Monday, 25 April 2022

Split Startup Alpha Sagittarius Creates Dual-Purpose Drone

April the 25th, 2022 - The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius, made up of a group of talented students, has created drones for both military and civilian purposes. They say they've been receiving inquiries ever since the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, eight students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split (FESB) who make up the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius, have designed and created the VECTOR V-3M unmanned system under the Aero-Navis Systems brand, part of which is an unmanned aerial vehicle of modular design and intended for dual use, ie for civil and military purposes.

Modular construction

"One socially useful purpose for drones is search and rescue, the control of land and maritime traffic, fire control, and the delivery of emergency medical supplies such as vaccines to remote locations. The drone is commercially used in the industry for the supervision and inspection of buildings, mines, power plants, gas pipelines, transmission lines, various gas emissions, etc. These are all activities in which unmanned systems are already used,'' explained CEO and Chief Engineer, Djani Vrsalovic.

The system also includes communication equipment, control equipment, mission management equipment, transport and service equipment and a launcher. Their drone can fly for three hours in a row, while with the multirotor configuration, it is able to fly for 30-40 minutes, and its range is defined by its own communication systems.

HD images are transmitted up to 50 kilometres, and the control and telemetry lasts for approximately 100 kilometres. The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius' drone is autonomous in performing various tasks, meaning it can be programmed to perform some tasks entirely independently.

“Our unmanned aerial vehicle is in the shape of flying wings, but there's the possibility of mounting modules with rotors on the wings, which turn it into a VTOL drone (an aircraft that can take off and land vertically).

We're planning a third version where the wings can be replaced with two multirotor modules on each side, each with four rotors. As such, the drone would become a classic multirotor. It's also possible to change the load, depending on the type of mission that needs to be performed. This gives a modular construction of the system that then provides great flexibility in use.

For example, let's say one journey requires a lot of hovering, vertical flights at short range for the purpose of the detailed survey of buildings or bridges, while the next day, there may be a need to record or take something to let's say... Vis, using fixed wings that provide a long range but need a landing surface and takeoff. VTOL would then be in the middle in terms of its characteristics. The system is available on the market with the drone in the basic version with a fixed wing. We're now nearing the end of the development of the VTOL version, the multirotor is conceptually complex, but it's what naturally follows in terms of finalisation. We also worked a lot on the communication systems and the control systems. We've never done a formal presentation to the market and a launch, but we've started to offer it to potential buyers,'' explained Vrsalovic.

The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius procures materials and equipment from all over the world, and they have experienced disruptions in the supply and production chains on their own proverbial skin, meaning some components are harder to come by. The technology is entirely theirs - they designed, manufactured, tested and fly it themselves. In addition to their drone, they also worked on the communication themselves, as well as the control station and much more.

Complex regulations remain dominant

According to Vrsalovic, the Croatian regulations on unmanned aerial vehicles are complex, as they are across the territory of the European Union. The rules, added Djani, are constantly changing because the market is also changing, technology is advancing rapidly and legislators need to keep up with it all, which means constant dynamics and alterations when it comes to drone regulations.

"There aren't many drone producers here in Croatia, so the agencies don't have a clear path when it comes to what, when, how and why. It's somewhat clear for drone users, but it's a little harder for manufacturers. Certification is a special challenge for BVLOS operations, which means operations out of sight when the pilot doesn't see the aircraft, but is operating it only remotely, and at long distances,'' he explained.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, interest in such systems has grown globally, we have witnessed the crash of an unmanned aircraft in the centre of Zagreb, and Vrsalovic says that they have already had several inquiries about the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius' unmanned system outside of the borders of the Republic of Croatia.

"It's difficult to reach state services, agencies and ministries here on our market. There's a lot of hesitation when it comes to accessing some advanced technologies and startup companies are struggling to get to the necessary government services. During the Homeland War, Croatia was one of the pioneers in the use of unmanned systems, but we forgot this technology as time passed and we didn't use our acquired knowledge. Now we've started from the very beginning in some areas,'' stated the director of the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Split-based Institution DES First Producer of Paper Bags for Dog Waste in Croatia

ZAGREB, 26 Jan 2022 - A Split-based institution that employs persons with disabilities, DES, on Wednesday presented its new product, a paper bag with a cardboard pad for cleaning up dog waste, and DES is the first manufacturer of paper bags of that kind in Croatia.

Director Edita Maretić Dimlić said that they had opted for that product because they wanted to develop their own products and actively take part in raising awareness among citizens, especially dog owners, that dog waste should be cleaned up, and thus contribute to the image of a healthy and clean Split.

She noted that this was the first product they produced on their own and that had not been commissioned. There is an image of a dog on the paper bag, as well as writing, which says "Respect your city, be a conscientious citizen, and clean up instead of me, please".

The paper bag was designed by the institution's Mia Perčić, and DES director Maretić Dimlić said that it was made of recycled paper and that DES was the first producer of such a paper bag for cleaning up dog waste.

Prague has such paper bags, which, she said, they saw as a means of encouraging citizens to pick up dog waste.

The City of Split has ordered 26,667 paper bags from DES and so supported the institution's new product and its use. DES has donated 2,000 paper bags to city districts, local committees, the Sporting Dogs Club and the County Association of the Blind, said Maretić Dimlić.

She recalled that during the pandemic DES started producing cotton masks and announced they would soon start producing souvenirs.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Split Digital Agency Locastic Boasts Employees in Austria, India...

November the 17th, 2021 - The Split digital agency Locastic has spread its wings far from its native city and even country, with employees dotted all over, from Tunisia to India.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, Antonio Peric-Mazar and Marko Maljkovic both had a vision which was to create a company where they'd like to work themselves if they hadn't instead chosen to enter the world of entrepreneurship way back in 2011.

''After 10 years, we still share the same vision,'' say Antonio and Marko, colleagues and friends from their student days who recently celebrated the passing of a decade since the founding of the Split digital agency Locastic, which deals with software development. Since then, they have reached 25 team members. Although most of them work from their headquarters in Split, two years ago they started hiring people from outside Croatia, so there are also people working for them from Austria, France, Tunisia and India.

“Our goal is to continuously create interdisciplinary teams that can develop a top quality product or project from start to finish. From time to time, we also hire talented, less experienced people with the aim of developing them into top professionals. We make sure that the employee has a quality mentor and an adequate project on which to work, develop their knowledge and further their experience because quality is more important to us than quantity. There's a perception that only programmers are missing in our industry, but the truth is the opposite. Almost every year, new positions and technologies are opened, which were created due to the need for specialisation in a certain field. Today, in addition to developers, designers and marketers, there's a great lack of system administrators, data analysts, project managers, experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as testers,'' explained Peric-Mazar.

Today, the Split digital agency Locastic is primarily engaged in the development of web and mobile applications (apps), but this area has expanded and they now also develop products on web technologies used on various platforms - eg cars, watches, and even refrigerators.

"We like to say that we help our clients in their digital transformation, meaning that we hope to solve their business problems by making digital products," said the director of the Split digital agency Locastic. So far, about 65 percent of their revenue comes from foreign markets, which is their primary focus. Peric-Mazar says that before, their exports accounted for about 80 percent of their revenue, but over time, Croatian clients have approached the budgets and requirements of foreign countries, so today they work a lot right here in Croatia. Some of their clients are Tommy, PBZ, A1, HPB and Cedevita, and when it comes to foreign names, FNY, Daikin, Splice and Willow are just a few.

Peric-Mazar claims that 2020 was the best year financially for the Split digital agency Locastic so far, the fact that that they'd practiced remote work before helped them out a lot, so they already had organised processes. This year, they predict growth of 20-30 percent. They are most proud, he says, of the projects they engage in that help people live better and easier. One is iSchool Zambia, which introduced digitalisation into schooling in that African country. They also recently worked on the Omogur - Dyslexia Friendly Reader app that makes reading easier for people with disabilities, primarily those with dyslexia.

“Omogur was a pretty demanding project because we needed to develop technology that didn’t exist, but the satisfaction you get when you see it helping the youngest among us is indescribable. This project has already picked up a number of awards, including the Digital Takeover Award for Best Socially Responsible Project. We're also proud of the projects we work with with other partners where we develop complex solutions for foreign and the Croatian market. We can single out the GFNY platform for organising bicycle races. Here on the Croatian market, we'd single out Tommy.

In less than two years, we've built an advanced eCommerce solution that is already competing well with the largest retail chains. The complexity of this solution is that for the end user, things must be as simple as possible and that in a few clicks their order comes to their door. There are a lot of complex real-time integrations going on in the background: order synchronisation, notification sending, price and delivery synchronisation within Tommy and Glovo, warehouses, etc. It all has to work flawlessly and nothing should bother the user, and judging by the two awards at the last SoMo Fighter competition - we succeeded in that,'' said the director of the Split digital agency Locastic.

They're just finishing TheGepek project, which we've written about before and which is the first package delivery platform to implement blockchain technology and become unique in the world. They aren't ruling out the option of opening an office outside Split one day, and they are sure of one goal - further expansion.

“We used to think it might be better to stay on the smaller side, but given that the market is growing at an unprecedented rate, we need to follow those trends. We like to grow organically and naturally, we'll certainly hire a few more colleagues by the end of the year and continue growing,'' concluded Antonio Peric-Mazar.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Split Company GetByBus Becomes Part of Israeli Bookaway Group

July the 16th, 2021 - The Split company GetByBus has made a new business move and will become part of the wider Israeli Bookaway Group.

As Novac/Ljubica Vuko writes, the Split company GetByBus sold its very first online bus ticket back in late March 2014, it was the only ticket sold that day. By the end of 2014, they had sold a total of about 25,000 tickets. The number of tickets sold grew from year to year, the number of bus carriers and countries where their services were available increased. Now they've reached an important milestone which means new growth and employment in becoming part of the Israeli Bookaway Group. The acquisition was recently completed.

''It's important for us that our brand GetByBus, which is recognised on the market, remains as it is, but that we also continue to develop using the resources of the Bookaway Group, its financial and logistical support. In all this, it's important to hire young people who have the opportunity to work and live in Split and provide services to customers around the world,'' say the leading people of this company.

The Split company GetByBus was founded by Dane Morten Smalby, who has been living in Dalmatia with his family for seventeen years. Initially, it was a website where information on bus routes in Croatia could be found, until the demand for online reservations spurred the success of the platform.

The co-founders of GetByBus are also Vivian Luksic, Tereza Kulic and Ante Dagelic. Each of them has a role to play in a business through which they allow passengers to purchase online tickets on tens of thousands of bus lines to get from point A to point B across more than 50 countries. They're the strongest here on the Croatian market and in the Balkans, and are present in many European countries and even elsewhere in the world.

''Our focus is always on our passengers, our goal is to make their trip as easy as possible,'' says Ante Dagelic while Tereza Kulic remembers the very beginnings when bus companies had to be offered a new digital service, and at that time most worked manually and only a few had their own internet sales channels. Today, the story is completely different.

''The ratings left by passengers are also important to us and to the carriers, and only those who really rode can give a review,'' Vivian Luksic points out.

After Bookaway first took over the Split company GetByBus, and then 12Go, a local transport company from Southeast Asia, the group wants to achieve an ambitious goal - together they want to become the of the travel industry.

''Currently, 95 percent of the land transport industry is offline, meaning travellers are wasting valuable time and money trying to manage their travel by booking flights and hotels online. The Bookaway Group wants to make traveling by train, ferry or bus an effortless experience. The finding, comparing and booking of the tickets is all done online, and customers receive support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,'' said Noam Toister, the founder and director of Bookaway on the occasion of the acquisition of GetByBus.

Toister founded Bookaway back in 2017 as a startup with two friends and business partners, they are David Yitzhaki and Omer Chehmer. In the meantime, they grew with the support of investors, and now with acquisitions. The Split company GetByBus will now work through Bookaway to accomplish this group’s mission, which means they want to modernise this 157 billion US dollar industry by uniting the world’s leading carriers and local suppliers with technology and resources that ultimately improve the entire travel industry.

''Changing this market wasn't at all easy. We've been building trust with suppliers for years, proving the benefits of doing digital business. The result of all that is the organic growth of the platform. Thanks to the partnership within the Bookaway Group, we're looking forward to sharing our resources and skills to further expand our customer base and gain more opportunities in regions such as Asia, the US and South America,'' said Morten Smalby.

He is especially happy now there is an additional opportunity to create new jobs in Split. They currently have 25 employees and want to hire a dozen more people in a variety of jobs, from web developers to marketing and sales. GetByBus has helped the digital transformation of bus carriers with its business, and is still working on it, now within the Bookaway Group.

Digital transformation is one of the European Union's top priorities, as stated on the European Parliament's portal, digital platforms affect various sectors from transport to energy, agri-food, telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare and change people's lives. Technologies can help optimise production, reduce emissions and waste, strengthen companies' competitive advantages, and provide new services and products to consumers.

In addition to digitisation in action, the GetByBus example highlights the importance of the green transition, another of the EU's top priorities.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.