Monday, 24 October 2022

Digital Transformation of Konzum: Now Accepting KEKS Pay

October 24, 2022 - Konzum enabled its customers to pay via the KEKS Pay application in its webshop and in all stores, making it the first retail chain of consumer goods in Croatia to introduce this type of payment.

As Poslovni writes, the service is available to all customers, regardless of the bank where they have an account. This way, they can easily pay for groceries, household and hygiene items and other products from Konzum's vast offer. The popular payment application, which as many as 300,000 users currently use, is another technological step forward by Konzum to provide customers with the best possible service and shopping experience.

"Since we have more than 600 stores and serve more than half a million customers daily, we take care to respond to their needs as best as possible. We know that the ability to choose a payment method is an important item nowadays. We want to be and remain the first choice for our customers, which is why we continuously introduce the best technologies and innovations. The introduction of payment through the KEKS Pay application is another step forward with which we want to simplify and further improve the shopping experience in Konzum. We will continue to invest in the development of innovations and listen to the needs of our customers to continue providing them with a premium experience," said Ines Barbir, director of the Business Applications Sector.

You need to install the free KEKS Pay application on your smartphone to use this service. Customers can pay the bill very simply, i.e. by scanning the QR code with the help of the application, whether at a regular or self-checkout cash register in physical stores or when purchasing in Konzum's webshop. Dejan Donev, Director of the Digital Banking Sector at Erste Bank, is also satisfied with the cooperation with Konzum.

"KEKS Pay in webshops and at points of sale enables payment with just one swipe of the finger, without tedious copying of card data, which users accept very quickly. Our experience has shown that once customers pay with the KEKS Pay application, they continue to pay in the same way in the future. In addition, users can register not only their debit cards or account but also their credit cards in the application itself, which allows them to choose the type of payment when paying. That's why I believe that Konzum's customers will very quickly recognise the benefits of the KEKS Pay application as a payment method," said Donev.

Konzum is continuously digitalising its operations and introducing innovative payment methods. In addition to the increasing number of self-checkout and cashless cash registers, Konzum also introduced payment in cryptocurrencies through the PayCek platform for processing cryptocurrencies in a fast, simple and secure way. Customers can also opt for any type of payment at the self-checkout counters, which have proven a reliable and very efficient Konzum service.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 21 October 2022

Digital Croatia: E-Consultation Open for Public Input Until 18 October

October 21, 2022 - The strategy of digital Croatia for the period until 2032 is based on timely information and involvement of the general public so that all citizens can participate and give their suggestions, proposals, and comments. The Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society (SDURDD) is in charge of creating the Digital Croatia Strategy until 2032. A Draft on e-Consultation was made with the consulting company Deloitte.

As Poslovni writes, digital transformation is a process that has been going on for some time. In Croatia, more than 1,700,000 citizens use the e-Citizens platform, which sets new standards for communication between citizens and public administration. In terms of digital literacy, which, along with connectivity, is a crucial element for a successful digital transformation, Croatia is above average, especially because young people in Croatia are at the very top of the EU in this category.

"There is no doubt that Croatia has a future, our young people are digitally literate and above average, and this guarantees that everything we're doing today makes sense. All the steps we will take in the next few years will transform Croatia and, through digital transformation, set new standards of communication, business, and learning," states Secretary of State Bernard Gršić.

Areas in which we are below the EU average, such as public services and connectivity, are challenges for which we have a clear plan, not only how to make up for the backlog but also to significantly improve Croatia's position.

"It is this Strategy that provides an answer to the question of "what" and "how," and I use the opportunity to invite all Croatian citizens to get involved to propose initiatives that can speed up and improve the process of digital transformation. This is a process that has no alternative, and its goal is to create assumptions that we can be agile, fast, and productive and, in this way, improve the standard of living of all Croatian citizens", notes Bernard Gršić, head of the Central State Office for the Development of Digital Society.

After the State Secretary, Gordan Kožulj, Director of the Business Consulting Department at Deloitte, addressed the media and pointed out: "With this Strategy, we want to set public policy priorities that stimulate technological development and innovation, the digital competencies of citizens and the increase in the number of experts in information-communication technologies and the application of advanced technologies in public and market activities. We want Croatia to be a country of digitally and economically competitive companies and digitized public administration with personalized public services in 2032."

In conclusion, fostering a participatory model of cooperation in creating the Strategy, more than 100 representatives from 41 organisations, including state institutions, the academic community, and the private sector, have contributed to the content of this Strategy through the Expert Working Group and four sub-groups. Through e-consultation, all other interested citizens can comment on the text of the draft Strategy before its finalisation.

The e-consultation can be found at the link Draft proposal of the Digital Croatia Strategy 2032.

For more, make sure to check out our Lifestyle section.


Thursday, 29 September 2022

Croatian Position on 2022 Digital Competitiveness Ranking Improved

September the 29th, 2022 - The Croatian position on this year's digital competitiveness ranking has improved somewhat, but it is still lagging quite significantly behind many countries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the main finding of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2022 published by the World Competitiveness Centre (WCC) places Denmark in first place, the USA in second place, and the Republic o Croatia in 43rd place out of 63 observed countries.

"Governments and the private sector must invest in all areas – in talent, training and education, scientific concentration and research and development – ​​to protect their digital infrastructure from cyber-attacks and provide competitive e-government services. These are key steps towards the digital creation of a competitive economy," is the conclusion of this report.

"We're pleased with this result, which shows an increase of twelve places on the World Ranking of Digital Competitiveness, the highest that the Croatian position has ever been in. Growth was achieved across all three areas: knowledge, technology and readiness for the future. The ranking itself points to areas where we still need to work, such as knowledge transfer (59th) or the ability to attract foreign experts (59th), but also those where we show excellent results, such as the ratio of the number of students to professors (7th) or investments in telecommunications (5.) This is a recognition of the work we've engaged in so far, but also an obligation to continue with efforts that will lead us to an even higher place on this ranking, in order to ensure a competitive advantage for the Croatian economy and the improvement of society as a whole," pointed out Acting President of the National Competitiveness Council, Ph.D. Ivan Misetic.

The annual ranking quantified the capacity of 63 global economies to adopt and explore new digital technologies and use them to transform government practices, business models and society. It does this by categorising 54 different criteria – a mix of external hard data (two-thirds of the total) and IMD's Executive Opinion Survey (one-third) – into three broad groups: a) future readiness, b) knowledge and c) and technology.

"This ranking of digital competitiveness describes the importance of national factors in explaining the digital transformation of companies and the adoption of digital practices by the general public. Digitally successful countries emerge from a combination of digital talent, digital regulation, data governance, digitalisation attitudes and capital availability,” said Arturo Bris, Director of the WCC.

This year's results shed new light on those factors that make it possible to strengthen the capacity of both governments and the private sector to protect digital infrastructure from cyberattacks, according to experts. This kind of action is of key importance for the adoption and spread of digital technology, and the hope is that the Croatian position on this list will only continue to get higher and higher.

The full report is available here.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Microsoft: Croatia's Digitisation Level Below Central and Eastern Europe Average

ZAGREB, 8 May 2022 - Croatia is nine percentage points below the average for Central and Eastern Europe on the Microsoft Digital Futures Index, which measured the level of digitisation in 16 European countries, Microsoft Croatia said earlier this week.

The Microsoft digital index, also known as the digital pulse of a country, provides data on the level of digitisation and detects the most successful areas and areas where more work should be done to speed up the digital transformation process.

The digital index measures fives categories of digital development - digital business, digital government and public sector, digital infrastructure, digital sector, and human capital.

Croatia’s total digital development level is 91 out of 100 points, which is the number of points defined as the average for Central and Eastern Europe.

Croatia ranked above the average on talent and the digital skills of young people aged between 16 and 29, as 48 per cent of the people in this age group have digital skills that are above the average of other countries. The digital skills level of the general population is also high.

The best results were scored in the Human Capital category, which is related to greater innovation, productivity, and salaries, while the results in all the other categories were close to the average for the Eastern and Central European countries.

“Our research has shown that digitally advanced countries are greener, wealthier, more innovative, and more competitive, and we believe that Croatia has strong potential and all prerequisites for becoming the digital hub of this part of Europe, which will base its economic development on innovation and modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence,” said Tatjana Skoko, the director of Microsoft Croatia.

Croatia scored 84 points In the Digital Business category, 90 points in the Digital Government and Public Sector category, 93 points in the Digital Infrastructure category and 87 points in the Digital Sector category.

In order to become a fully digital society, Croatia should focus on advancing the digital skills of people in all age groups, encouraging the digital transformation of small and medium-sized businesses, and promoting the digitisation of public services.

In addition to Croatia, the Digital Futures Index measured the level of digitisation for the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia. The index also included countries considered leaders in digitisation - Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Portugal.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Parliament: Digitisation of Notarial Services Good, but Fees are High

ZAGREB, 4 May 2022 - Both opposition and ruling parties in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday welcomed the government proposal that the services of notaries-public should be digitised and accessible to the public, but opposition lawmakers warned that notarial fees were high and that they would be regulated by rules and not by law.

Presenting the proposal to amend the Notary Public Act, Josip Salapić, state secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said that the proposed amendments allow parties to participate in legal procedures online and that they provide for new rules in the appointment of notaries.

"Until now, the minister signed a decision on the appointment of a notary-public without seeing who this person was. We had certain problems about it and now we want everything to be transparent," Salapić said.

The proposal provides for the selection process to be conducted by an independent commission and for short-listed candidates to be interviewed by the minister.

MP Miro Bulj (Bridge) objected to this, asking whether candidates would need "a party membership card" for the interview. He also expressed his dissatisfaction at the fact that notarial fees would be regulated by rules and not by law, over which parliament would have no influence.

Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front also complained about high notarial fees, to which Salapić said that notarial expenses had been reduced to a minimum through amendments to the Enforcement Act.

Lawmakers agreed that the Signature, Manuscript and Transcript Authentication Act, adopted 50 years ago, should be repealed.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

506 Million Euros for Green Transition for Three Croatian Regions

May the 3rd, 2022 - Three Croatian regions in different parts of the country are set to get their hands on as much as 506 million kuna in the name of pushing the green and digital transition forward.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the three Croatian regions of Pannonian Croatia, Northern and Adriatic Croatia will receive a separate allocation of 506 million euros for further investments in green and digital transition of their local economies, as was announced on Friday the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Natasa Tramisak, at the opening the Conference on Industrial Transition of Croatian Regions held at the Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences in Osijek.

Back in December 2020, the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union (EU) Funds began the process of industrial transition of NUTS 2 Croatian regions, which includes Adriatic, Northern and Pannonian Croatia. Namely, these regions are significantly below the EU development average and have the potential to strengthen their respective competitiveness by using the opportunities offered by global trends to revive economic growth and increase overall productivity.

The transition will be implemented with the help of European Union funds under the new Integrated Territorial Programme, which provides for the allocation of 506 million euros, which will be available only to enterprises owners and businessmen from the aforementioned three Croatian regions.

"We're completing the process of approving operational programmes, of which the plans for the industrial transition of Croatian regions for the period 2021-2027 are an integral part," added Tramisak.

Croatia's more obvious shift at least towards the digital transition occurred primarily as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic which saw very many ''in person'' errands quickly made available online, and more and more can be done administratively from the comfort of the home thanks to the popular e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) portal. That said, Croatia is still very much behind the times in many of these aspects, hence the cash injections aimed at improving this quickly as part of the EU's wider goals as a bloc.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Digital Croatia Project Aims To Increase Card Payments

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - Visa on Thursday presented Digital Croatia, a project supporting SMEs and trade businesses with the aim of increasing card payments between them.

Visa's Croatian director Renata Vujasinović said the wish was to help small Croatian businesses in the recovery process. Digital Croatia, she added, is part of Visa's efforts at European level for more than eight million SMEs.

In Croatia, Visa's goal is to increase card payments by 25%, she said.

The main goal of Digital Croatia is to step up the development of a digital payment network, so for six months Visa will offer free POS terminals to Croatian SMEs and trade businesses which did not accept card payments until now, she added.

The project will be carried out over the next three years.

Robert Blažinović of the Economy Ministry said that during the COVID crisis Croatian businesses adopted new digital technologies and business models en masse, adding that Digital Croatia would help them switch to a more modern way of doing business.

He said the ministry would advertise a call at the end of June for HRK 206 million in grants for the digitalisation of Croatian businesses.

Monday, 11 April 2022

So Long, Paperwork! Digital Croatian Building Permits on Horizon!

April the 11th, 2022 - Digital Croatian building permits are on the horizon as the country finally turns to a more digital approach when it comes to its complicated and inefficient administration processes.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, digital Croatian building permits once seemed like a dream, but all such permits will soon all be issued and stored in a digital form, thanks to a project by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property (MPUGDI), their close cooperation with numerous public authorities and of course - some European Uniion money.

The eArchive project “Digitisation of existing construction acts throughout Croatia” in the amount of more than 23.8 million kuna is being financed from the European Regional Development Fund and implemented through the “Spatial Planning Information System (ISPU) and its modules” project, which has a total value of 131 million kuna, of which 85 percent is being insured from the EU. As such, the period of issuing paper building permits is now being sent where it belongs - into the history books.

Millions of documents

Currently, these permits are stored in various archives, and in many cases the process of finding them, whether for regular people or investors, isn't easy, but the complete digital transformation of building permits is a turning point. Danijel Mestric, the Director of the Directorate for Supervision, Complaints, Information System Development and Digitisation at MPUGDA, noted that all location, construction and use permits issued since the establishment of the ePermit module back in 2015 have been stored in digital form. These number more than 3.2 million eDocuments dating from 1968 all the way up to 2015.

The move to create digital Croatian building permits means that the availability of this data to all people will be provided on the GEO portal of ISPU, where the data will be visible at the exact location of the building for which a permit was issued. Digitisation will also simplify the procedures for the reconstruction of buildings, as designers and clerks will be able to quickly access all of the necessary information and permits through the e-Permit system and other ISPU modules. Those who will readily benefit from the eArchive module are practically everyone in the country - the professional and scientific community, which means designers and speakers in municipalities and cities, as well as all investors and residents.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Project Free Electronic Books Logs Over 4 million Users

ZAGREB, 6 Feb 2022 - 20 years since its introduction, project Free Electronic Books had more than 4 million users at the end of 2021 and nearly 300 titles, of which more than 250 are written by contemporary Croatian authors.

In 2021, a record 31 titles were published as part of the project. Of the 298 titles published to date, 264 are currently available on the project website.

Last year's titles were published with the financial support of the City of Zagreb, the City of Rijeka and the Ministry of Culture and Media.

According to data provided by the Google Analytics service, in 2021 the project website registered 243,250 users, who read 1,208,869 e-books online and downloaded another 68,629 e-books. This means that users read and/or downloaded a total of 197,498 e-books in 2021.

The most read fiction book in 2021 was the novel "Sloboština Barbie" by Maša Kolanović (4,599 readers), followed by Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" (3,788) and the novel "Tuđi život" (Someone Else's Life) by Marina Vujčić (3,014).

The most read poetry book was "Tri jeseni" (Three Autumns) by Anna Akhmatova (2,357).

As many as 48 titles had more than a thousand readers last year, said the Society for Promoting New Media Literature.

At the end of 2021, the project surpassed 4 million users, which is nearly 200,000 per year, and books were read and/or downloaded 2,336,009 times, which means that each title had over 7,800 users on average.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Croatian Public Notaries Look to German Example and Go Digital

February the 4th, 2022 - Croatian public notaries are looking to Germany and adopting a much more digital approach. To those of us who have utilised public notaries (and their infamous stamps) in this country, this will come as very welcome news.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the mandate of the new leadership of the Croatian Chamber of Notaries (UHJK) is looking promising and much more digital indeed. Through the continuation of digitalisation of notary services, we can expect even more services to be made available on screen, including a high degree of legal certainty and dispute prevention, and services involving legal affairs which are related to property rights.

Bodies for a new three-year term were elected at the election assembly, and the president is Zvijezdana Raus-Klier. According to the current news, the plan of the Chamber is to further improve business that will facilitate access to citizens and increase legal security when using the services of Croatian public notaries, especially when it comes to public registers such as land registers and court registers.

"Our purpose and task is to be at the service of all citizens, to prevent disputes, provide security for land registry and court register data and in this context we're going to continue to improve the processes and level of service of the notary profession," said Rausch-Klier.

UHJK plans to finalise many new projects which involve the digitalisation of Croatian public notaries, so from the summer onwards, with the help of a new application related to eNotar, it will be possible to establish a company remotely or make changes to an existing one.

Croatian public notaries should also ''be relieved'' of dealing too much with land registers this year, as proposals for land registry entries and the issuance of excerpts will be able to be resolved electronically. In addition to that, a brand new IT system of registers is being developed maintained by the Chamber (wills, anticipated orders and debentures), with the possibility of introducing new digital registers (such as for powers of attorney and notarial deeds).

The entire digitalisation process for Croatian public notaries is in fact the digitalisation of preventive justice, and this in particular is realised within a separate IT system with the highest levels of digital and legal security, under the supervision of HJK, and not through commercial platforms.

With the support of the Ministry of Justice and Administration, Croatian public notaries up and down the country will soon implement the so-called German model for public notaries ''at a distance'', which will certainly be a relief to not only those carrying out these services but those seeking them.

All this will be done through a combination of videoconferencing and electronic identification and insight into a photo of the party in question from their identification document, and then the parties will be in a ''secure virtual room'' together without the need for physical presence in an office.

It is an application that, as was explained, will be easy to use for all involved parties, but at the same time be maximally secure in terms of cyber security, the protection of personal data, cthe onfidentiality of secrets and compliance with regulations on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Travel costs will be lower, time (and nerves) will be saved, and people will be able to use their time more economically, while documents generated by e-mail will be "available and stored in a suitable e-form and immediately enforceable in e-registers and e-databases such as the land registry, the court register, tax databases, pension and health insurance databases, and the like.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

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