Saturday, 23 March 2019

Croatia's Business Matchmaker - Project Which Pairs Students with Firms

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of March, 2019, Business Matchmaker, organised by the eSTUDENT student association and the Office for consulting and career development at Zagreb's Faculty of Economics, will be held on the 26th of March this year at Zagreb's Faculty of Economics (Trg JF Kennedy 6), beginning at 9:00. The completion of the official part is expected to be at 15:00.

This innovative project allows students to personally present themselves in a short four minute selection interview to a group of desired companies. Interviews will be held in the halls of the faculty, and the continuation of the meeting and greeting, to which all participants are invited, will be in "Kefi" after 15:00 that same day.

Business Matchmaker is an event which resembles the speed dating principle and is intended for EFZG students to represent themselves to their potential employers. After the interview, employers and students will evaluate each other and the best students can then expect another round of interviews, where they will be able to learn more and find out more about employment opportunities in their desired companies.

In this interesting and useful way, students on the lookout for an employment position are able to properly develop their self-presentation skills and get to know how the labour market works firsthand. This year's Business Matchmaker will see the participation of as many as 21 companies divided into five different groups.

Lucija Matašin shared her personal experience of last year's Business Matchmaker and what it did for her career-wise:

"By participating in Business Matchmaker, I got a student job, which is honestly everything but ''student'' style. Along with that [I got] a great reference for my CV and a lot of motivation and courage to make it easier to deal with stress in similar situations in the future. I met the people from the company, which I might once meet again, because the world is really small and who knows where I'll be tomorrow, and maybe I'll bump into some of these people again on my way. This eSTUDENT initiative and the Office for consulting and career development really provide EFZG students with something they don't get through their classes.''

The companies participating in the project are 24sata, Addiko Bank, Atlantic Grupa (Group), ATOS, British American Tobacco, Croatia Osiguranje (Insurance), Deloitte, DIV Group, EC, INA, Kaufland, King ICT, KPMG, L'Oreal Adria, mStart, Philip Morris Zagreb, Samsung, SofaScore, Syskit, Talentarium and Zagrebačka banka.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Vienna Highlights That Croatia's Awareness of Digitalisation is Lacking

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of March, 2019, the Austrian capital of Vienna boasts as many as 5,830 IT companies currently in operation, which is more than are in operation on the entire territory of Croatia.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) took with them as many as 32 Croatian companies, mostly from the IT sector, to Vienna's fifth international B2B Software Days.

Among them, the conference was participated in by King ICT, Megatrend business solutions, Mediatoolkit and Ekobit. Tajana Kesić Šapić, the director of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's industry sector, said that the visit was organised in cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Advantage Austria, and the European Entrepreneurship Network who are interested in the Croatian IT sector.

"Over the last five years, IT companies' revenue in Croatia grew by 7.4 percent, and exports rose almost twice as fast, to 11.3 percent per year," stated Kesić Šapić.

Although the startup scene in the Croatian capital of Zagreb has been ''coming to life'' over the last few years, the same sector in Austria's capital city has been growing stronger at double Zagreb's rate. In Vienna alone, there are more IT companies than are in operation in the whole of the Republic of Croatia, an impressive 5,830 of them.

Vienna is investing more than the equivalent of a quarter of a billion kuna per year into the city's startup scene, and just like in Zagreb, the city readily provides all the necessary support for the free establishment of startups, up to half a million euros worth.

Goran Mrvoš, director of Infosite, one of the Croatian IT companies at the fair, said that in Vienna he realised that the overall awareness of digitalisation in Croatia was low, and that it created a market advantage for foreign competition.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

3T Conference 2019 - Virtual Worlds Are Coming

The third edition of the 3T conference took placeon March the 12th in the Kaptol Boutique Cinema with various topics related to tourism and technology.

This the confirmed connection of tourism as the most important industry in Croatia and technology as a great support to tourism. The conference's director, Oleg Maštruko, opened the conference and pointed out the high share of tourism in Croatia's BDP. He emphasised that this and the digitalisation of services shouldn't be self-serving, but act as a tool to increase the efficiency and profitability of tourism and other sectors.

He said the framework for this years' conference was partly developed from topics covered in the previous two conferences.

Oleg Maštruko

The keynote speaker, Miikka Rosendahl, from the leading VR studio in Europe - ZOAN, presented to the audience how Helsinki got to be the European Capital of Smart Tourism and how they built the virtual platform for Helsinki. This virtual platform plans to attract at least a million virtual tourists in 2019. This complex project was realised by using different technology solutions through 3D modelling. VR Helsinki is made to be the digital platform with which visitors can tour Helsinki not just in the actual surroundings, but experience the city from the beginning of the 20th century, buy designer Finnish products, or send them to friends.

It also allows users to meet other virtual tourists from all over the world and enables them to explore Helsinki together.

The company works closely with many tourism stakeholders in Finland such as Finnair, and the plan is to fully launch in 2019. The question for conference participants at the end of the lecture was which locations should be virtualised in Croatia, and what and where exactly would be the most attractive locations for virtual tourists to visit.

Miikka Rosendahl

The second keynote speaker was Natalija Havidić from the Ministry of Tourism, and she presented the digitalisation project for public services in the tourism sector as part of e-Croatia 2020 project.

The plan is to develop public digital services by the end of 2020 and improve and connect services in the central tourist database, as well as improve the e-visitor system and the website Croatia.hr, as well as other e-services. All the data collected would be used for business intelligence in tourism and other related services.

Natalija Havidić

Ilija Brajković from Kontra moderated the panel entitled “Smart marketing in tourism – what really generates bookings". The participants were Analytics Lead from Bruketa&Žinić&Grey, Robert Petković, Head of Digital Marketing for Maistra Petar Milevoj, Internet Marketing Manager of Hotel Dubrovnik, Tomislav Kosir and Martina Srnec, Head of Marketing Department from the Croatian tourist board (HTZ).

All of the present panellists agreed that most important thing in planning marketing activities in tourism is to choose a quality promotional ''mix'' which aims at all important markets, as well as the continuous need for research into the desires of potential guests in order to provide as much information as possible. They emphasised the importance of having a great website for a product or service in tourism. and the importance of choosing suitable social networks which act as a good support for such promotional mixes. They agreed that word of mouth always beats other promotional efforts, therefore a good product and excellent service will always pay off.

The second part of the conference was traditionally split into three areas with main topics – technology, marketing and experiences. Questions about digitalisation in tourism, various booking platforms and digital solutions for payments, virtual reality in services and different IT solutions were covered by experts from Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom), Combis, Auka, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lemax, SedamIt, Spotsie and other such participating companies.

Panel   Smart marketing u turizmu

In the afternoon, there was another panel in which the topic "Croatian tourism in new technology surrounding – Growth limits" with moderator Željko Ivanković, from the Polazišta i perspektive think tank, was discussed.

The participants were Martina Nimac from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Neven Ivandić, from the Institute of Tourism, and Petar Rimac from the Expedia Group. Neven Ivandić presented the results of the research on some of the key issues of the sustainability of Croatian tourism and pointed out problems that come with the growth of tourism. The panellists debated on trends in other tourism destinations, like the shift from small family businesses to resorts, and adapting to the needs of tourists with digital solutions.

This years' 3T conference brought about new topics, interesting lectures and offered suggestions on how to deal with constant changes in tourism. The 3T conference is slowly building its brand, and it may well be the one in Croatia that helps tourism businesses to find appropriate solutions for their business processes along with the use of technology.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Croatian Gaming Series Starpoint Gemini Launches Brand New Hit

In the group of three are the partners of the popular Croatian gaming series - Intel, AMD, Razer, Corsair and Steel Series, as was stated by Igor Gajić.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of February, 2019, Starpoint Gemini, one of the most successful Croatian gaming series with more than 600,000 titles sold to date, has begun to sell its third installment at the world's largest online gaming store Steam.

In their home studio, LGM Games stated that they had received an enviable pre-registration number for the new game within just the first twelve hours of its release.

Igor Gajić from LGM Games said that Starpoint Gemini 3 is their most ambitious project so far.

"With the new title we want to move the boundaries, both in quality and market success, and our expectations are great," said Gajić. He added that the RPG space game, which allowed the player to enjoy the world of Captain Jonathan Bold, worked with a team of fifteen experts, and was additionally assisted by a further five external experts.

Although the title states the number three, this is actually the fourth game in this series. Gajić stated that after Starpoint Gemini 1, which he admitted had a "shaky start", Starpoint Gemini 2 was released five years ago. It is the best-selling title in the series so far. Gajić confirmed to Poslovni Dnevnik that he has sold more than 400,000 copies. Two years ago, the Croatian studio LGM Games, which once featured its full name, Little Green Men Games, issued a spin-off franchise called Starpoint Gemini Warlords. This title was also very well sold, impressively selling more than 200,000 copies.

"The Dvojka and Warlords hits are among the genre fans, so, upon these successes we have created a very stable base from which we can build a solid foundation for a new game," said Gajić.

The previous title in the series, Warlords, had an excellent rating on Metacritica, of 73 percent, and just two years ago when it was released on Steam, it won the gold medal as Early Access Grads Best of 2017.

According to Business Croatia, Intercorona, through which LGM Games operates, grew from four to eighteen employees from 2013 to 2017, with revenues rising from 840,500 to 4.86 million kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for more info on this Croatian gaming series and much, much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 7 January 2019

Investments in Croatia: Ivanec to Become Home of Robot Assembly Hall

Investments in Croatia are growing in spite of the difficult investment climate which typically sends most would-be investors running for the hills, or just across the border to more investor-friendly climes. Ivanec, a town in continental Croatia, is due to see a rather large business investment which ties in with massive technological advancements - robotics.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 7th of January, 2019, this is a 1.5 million euro investment, through which BGW obtained ownrship of 10,000 square feet of land on which the construction of an industrial hall and its accompanying area is set to begin this spring. The company BGW can currently be found in a hired space in a hall in Ivanec, and the company's office space located in Varaždin has become, as company director Kristijan Danjko openly says, too small.

"The fleet that we own, as well as all of the construction equipment, is too big for the current premises we have and which we've got on lease. We selected the city of Ivanec primarily because of the benefits it provides, land prices there, documentation support, and their very approach to us as investors,'' he explained.

At the Ivanec industrial zone, the plan is to build business premises of approximately 600 square metres, and 1,000 square metres of production halls. In the second phase of this investment, as was announced Danjko, on the very same plot they plan to build yet another business facility. "A meeting with the investment and competitiveness agency was held back in October 2018, where we were introduced to the possibilities of using the state incentives we're now planning to use.

As previously mentioned, the planned investment is worth just over 1.5 million euro, and Ivanec, their location of choice, is also set to benefit from the move, as was explained by BGW. Two other companies - BGW Electronics and BGW Montaža, will also be located on the new premises. BGW Montaža was initially formed in 2013 and is involved in the installation of robots, transport belts, and more, while BGW Electronics was founded in February 2018 and deals with electrical engineering in Croatia and abroad.

At present, both companies employ about a hundred employees, and their plans are to continue on expanding. This planned investment in Ivanec, much like all other similar investments in Croatia, is likely to bring not only economic development and work positions, but a concrete demographic measure to help keep Croatia's youth within the country's borders.

Make sure to stay up to date with investments in Croatia by following our dedicated business page.

Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 4 January 2019

Digital Croatia: How Does Croatia Aim to Help Entrepreneurs?

Digital Croatia might seem a bit like a pipe dream for many, but could it be a closer possibility than we might think? Croatia has some plans to help out its entrepreneurs.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of January, 2019, at the initial time of this report, these were still the unofficial estimates of the Croatian Ministry of the Economy, which Minister Darko Horvat was set to turn into concrete measures and present at a government session.

Abolishing, or at best reducing some of the administrative procedures which continue to needlessly hinder domestic entrepreneurs should result in 626 million kuna's worth of relief for the Croatian economy.

This so-called government "rescue package" was first rather unexpectedly unveiled as part of a New Year congratulations post on Facebook, of all places. The measures proposed are designed primarily to "attack" a total of 314 different (and mentally draining) administrative processes which entrepreneurs, both would-be and established, need to go through, these often include an incredible amount of red tape, needing to pay for things nobody quite understands several times, waiting in lines for hours, or having to deliver a variety of paper reports to various institutions.

In essence, the desire behind the rescue package ties in with the deeply desired digital Croatia as well as with the wish to keep Croatia's brimming talent within the country's borders by reducing the truly unfathomable amount of bureaucracy that faces everyone in Croatia who simply desires to create something of their own, from start ups to companies and businesses.

Among Minister Darko Horvat's list of remedies regarding the process of the registration of a company in the court registry are savings of about 173 million kuna in this field alone. Entrepreneurs should also see the scope of their need to report to the tax administration reduced, too. When speaking about his action plan, the Minister of Economy says that it was all based on good inter-ordination coordination and a high degree of consensus between the lines.

"Certain processes have been defined within the nine ministries successively, and as amendments to the laws or regulations, they'll come into effect in 2019. I expect that the vast majority of these 314 implementation measures will be implemented during the first half of 2019,'' he said. The major relief for Croatia's entrepreneurs will largely be owing to the digital Croatia aim, more specifically the digitisation of various administrative processes.

The first concrete moves of a digital Croatia should enable business start-up through the simple filling in of a single electronic form, which is a far cry from the current situation. Minister Horvat explained that this "action" will also include the banking sector, in order to ensure that entrepreneurs can manage to open a bank account in just a day or two to make their payment transactions easier. Such a system implies the use of digital Croatia once again, involving e-signatures, e-trademarks and other electronic services.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business page for more on digital Croatia, Croatian entrepreners, Croatian companies, products and services, as well as the general business and investment climate. Follow our politics pages to keep up with any measures being proposed or introducted in order to relieve the country's typically burdened entrepreners and businesspeople by the Croatian Government.

 

Click here for the original article by Marija Brnic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Digital Croatia: Country Lacks Citizens with Advanced Digital Skills

The desire of many Croatian companies, institutions and state bodies is to create a digital Croatia, in which the country's draconian and almost masochistic love of paperwork and stamps are banished to the past and recalled only as a bad memory. Despite the wishes of many, it seems that the dream of a digital Croatia will take a while to become a reality.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of December, 2018, the increase in the number of employees of various digital professionals in Croatian companies, and the retention of qualified digital professionals in Croatia, are two key goals for the establishment of the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

A new body, coordinated by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), has kicked off with its work in Croatia. Representatives of HUP-ICT Association, the Croatian Government, the Ministry of Science and Education and the Ministry of Labour signed a memorandum on the establishment of the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

Davor Majetić, CEO of HUP, says that digitalisation is now absolutely imperative for all companies which want to be competitive on today's market, and this is felt by the significant change that we have experienced in Croatia since 1997 in terms of jobs and employment.

"We lack digital skills and ICT professionals in all industries, and we're continuing to persuade people that the issue of digital skills is a matter of 21st century literacy, a standard without which our children will not be ready for the labour market," stated Majetić, adding that in solving this very issue lies an opportunity for the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

Boris Drilo, President of HUP ICT Association and member of the Croatian Telecommunications Board, said that their ultimate desire is to move the current ICT sector's positive momentum over into other sectors of the economy and transform the Croatian economy into a digital economy.

He says that in Croatia's neighbouring countries, as well as in the rest of the European Union, the ratio is in favor of having a digital economy, as opposed to the traditional 3:1 contribution to the overall GDP of the country. He claims that the situation in Croatia is currently the other way around, adding that Croatia currently has about 50,000 ICT experts, and that the country needs 200,000 citizens with advanced digital skills for further market competition at an international level.

Bernard Gršić, State Secretary of the Central State Office for Digital Society Development, stressed that the work of this body is supported by the Croatian Government.

"This coalition should address the challenges of multi-level digital skills, and the work of the coalition is being supported by the Government of the Republic of Croatia and by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković," Gršić said.

Hrvoje Balen, Vice President of the HUP-ICT Association, who is also a member of Algebra board, says that the Republic of Croatia is experiencing a significant increase in the emigration of younger and highly educated individuals, he therefore highlighted the two main goals set by the coalition: an overall increase in the number of digital professionals, and their retention here in Croatia.

This Croatian coalition will likely become a leading power in the creation of a digital Croatia and is part of the grand coalition for digital jobs initiative, which was initially launched three years ago by the European Commission with the aim of linking the economy, educational institutions, and the state together to work on the general development of digital competencies.

Is digital Croatia on a concrete path to reality? Only time will tell.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for more information on the transformation of digital Croatia and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Robotics in Croatia: Osijek Startup Has First Croatian Industrial Robot

Robotics in Croatia is a growing trend, with the constant advancement of technology and innovation, Croatia is putting both feet forward when it comes to developing not only robots, but knowledge.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2018, one Osijek-based startup has successfully developed an autonomous robotic platform for cargo transfer and has since presented it to some major global players, names including Orbico, Atlantic and Tokić are now testing it.

The Osijek startup, Gideon Brothers, has thus developed the first Croatian industrial robot. What it involves is an autonomous robotic platform for cargo transport, within the scope of the ''warehouse of the future'' that is increasingly being used by the likes of Amazon and Alibaba, as well as numerous other major logistics and merchants.

It doesn't have a name, at least not for now, but the Croatian autonomous ''robo-warehouse'' has an enviable performance. It can work properly without interruption for 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Its battery allows it to withstand a shift of six hours per piece, and then when the discharged battery is replaced with full one, and the job can continue. It's also fast.

The new step forward in robotics in Croatia, which is also miracle of high technology in itelf, was developed by a team of five doctors of science and 26 experts in the field of hardware and software in Croatia. The robo-warehouse is also a very attractive business product. In less than two years since its inception, this Osijek startup has developed technology which is ten times cheaper and more powerful in collecting its environmental data than the type which is currently the most widely used - the LIDAR driving system.

One example of this are the systems used by Tesla motors in their cars and trucks. Gideon has upgraded LIDAR with its own solution that combines stereo cameras and artificial intelligence (deep learning).

When asked whether the robot has already been seen by some of the biggest global players, such as Amazon and Alibaba, Milan Račić, the co-founder and director of development of Gideon Brothers didn't want to reveal any specific names, while emphasising that they have indeed presented their product "to some of the world's biggest players".

What has been very openly confirmed is that the Osijek startup will target both small and medium-sized companies on a global scale with its product.

"Such robots enable small and medium-sized companies to boost their efficiency and come up to the scale of the same level of competitiveness in transport and logistics which only some of the biggest international companies currently have. Of course, the biggest players are aware of this and they're actively following this technology," Račić says.

Three companies, operating in more than thirty countries and having a massive annual income of over three billion euro, are the first buyers, more specifically, they're the first commercial reference of Gideon's robo-warehouse, which is a major boost not only to this startup in particular but to robotics in Croatia as a whole.

The use of various robotics in Croatia is on the up, and Milan Račić says their product will provide a competitive advantage for Croatian companies and will continue to transform them. Mladen Pejković, senior executive of the Atlantic Group, says that digital transformation is considered an important element for future competitiveness. "That's why we're very excited about the pilot project with Gideon Brothers in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics in our logistics operations," noted Pejković.

"The pace of change will only accelerate in the future, and our partnership with Gideon Brothers will give us tools in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics that will help shape that future," stated Branko Roglić.

Ivan Gadže of the large company Tokić said that in parallel with engaging the best people to help them realise plans to spread to other EU markets, they want to provide their employees with the very best tools to help them achieve this.

"Strategic cooperation with Gideon Brothers is seen as an opportunity to introduce smart automation into our business and we reiterate the success we've achieved in Croatia on the international scene," said Gadže.

Matija Kopić, co-founder and CEO of Gideon Brothers, revealed that along with Milan Račić, his new startup, Gideon Brothers has three other co-founders who have helped significantly in the development of the first Croatian industrial robot. One of those individuals is Josip Cesić, he is one of the authors of the most successful algorithms in the world for simultaneous localisation and mapping, which is based on stereo cameras.

Then comes Edin Kočo, who led in the design and production of robo-warehouse, and had previously designed and manufactured robots for inspection in nuclear power plants. Last but by no means least, the fifth co-founder of Gideon Brothers is Kruno Stražanac, who is a big data expert, extremely knowledgeable in data analysis and technical support.

Kopić stated that he is lucky to live in such an incredible age, because Gideon Brothers has managed to accomplish something that many of the previous theoreticians of robotics could have only dreamed of.

He points out that this success is a result of very strong support from both Croatian and foreign investors. "The support of our investors and clients confirms our conviction that autonomous robots equipped with visual perception will deeply and positively change our society," added Kopić.

In just two years, the Croatian startup Gideon Brothers underwent two rounds of investment. It received 16.3 million kuna or 2.2 million euro in investment from 21 investors.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for more information on robotics in Croatia and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 10 December 2018

Croatian Company Develops Artificial Intelligence for Hotel Guests

One Croatian company has developed a type of artificial intelligence purely for hotels, and as of next summer, various hotels belonging to the Jadranka Group will have the brand new system made available for their guests from around the world.

''Alexa, what can I do today?'' a guest of the Lošinj Bellevue Hotel will soon be able to ask.

''You can go and visit Susak and Ilovik, or visit the wellness pool. In the evening, I'd suggest going to the Matsunoki Japanese restaurant,'' Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, will respond.

As Novac.hr/Filip Pavic writes on the 10th of December, 2018, no, we're not talking about some dreamlike hotel in the year 2048, but about 2019's tourist season in the hotel accommodation belonging to the Jadranka Group. This Croatian hotel company, will become the first in Croatia, and in the world, to introduce a special type of ''hotel artificial intelligence'' to its accommodation facilities.

"We've created a system of artificial intelligence that will give to each guest, in a given moment, taking into account the enormous amount of data, a prediction of the type of content and services the hotel has that they might be interested in," explained Marko Lukičić, a member of the board of directors of the Jadranka Group, who is also the co-founder of Acquaint, the Croatian company which thought of and then designed this artificial intelligence system, which is solely for hotels.

As has been said, the whole system, which is currently called Amenity Recommender, is fully functional and is currently being tested in five hotels belonging to the Jadranka Group on the island of Lošinj - The Bellevue and the Alhambra, which are both five-star facilities, as well as in Aurora, Vespera, and Punta, each with a four-star rating.

''The plan is to equip the rooms of Hotel Bellevue with Amazon Echo, which are speakers through which the guest can talk to Alexa the virtual assistant, before the next tourist season. She will ''lend'' her voice to our artificial intelligence system. We will also connect the system with the hotel TV system and customer relationship management system (CRM) to be able to communicate with the guest across all channels,'' Lukičić added.

Namely, this hotel artificial intelligence system will be a kind of virtual consultant and tourist guide that will try to predict what the guest wants to see and experience while on holiday. Excursions, restaurants, museums, wellness, diving courses, massages, yacht rentals, etc.

The ''virtual receptionist" will choose three specific recommendations for the guest among the 750 available services, taking into account enormous amounts of available data. Among other things, the age, sex, country of origin of the guest, as well as who they're with on holiday, the room in which they're staying and the which period in which it is will be taken into account to provide the best recommendations. As extensive as that is, that is not all. The system will also ''keep its eye'' on the weather and change the offers recommended should the weather take an unfavourable turn.

''It's important to emphasise the fact that this artificial intelligence deals with anonymous guest information and based on this data, it is not possible to detect the guests' identity. It doesn't accumulate data, it simply processes it,'' explained Lukičić, noting that the rules of the Personal Data Protection Act (GDPR) will be absolutely respected.

The constant advancing of technology has been bringing in the question of just what will happen to staff, human staff, that is, who used to be the ones to perform such tasks. Will they be replaced by artificial intelligence? No, says Lukičić, stating that the intentions behind this innovative invention were never to remove the need for a human touch in this industry.

''The receptionists will have a key supervisory role, and they'll also get acquainted with artificial intelligence with courses. Provided with information, they will be able to offer a more quality service and create an even better experience for the guest,'' added Lukičić.

Otherwise, the whole story came to light just two years ago. Back then, Lukičić, as the responsible person for the digital transformation of the Jadranka Group, was given the opportunity to test his ​​artificial intelligence idea which has been ''seducing'' him continually from back in his student days spent at FER.

"When we began with that whole story, of course, we tried to find an already finished solution. We contacted companies which already have their own artificial intelligence platforms, such as Google, IBM and Microsoft, but we've come to the conclusion that they could only offer us generic intelligence or a chatbot. We needed something much more precise,'' recalls Lukičić. His list of criteria for the hotel system of artificial intelligence was highly specific and seemingly impossible to reach at the time.

"We were looking for a company that had profound expertise in hotel industry, expertise in machine learning and data knowledge, as well as programming, to make us a special type artificial intelligence. As expected, we couldn't find such a company,''

Lukičić realised that in order to truly get their hands on what they needed, they had to set up their own company that would bring all these skills together properly. In other words, start completely from scratch. He readily admitted that after this Croatian company was created, the actual process of developing artificial intelligence was a painstaking one.

''A lot of statistics, linear algebra, learning, programming, studying, and discussion were needed to eventually have a very small number of code lines. And, there you go, the artificial intelligence was born. But with the science-fantasy part of the story, there was also a business story,''

According to Lukičić, besides its futuristic possibilities, artificial intelligence also provides the possibility of raising hotel revenues in a very specific way. Namely, artificial intelligence of this kind requires very little investment and relies solely on customer spending. There is no need to expand accommodation capacities or raise prices, which are the traditional ways in which to raise revenue. The goal, he says, is to increase the overall value of the facilities through subtle content delivery, without aggressive and offputting sales pitches and a bombardment of offers.

''According to our tests, in regard to a four-star luxury hotel on the island of Lošinj, which has very low maintenance costs, the profits after the introduction of artificial intelligence doubled,'' stated Lukičić, noting that the benefit will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of hotel, its existing maintenance costs, as well as any planned investments for the future.

As far as further plans are concerned, Lukičić hopes that by the end of the year, Acquaint, which currently has only six employees, could sign a global agreement to introduce their system to some European and Asian hotels.

''We're already working with Oracle engineers to create a certified interface for our product. That would make Oracle one of our sales channels,'' says Lukičić, referring to the Croatian company's collaboration with a multinational IT company. They are also in contact with Amazon, the largest e-merchant whose voice technology is being used already, but for any type of official co-operation, he will have to open an office across the pond in the United States.

"All this gives us enough arguments to say that what we do makes sense even though we're currently a research and development company and we aren't making any revenue," Lukičić concluded.

Make sure to stay up to date with more information on Croatian companies, products and services, as well as the business and investment climate in Croatia by following our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages.

 

Click here for the original article by Filip Pavic for Novac.hr/Jutarnji

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Croatian Robotics Team from Đakovo Enters Final of International Competition

As Index writes on the 8th of December, 2018, a talented Croatian robotics team from the Josip Antun Ćolčić elementary school in Đakovo has been placed into the final round of the MakeX competition, among sixteen of the best teams in the world.

The members of the Croatian team, Ana Švegli and Iva Mijakić, under the mentorship of Tomislav Milanović, impressed all those present in China where the competition in educational robotics, MakeX, is being held.

The Croatian competition has been organised by the Institute for Development and Innovation of the Youth (IRIM). The aim of this, as well as of all of the other projects, is to enable all students in the Republic of Croatia to have equal opportunities participate in the development of robotics, automatics, and other needed programming skills.

The most successful Croatian robotics team from the national MakeX competition flew all the way to China, and this competition is otherwise IRIM's most extensive educational and competitive project to date, as well as the largest unified robotics competition in the whole of Europe. An afternoon of preparations now awaits the innovative young Đakovo robotics team, and tomorrow will bring the final round of the competition. Other teams are continuing on with technical challenges as an additional part of the competition.

"The tempo of the competition is very demanding, but our team is fantastic. Many of them are getting along well with the teams from China and from other countries, and here, we're (almost) an attraction, everyone wants to get a picture with the teams,'' wrote Paolo Zenzerović of the Institute for Development and Innovation of the Youth on his Facebook profile.

In addition to the competition itself, the presentation of Makeblock products was also held today, and the Croatian robotics team played around with a laser cutter and made a personalised Croatian Makers bear, they also got to see a fully functional wooden mBot robot.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated Made in Croatia and lifestyle pages for more on Croatia's young talent, as well as on domestic innovation and technology.

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