renting bikes. When he has 50 out he whistles up more help for the return process- as this probably will happen in a rush. A couple of the coffes shops have an arrangement where he tells them when he passes 30 bikes. They then know there are 30 people on the greenway and maybe they need a few more scones. It’s simple stuff but it helps give the customer and the business people better experiences.

Without getting too big brother about it, this can all be automated so that the computers do the heavy lifting and talk to each other . This is our hope, that a community based platform will work with the community to help give everyone the benefit of the tourists who come to town.

Ski resorts are increasingly using this to make sure they have enough food, cooks, instructors, and cleaners to deal with the weather driven surge in demand. The software and tools are out there, we need local leaders to help roll them out.

Uber probably invented the idea and constantly use software to identify spikes in demand. Airlines use it to price seats and to reallocate planes if there is lower, or higher demands. The technology exists. #smartrural can exploit it.

Remote working

We have read a great deal about this and a recent survey indicates that over 140k people define their work as remote. This seems very large in and Irish context. Further work will be done on this to establish the validity and types of work. A great organisation growremote is working on this with government bodies and are to be commended.

There are some worries on this front too however. Many individuals find that working remote is a bit lonely. They seem to miss the interaction with colleagues and the plain old banter of the world of work. This is helped by joining in and using coworking places. Thankfully these are spreading all over the place. It is critical that employers help support these for the well being  of their team members and also for their own sucess .

As usual the idea of remote working is turning into a blend of working at home, working in coworking centres and other facilities and attendance at the central place of work. (If one actually exists!)

The opportunities in this area are growing and changing by leaps and bounds. Increasingly it is being found that open offices, multitudes of meetings, and micromanagement are actually reducing  productivity. Present day remote workers are a bit like evangalists and are making new ground. Turst is the key to future success in this area.

Changes in management skills and also in employee skills will be needed to make sure that remote workers are managed well and feel a productive and valuable part of an organisation. That is a two way street. Thankfully there are more and more people reporting about their direct experiences and the good and bad apples in the barrell.

The future of work in the workplace seems to be moving. There will be more automation of routine works. Some evidence based decision making will change too as computers will be able to consider more variables than us poor human brains. We see this in reports of improved early diagnosis of skin cancers by machines rather than by Doctors.   So work will change at the basic end and at the high end. ( in terms of perceived value rewarded per hour)

New skills will be needed and we will all need to adapt. But that is what we are good at. So no fears, onwards!


Drink Link Entertainment

We read a bit recently about the countryside needing an Uber type service to bring people home from the pub. It is an interesting request and one made at minister and TD level. We think it fits in nicely with the community building in Smartrural.

With the right platforms: neighbours, friends and even taxi operators could be connected. The public house owner can give a sort of early warning over the community platform. Along the lines, there is a big crowd in here, we’ll need to get at least 6 people home later. Or the opposite, its a quiet night. Local knowledge , local information all on a community platform.

Sharing and helping is always a feature of rural communities. Lately it has becme more difficult as the platforms took us away in FB land or the world of twitter and the like. The future and new technology can be built to bring us back to the community and actually serve the needs of the community rather than the needs of large gloabl organisations.


We have a wee story to tell of a small community in Spain. It is completely bereft of any sources of entertainment. The last saloon/pub/bar was closed down about 6 years ago. There is no restaurant, post office, shop or anything commercial. The village has a community hall and a sports ground, but sadly no one to use them on a day to day basis as they are now too large for the few people left during weekdays.

However one of the residents has decided that he would like to keep some sense of community and entertainment. So every Friday night he get his projector set up on a white wall in his garden, selects a film (or two), gets a few plates and some glasses and some cutlery. The neighbours arrive with some drinks, snacks and some nibbles.

The owner has good internet (not 5G)  but downloads the film in advance- just in case. Sometimes it rains and they go inside, sometimes they forget to start the film they are chatting so much.

He may be breaking some copyright but he hopes not as it is a group of friends and extended family.

He hopes that when Iot comes in play and more and more people are working in a location they love, that the village will come back to life. He has great hopes for the futue of work!

They have a great night and stop the film a couple of times to eat a bit of food and chat. The whole event has about 25 people and is a regular part of their village life.

Re living in the country

So eventually it will come down to money. When one is balancing up where to live, city or coutry. If there are equal opportunities then lets look at the finances. There is a bit more to do in this but most people seem to think that city living is quite dear,. Starting off with accomodation.
Renting or buying is quite different in the country side vs the cities, Just look at any of the rental sites and make a quick comparison. For cost of a small 1 bed studio you can have a large 4 bedroom house in many locations.
Commuting is somehwat different, but again it usually works out less expensive as bringing children to school is less difficult , going to work is usually just in your home.
Food, well living in the county according to all the statistics will give you better value. You may not get as many ready to go meals but when you are saving hours of commute time every day, you may have a few minutes to cook real food from scratch.
Social life is always cheaper with meals, cinema etc much cheaper. The cost of babysitting is way less too if you are in the position to need one.
It is hard enough to find out what is dearer to be honest. Happy for input on this one. !

Spirituality #smartrural

We live in a diverse world with many people following various philosophies regarding the meaning of life and the after life.

These are quite easy to explore and express in many of our larger cities of the world. However with the advent of 5g, IoT etc the geographic and colocation of practice and support are less of a problem than in the past.

As technology advances with augmented, extended, and virtual reality, the participation in the chosen philosophy by the individual or community,  is less difficult and will become more and more satisfying as individuals will be able to connect to the thought and practice leaders in the domain and participate in those practices which most closely align with their beliefs and values.

This will and can happen in cities but also in rural communities, adding a dimension not present before and one that further erodes the perceived benefits of living in cities.

Smart farmers #smartrural

We are looking at the continuous challenge presented by people with opposing points of view regarding farming, especially of animals.

We do not see much counter arguements or at lease there are but they are not always positive. Pity.

We think that perhaps there might be a plan?

Water- farmers have the resources to target water storage and ground water protection. How many farmers can say that 100% of their home water and farm washing water is rainwater?

Energy- This is really a subset of the Carbon and climate change issue. Again with solar , wind and geo therm solutions- how many farmers say they are 100% renewable? If the big corpos like Apple etc want to say it for their data centres then surely it is a positive for farmers to be able to say it too?

Transport/Vehicles- again here we have sities making huge efforts regarding public transport, biking, e-scooters and the like.  We have a hydrogen train in Germany and hydrogen ships being built. Are our friends in the farming community getting ready for hydrogen tractors , combines and the like?  Is there information from advisory bodies on this? Is it possible that farmers can generate their own hydrogen from amonia in animal waste?

Packaging- single plastics are the big culprit here, but are there alternatives to the plastics used on farm? Similarily with waste. Could farmers take back any waste they sell? Most sell without any packaging, so this is an easy step.

How about working to develop farms that are carbon and energy neutral, that release as much water to groundwater as they use, that use machinery that has zero emissions, that recylce all the packaging they use.

The problem of methane production and livestock production will be solved by bio chemists or at least reduced considerably. Or indeed new technologies may assist in finding solutions, in the meantime we hope and wish to work to assist in the drive to make #smartrural .

It would be great to read more about these initiatives. Any readers with information we would love to hear from you. @jsmartrural

Rural Transport

There are a few items to be considered here in the context of emissions and climate change. If we start with the assumption that internal combustion engines are bad then we need to figure out what is going to replace them and what is good.

So far we see cities adopting electic bikes and more recently electric scooters. The electric car is here too with many variants fo hybrid. However where are we going with tractors, trucks, lorries, buses and trains?

All these are really vital to the s=rural community and we need a #smartrural solution.

In UK there are now hydrogen buses, in China they are electric. In Scotland they are building hydrogen ships. In Japan they will have 35 hydrogen fuelling points to cover the entire country,  (which seems like very few but it puts everyone within 10 minutes of a point). In Germany hydrogen trains are up and running.

In Sweden they are putting recharging tracks into the roads so that electric powered lorries and trucks can recharge on the move.

So it looks like hydrogen and electricity (batteries) are the future for heavy transport.

The tractors and trucks of the future are going to have to change away for diesel. Are we ready ? Can we afford it? What will happen to the old engines?





There is a great tradition of telling stories in rural communities. These can be true, invented, exaggarated, funny, serious. The joy is the assembly of people who feel they are part of a community and the act of telling binds them to a place and to an event and to the teller.
Often there are disagreements, different points of view. but that is normal and part of learning, growing, and being human. It is part of beig a community.
In #smartrural we see storytelling as multifaceted. It is ideal if it can take place in a physical space where everyone in the community can attend. However, and no surprise here, that is not always possible. So we will use smart tech to get people to attend remotely, to participate and to encourage a physical attendance the next time.
The teller can ofter be available bu tthe audience may not. A simple bit of tech can assist in setting storytelling events up when there is a gathering. This can happen for a community event or for a simple reason like a change in weather or a wedding or indeed a funeral. These are times when comunity come together and using tech, storytelling can become a part of these occassions.

#smartrural has the advantage that it does not have to be advanced calendar driven with all the hopes that people can attend. It can respond to the prescence of people and just kick into action to set up the event.