The key issues were opened in the crowded conference hall of Hotel Antunović in Zagreb. What do we do to prevent the emigration of the younger population? Why are the economic changes not the main topic of our social discourse? Why do we lack people who could achieve the set goals in the digitization process, and will the digitization of the industry stimulate further economic growth? These are some of the questions raised by Mr. Plamenko Barišić, Chairman of the Board of KING ICT, in his introductory speech.
KING ICT GROWS
“We have revenues of over 700 million Kuna and employ more than 400 people. In the last two years, we have employed 164 young engineers who stayed in Croatia. All our business segments have had positive breakthroughs, and today we are an active supplier in the airport safety, smart buildings, digital and automated electromechanical installations, industrial plants, use of drones and robots for economic purposes.”
Positive trends are also visible in the business of other Croatian IT companies, but Barišić warns: “One of the potential dangers of the changes that are happening is the relocation of strategically important companies outside of Croatia. Planned investments are happening in our neighborhood, and we are being passed over. More and more startups and young people leave Croatia and we need to react and act on it.”
The digitization processes in Croatia are best illustrated by the DESI index, whose latest data was presented by the European Commission DG CONNECT's political analyst Irina Orssich: “I am very pleased to say the latest data shows that Croatia has climbed two places (from 24 to 22) according to DESI index, compared to the last time when it was at the rear. Croatia is still below the European average but is growing at the same rate. An interesting fact is that Croatians use the Internet more than the EU average, but are dissatisfied with the service that is still expensive.”
RISE IN DESI INDEX
Just like in Barišić's introductory speech, Ms. Orssich also states that one of the biggest weak spots of Croatian companies is the departure of ICT experts. “We are aware of the problems, and that is why the European Commission has set up a Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs. It is an organization that will assist companies in finding a workforce with developed ICT skills and encourages their further development. We currently have 19 countries in the Coalition, and soon we expect Croatia to join in," invites Orrsich.
Croatia, just like the European Union, must continue to invest in digitization and encourage the development of the ultra-fast Internet to keep up with China, South Korea, and Japan. Tomislav Radoš, the Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, is well aware of these facts. The Croatian Chamber of Economy has conducted a large survey of 770 Croatian companies about the degree of digitization of Croatian companies. The sample was based on the structure of the Croatian economy, and then the results were compared with the DESI index: “If we are to improve the DESI index by one point, productivity would grow by as much as €1000. That's something we have to work on constantly.”
E-SCHOOL FOR BETTER SOCIETY
The productivity of the economy is the key to a successful economy, but education is the alpha and omega of every society. Do you know that the role of a teacher is almost unchanged for 50 years? Aware of this fact, CARNET (Croatian Academic and Research Network) started implementing the e-School pilot project. “CARNET has always been a platform for applying new technologies, and with the e-School project we introduce technology to education and change approach to learning,” said Andrijana Prskalo Maček, deputy director of CARNET and head of the e-School project. The project, awarded one of the best educational projects in the world, is truly impressive: “The project was defined in 2015 when we concluded that schools are primarily in need of an ongoing support and education – a systematic support.
The pilot project included 101 elementary schools, 50 high schools, 7000 teachers and 23,000 students. Throughout the project, we primarily carry out the computerization of teaching processes in order to raise the level of digital maturity of schools. Our aim is to raise 10 percent of schools from the level of digital beginner to the level of digital maturity.” Prskalo Maček states that the goal of the project is not to force digitization of the teaching, but to enable new ways of learning that will be available to teachers and students: “Schools such as Naval School Zadar or Frane Krežme Elementary School are examples of schools that digitized their classes. The pilot project phase will end by the end of August 2018 and then we will start implementing the so-called big project worth a billion Kuna.”
DIGITIZATION: THE REALITY STRATEGY
The Croatian financial industry elite gathered for the roundtable “Digitization: The Reality Strategy”: President of Croatia Insurance Company Damir Vanđelić, member of Management Board of Privredna banka Zagreb Draženko Kopljar, a renowned industry digitization expert Nedjeljko Štefanić, professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb and senior management consultant in Horwath HTL Andrej Šimatić. Miodrag Šajatović, editor-in-chief of Lider, moderated discussion on the current moment of digitization in their areas and plans for the next three years.
Rationalization and digitization of the process that brings precision, speed and better service on the one hand, and more successful business, on the other hand, is essential in the survival of the financial industry, and it can be said that this industry is one of the leaders of the process. The digitization is also knocking on the door of the tourist industry, responding to new habits and customer needs and changing business models. Professor Štefanić expressed his optimism in believing that the Croatian industry is advancing at a certain pace on the digitization path.
Davor Rostuhar, explorer, photographer, and adventurer, talked about what happens en route when wish takes the form of a decision that leads to the goal and presented his latest big project -The Polar Dream - that astounded Croatia and international public. In his motivational session, Rostuhar explained that everything stems from the idea, when the contours of what we want to achieve and what drives us forward, emerge. It was precisely this approach that made him the first Croat who has conquered the South Pole.
Traditionally, we have presented a whole range of technological innovations and exclusives from the field of security, management of human resources and the education system in our Demo Room. This year, special emphasis was put on the advanced analytical face recognition technology based on the deep learning algorithm of very high recognition accuracy, which is performed in the camera itself, and that significantly improves system performance and enables real-time recognition. Analytical technologies that enable visitors to count, age and gender estimates, and even face expression analysis were also presented. They are a highly efficient business intelligence tool for analyzing the customer structure in the sales sector.
A smart classroom tailored to students’ needs demonstrates how learning can be fun and in step with current technologies, while KING's HR+ solution in its newest release addresses the increasingly demanding needs in the field of human resource management. This year Demo Room captured visitors’ attention with a total of 20 premiered solutions from KING ICT and partners.