Monday, 25 February 2019

IN2 Software Company Implements IT System in Saudi Arabia Hospitals

ZAGREB, February 25, 2019 - The Zagreb-based IN2 software company has signed a contract on delivery, implementation and maintenance of healthcare information systems in healthcare institutions in Saudi Arabia, the company said in a press release on Monday without revealing the value of the signed contract.

With over 40 such institutions in Croatia and in the world in which it introduced modern information systems, IN2 is continuing with its strong export of this solution, strengthening its presence on regional and world markets.

"The Green Cube healthcare information system, specially adjusted to their needs, will be implemented in institutions of long-term care and home healthcare. After the first phase covering Riyadh, where completion of implementation is expected by the end of the year, the network will expand to five other cities in Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)," the press release said.

IN2 joins forces with Spanish partner Tich Consulting Torrevieja in this project. The partners were selected by Saudi investor Hosna Medical Care Company. Belgian Acalis, global healthcare operator bringing new and modern healthcare services to Saudi Arabia, also participated in the decision.

This is the first project of IN2 Health Sector in the countries of Gulf Cooperation Council, coming after successful expansion to the markets of Azerbaijan and Vietnam.

More news on the Croatian IT industry can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Pago Mobile Payment App Plans to Expand to Croatia

ZAGREB, February 22, 2019 - The developers of the Pago mobile payment application, thanks to which people can pay their bills online in a centralized manner, has announced its plans to expand to Croatia and Poland, the Romanian Insider portal said on Friday.

The Romanian startup also plans to relocate to Poland, in the Huge Thing high tech business accelerator, where it was accepted together with nine other startups, said.

Pago has recently introduced paid subscriptions for users who pay more than five bills per month through the app. The lowest subscription is 1.07 euro per month, for those who pay up to eight bills or invoices, while the fee for clients with higher volumes is 3.2 euro per month.

Those paying up to four invoices per month can keep using the application for free, and they account for some 75% of the current users.

Pago has 110,000 active users who have paid more than 14 million euro in bills. The app was downloaded 250,000. It records 5,500 payments for more than 90 integrated suppliers a day.

More news about the IT sector, as well as the solutions for mobile payments in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Ericsson Nikola Tesla Reports Substantial Increase in Profit

ZAGREB, February 20, 2019 - Ericsson Nikola Tesla generated a net profit of 113.6 million kuna in 2018, an increase of 67.4% over the previous year, the telecommunications equipment manufacturer said in a financial statement on Wednesday.

Sales revenue increased by 5.2% to 1.56 billion kuna. The domestic market accounts for 23.9% of total sales revenue, services for Ericsson account for 61.3 percent, of which 11.4% relate to managed services in Croatia), while other export markets account for 14.8%.

"The domestic market recorded a significant growth in sales revenue due to operators’ investment in mobile networks modernisation and digital transformation projects. The export markets recorded lower sales revenue affected primarily by the ramping down of network modernisation projects and challenging economic and political environments in some markets. The Ericsson market continuously records solid growth and contributes to the overall stability of financial performance. Export accounts for 65% of the Group’s total sales revenue," CEO Gordana Kovačević said.

In the domestic market, sales revenue totalled 372.6 million kuna, up 34.7% in comparison with 2017. In the Ericsson market, sales revenue increased by 3.2% to 955.8 million kuna and in the export markets (excluding the Ericsson market) it fell by 17.7% to 229.8 million kuna.

Other key indicators also showed growth. Gross profit rose by 7.0% to 161.4 million kuna and operating profit went up by 56.3% to 118.3 million kuna.

"The strong growth in operating profit is due to higher gross profit, lower sales and administrative costs, and projects realised in line with the Investment Promotion Act," Kovačević said.

In the third quarter of the year, the company initiated a new cycle of strategic planning for the period 2019-2023.

"In the upcoming period we expect new business opportunities, as well as challenges. As a response to a demanding market environment, we closely cooperate with customers to fully understand their needs, we adjust our organisation and ways of working, and invest in our employees’ competencies development and our technology leadership. We remain focused on cost and operating efficiency, capital efficiency and strategic risk management. Even though costs related to strategic contracts and 5G field trials will impact profitability short term, they will strengthen our business and market position in the long term," Kovačević said.

More news on the Ericsson Nikola Tesla can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Croatian Telecom Among Fastest Mobile Networks in the World

Croatian Telecom has one of the ten fastest mobile networks in the world and the second fastest in the Deutsche Telekom group, the operator announced. This is the result of an independent measurement project, the so-called P3 certificate. HT has won 948 points out of a maximum of 1,000. This is the best result in Croatia among all the measurements which the P3 organisation has conducted so far, reports on January 29, 2019.

Boris Drilo, a member of the company’s Management Board and the managing director for Tech and Information Technologies, was understandably pleased.

"This is the result of the announced one billion kuna investments in the mobile network and proof that the investment has provided tangible results for our users since now an independent survey has confirmed that Croatian Telecom has the fastest mobile network in Croatia," said Drilo. He added that he was especially proud of the result given that P3 has recently made its rating criteria stricter.

The survey involved more detailed measurements in towns, evaluating the quality of the network on local roads and, for the first time, crowdsourcing the collection of data. This means that the most widely used internet services in Croatia were covered by the survey, integrating part of the code into their sites and sending data on user load speeds to P3.

"This result is a consequence of the modernisation of 600 base stations throughout Croatia. By the end of 2019, we will modernise the remaining 1400 stations,” said Drilo. He explained that the ultimate goal was to be able to offer a gigabit mobile internet.

“We already offer speeds above 200 Mbps in the 4G network, which can be used by all those who own the latest flagship phones, meaning those which came out during the fall and this winter. Our network is ready to offer speeds of up to 800 Mbps. However, we are still waiting for such users. I can honestly say that Croatian Telecom has a network which offers higher speeds than today's mobiles phones and other devices can support,” concluded Drilo.

Translated from (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

More news on Croatian Telecom can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Zagreb City Authorities to Introduce Blockchain Technology

The global consulting company Deloitte, the first Croatian open source platform developer, Omega Software, and the only major Croatian software company created by the merger, IT Systems - New Technologies, are competing for an unprecedented technology project in the government sector in Croatia. On Friday, the City of Zagreb received three bids from these companies which want to draft the blockchain technology application strategy for the capital, the first such strategy in Croatia, reports Večernji List on January 29, 2019.

The city estimated the project costs at 1.5 million kuna. Although the price was not the only criterion, the difference in prices offered are substantial. The lowest bid was submitted by Deloitte, at 965,090 kuna plus the VAT. IT Systems - New Technologies want 1.47 million kuna plus the VAT, while Omega Software asks for 1.48 million kuna.

Olivera Majić, deputy mayor of Zagreb, briefly explained that the city must proceed with the implementation of the blockchain. "This is part of a wider transformation of business processes in the city government which is proceeding very well.”

The tender documentation explains that the capital has noted a problem which will force all towns in Croatia, but also the central government itself, to implement the blockchain technology in the near future. It claims that, without blockchain, it is impossible to keep any official documents for a period longer than five years or possibly ten. And the law often demands documents be kept longer. That is not a problem with paper documents but is with the digital ones.

The City of Zagreb warns that electronic documents are protected by e-signature or e-stamp, or with a form of a digital certificate, and all digital certificates have a short and limited validity period. As an example, the Fina certificates are valid for two years, and AKD's for five. After the validity of these certificates expires, the credibility of each e-document can be called into question. The city authorities believe that blockchain is the solution.

The decision on the winner of the tender will be made in the next three months, and the deadline for the strategy to be drafted is four months after the winning bid is selected. This means that by autumn, Zagreb will become the first town in Croatia and the first administration body in the country to have its own blockchain strategy.

The tender documentation also states that blockchain will not only be used for archiving but also for monitoring business processes, and there is a possibility that it will be applied in a range of other activities as well.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

More Zagreb news can be found in our special section.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Stratowave Developing Drones for Long-Distance Communication

The challenge which any successful start-up entrepreneur has to face is how to harmonise their desire to retain ownership of their idea and the need for faster growth of business through external investments, says Ivan Pelivan, one of the directors of Stratowave Connect, a company which is developing products and solutions for wireless long-distance communication, reports on January 7, 2019.

They are one of the eighteen teams of the third generation of the Startup Factory acceleration programme, which was launched three years ago by the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Innovation Center (ZICER) to strengthen the ecosystem for start-up entrepreneurship. At the 2018 Zagreb Connect, they were named one of the top five Start-Up Factory teams.

The internal team consists of Vilko Klein, Ivan Nikolić and Ivan Pelivan, who are joined by eight experts from electronics and information technology to sales and marketing. The young company started operating in April and was jointly founded by Vilko Klein and Ivan Pelivan.

The Stratowave name originates from the previous experiment with wireless communication from the stratosphere which was developed by Vilko Klein and Ivan Nikolić. The English name should facilitate the recognition of companies abroad, says Pelivan. “Our solution is unique in that it offers a range of 50 kilometres, and even more in the future, which we achieve through a combination of commercially available equipment and years of experience in the field of wireless technologies. Last year, we recognized that it was an ideal moment to launch the project. In just a few months, we gathered the initial members of the wider team. After we founded the company, we were joined by experts from the fields of marketing and information technology,” explains Pelivan.

Pelivan, Klein and Nikolić used the self-employment incentives, which were indispensable for starting the business. Before they launched the company, they applied for the programme of support for entrepreneurial projects in Croatia designed for novice entrepreneurs. They were among the seven finalists among 350 applied projects. “The competition was crucial since it included mentoring and establishing business contacts. We have also received support from the Croatian Employment Service (CES), enabling us to enter the demanding world of private entrepreneurship,” says Pelivan.

Their goal is to expand to European markets, and they have already made contact with the companies in the region. “Reactions to our ideas, solutions and current results are positive. Potential clients and partners see great potential in implementing our communications solution in conjunction with drones, and it is up to us to turn them into practical commercial products,” explains one of the directors.

“We are proud that our idea has produced excellent results in a relatively short time which, of course, raises expectations, but we are confident we will meet them in the course of the next year. This year is crucial for us,” explains Pelivan.

The final product should be ready for production by 2020. As for the start-up itself, they see it as a way to commercialise their creative ideas. “One of the challenges in this journey is to align the desire to retain ownership of our idea with the need for faster growth through outside investments. The entrepreneur is the one making the ultimate decision,” Pelivan concludes.

More news on the Croatian start-ups can be found in our Business section.

Translated from (reported by Lucija Špiljak).

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Google in Croatia: Five Years Later, a Change in Course

Five years after entering the Croatian market, Google in Croatia is preparing for a big turnaround. So far, the American company has only imported into Croatia. It started by selling its advertising services to the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) and marketing agencies, continued by selling its office services in the cloud, and selling content from the Google Play store, enabling us to buy Android apps, games, movies and music. This year, Google established co-operation with PBZ and thus entered the Croatian payment market. In the meantime, Google has also collected a lot of information about Croatia, from creating digital maps to offering bus and trams schedules in Zagreb in real time via Google Maps, reports on December 19, 2018.

In these cases, Google in Croatia has only sold services and products that were developed outside. However, no later than the end of next year, the IT giant will support Croatian exports for the first time. Joško Mrndže, the director of Google for the Adriatic region, who was also the first director of Google's office in Croatia, said the next service they would launch in the Croatian market would be Merchant account.

He did not specify when exactly the service would be presented in Croatia. However, given the pace at which Google is expanding in the Croatian market, it is expected that this will happen no later than the end of next year. Having a Merchant account is a prerequisite for Croatian software producers to make money on Android apps, and to be able to sell their apps in the Google Play store directly from Croatia. For now, businesses and companies from Croatia can only give their apps for free; they cannot charge for them directly from Croatia.

Google Play is the largest software store in the world. Apps are being purchased there for Android mobile phones which, according to the Global Report Mobile Market for 2017, are used by more than 2.3 billion users. This year, it is expected that Android will get 300 million new users. This is one of the main reasons why high-tech players from Croatia are currently opening companies abroad.

The fact that they cannot use the Google Merchant account from Croatia is one of the reasons why the company behind the most popular Croatian mobile app with 100 million users, Photomath, has its HQ abroad. That is why the largest Croatian developer of mobile games, Nanobit, was forced to open a company in Budapest three years ago.

Damir Sabol, the founder of Photomath, points out that this used to be a significant problem. "It does not mean so much to us now because we are selling it through our US company, but it was a major obstacle because we could not sell it from Croatia," he says. He adds that others from the IT industry were also forced to set up companies outside of Croatia and says he does not know what prevented Google from enabling Merchant Accounts for companies from Croatia previously.

Luka Abrus, CEO of Five, one of the largest Croatian mobile app producers, says that they mostly work for international clients, so the issue is not a problem for them. “When we do projects for ourselves, we do it through an American company," says Abrus. Tomislav Car, director of Infinum, the largest mobile app company in Croatia, says that the Google service will help a lot when it becomes available. "Until now, people mostly opened companies in Hungary and the United States. I do not know why Google did not make Merchant accounts available to companies in Croatia. I guess we are not large enough market, so it took time for them to come here," says Car.

Tomislav Gojević, the head of development at Nanobit, says that the growth of companies such as Nanobit and Photomath shows that this is no longer the case. "It would make it easier for Nanobit to do business because it would cost us less if we did not have to open a business abroad to work with Google. We will have to consider another factor – avoiding double taxation with the US. If that were to happen, we would probably bring the Google Play business back to the parent company," Gojević concludes.

More news on the IT industry in Croatia can be found in our Business section.

Translated from Poslovni List (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Huawei to Move Regional Centre from Belgrade to Zagreb?

A Croatian delegation led by Prime Minister Plenković visited China recently, meeting with Huawei's leadership for Europe there. The Chinese technology company, one of the largest in the world, is interested in a partnership in the digitalisation process of Croatia’s public administration system, reports Večernji List on November 10, 2018.

Prime Minister Plenković confirmed at a government session that in China he met with the key state-owned companies in the shipbuilding, road, bridge, railways and wind power plant sector, adding that all these companies were interested in cooperation with Croatia.

The government and the Administration Ministry did not disclose further details about talks with Huawei, but unofficial sources say that the company’s leaders had allegedly expressed their wish to move their centre from Belgrade to Zagreb. Further contacts with Huawei representatives will be done through the Directorate for Modernisation of Public Administration (e-Croatia), which deals with the digitalisation of internal operations of the state administration.

According to unofficial information, at the meeting with Huawei, the government delegation was also offered the possibility of educating Croatian IT experts in China. “Details of the co-operation are to be elaborated, but they have offered us the possibility to send students to China for further education,” said a source.

Prime Minister Plenković pointed out that Huawei was similar to Microsoft in its size and influence within the ICT sector, adding that their interest in the digitalisation of Croatian public administration would be of interest to the Administration Ministry, which is responsible for the process. The Administration Ministry did not want to discuss the issue, saying it was too early.

“The market of one billion and 400 million people wants to open much more than before and that is a great chance for the Croatian economy. That is why I am pleased that an economic forum was organised in cooperation with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, with more than 100 Chinese partners and 30 Croatian businesses,” said Plenković.

When it comes to digitalisation of public administration system, Croatia is stagnating and the European statistics show that Croatia is ranked 25th among 28 member states. Finland and Estonia are at the top of the rankings, followed by Denmark and Spain, while the only countries behind Croatia are Greece, Hungary and Romania.

For more on relations between Croatia and China, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Iva Puljić-Šego).

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Digital Tsunami Promises to Help Entrepreneurs in Croatia

The e-Citizen mobile app, a new contactless electronic identity card, the introduction of a state login that will be used by private companies, the possibility of payment via POS devices in the state administration institutions, the launch of shared services centres and the state cloud services, and a network of branch offices where citizens will be able to receive electronic services... All this is just one part of the “digital tsunami” announced by the Administration Ministry on Wednesday during the Digital Transformation Conference (DTC 2018), reports on November 8, 2018.

Some of these goals should be completed by the end of this year and the rest in 2019.

Bernard Gršić, the state secretary for digital society development, said that 40 projects would receive 50 percent of the funds allocated for the Croatia 2020 strategy. “I think that, when all these projects are completed, Croatia will be a very different place than it is today," Gršić said.

The view was supported by Assistant Administration Minister Zrinka Bulić, who heads the e-Croatia department. She said that next year the government would introduce new contactless identity cards. “You will have the e-Citizen mobile system. You will put your contactless ID card next to your mobile phone and immediately access the services,” said Bulić. She added that by the end of this year citizens would be able to pay for all the services, such as for new ID cards or driver's licenses, directly via POS devices in state administration bodies.

Starting from next year, all this will be merged through a special platform called e-Fees, which should further simplify the process. In other words, the government plans to effectively abolish paper payment slips.

She added that next year the authorities would launch the externalisation of the NIAS system. This means that companies will be given an option to have citizens register for their services with their electronic ID card, that is, by using a state login, similar to the ones for Google and Facebook services. “We are working on this with the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and the interest is substantial. The HUP estimates that in 2019 the system will be used by 300 companies, and in five years by at least 2,000 businesses,” Bulić explained.

For citizens who are not used to the latest technology, the government will invest 123 million kuna in digitising offices where people will be able to access digital services. “We are also going to introduce e-signature and e-stamp, e-business, and implement a redesign of e-Citizen. We will do the latter by the end of the year because having 600,000 users is not enough,” Bulić said.

For more on the IT in Croatia, click here.

Translated from (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

Monday, 22 October 2018

Croatian Software Developers Working for World's Largest Companies

An impressive list of clients.

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