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 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

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.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Croatian Aviation Student Team Best in World at Aircraft Projection

An absolutely incredible achievement for the Croatian aviation student team of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding has been secured with their outstanding success at an international competition organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AIAA).

Croatia may not have many inhabitants, and with the number worryingly dwindling day by day with the mass emigration of the population to pastures new, there might not be a lot to smile about for many. Despite this, this small country with a population numbering just a few million continues to breed some of the most impressive and talented people across all fields, from sport to technology and innovation, to cuisine.

As writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, the ten-member team came first place in the category of team projects by graduate students. reports that their next goal is to present the project to all interested parties in order to popularise the faculty and that particular field of study.

The Croatian aviation student team consists of Fran Delić, Tibor Gašparac, Antonio Golub, Antonio Jurišić, Antonio Klasnić, Ivan Kovačević, Matea Lišnić, Kristijan Ruklić, and Vjekoslav Sraga, and all of them participated in the construction of the best project under the watchful eyes of their mentors dr. sc. Milan Vrdoljak and doc. dr. sc. Pero Prebeg.

Within the conceptual design of the aircraft, they formed their main parts such as the wings, the body, the chassis and drive, in accordance with the goals they set themselves as well as the requirements of the MIL standard and the project task.

Their impressive victory is a huge success in the global context, as the competition is announced by the largest aviation organisation with more than 80,000 members and which publishes dozens of professional aviation magazines. From the Croatian perspective, the team's success is an even greater one.

Except for the aforementioned Croatian aviation student team, only two other teams from Europe won at this competition - and they were teams from the prestigious universities of TU Delft and the Polytechnique University of Milan in Italy.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated lifestyle and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Largest Croatian Software Company to Build New Campus in Zagreb?

The largest Croatian software company and the very first one to exceed 1000 employees has allegedly begun plans for the construction of the Infobip Campus Zagreb.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of November, 2018, the largest Croatian software company, Infobip, has apparently decided to surpass itself once again and is planning to build an even larger campus than the one that opened its doors last year in Vodnjan in Istria, this time in the Croatian capital.

To briefly recall, at the end of last year, Infobip Campus Pangea was opened by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and this facility, boasting 17,000 square metres in total, became the largest IT campus in the whole country.

The photogallery entitled "Infobip Campus Zagreb" with dozens of images of the new facility was published on LinkedIn by the multi award-winning Zagreb studio SODAarhitekti. After publishing, the post quickly received more than 200 likes, and among the ''likers'' was Infobip's chief operating director, Robert Kutić. Discussions about the construction of a campus in Zagreb have been going on for some time, but there had not been any actual confirmation of that fact until now.

Among the rumours circulated the information that Infobip was looking for PR agencies to properly ''follow'' this project for the company. The photographs show that the campus in Zagreb is expected to be larger than the one in Vodnjan, potentially twice as large. According to the currently available information, the new campus will be located in Klara in New Zagreb, in the area of the city where Microsoft, DHL, Styria, Croteam, and other companies are based.

Vedran Jukić, owner of SODAarhitektat, who initially published the photo gallery on LinkedIn, was unavailable for comment. Infobip also refused to comment on it.

Despite that, Poslovni Dnevnik was unofficially informed from close sources to the company that "that they're just pictures, and the published work is unlikely to be selected". Infobip already has a smaller office in the old part of Zagreb, near Trešnjevka, but apparently plans to continue expanding rapidly. In early 2017, it became the first Croatian software company with more than a thousand employees, and by the middle of this year, there were already over 1,300 of them, of which around 500 are based here in Croatia.

The largest Croatian software company already has fifty offices across all continents except the Antarctic, and its services are used by as many as four billion people worldwide.

The company reportedly made more than a quarter of a billion euro at the global level in 2016, with 350 million euro in profit last year. As was confirmed by the co-founder and director of Infobo Silvio Kutić, they grew 30 percent last year. If Infobip continues to grow at this impressive pace, this year the company could reach 455 million euro, or 3.4 billion kuna, in total revenue. Despite these educated guesses and calculated estimates, these figures are impossible to check because the company's official headquarters are located in London, United Kingdom.

Make sure to follow our Made in Croatia and business pages for more info on business in Croatia.


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

Sunday, 25 November 2018

New Croatian Central Consumer Portal, When Will It Be Ready?

According to Ipsos research, at least one negative shopping experience was reported by 29 percent of the respondents so far. In line with EU rules, a new Croatian Central Consumer Portal may provide the answer for consumers to be able to access everything they need to know about their rights.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of November, 2018, a new set of European Union rules will soon be incorporated into domestic consumer protection legislation with the adoption of proposals sent to the Croatian Parliament.

Despite the generally welcome move, practice hasn't reflected theory so far, and information has shown that consumers tend to find it very hard to deal with the proverbial "forest" of regulations that exist when it comes to consumer rights and protection, and want easier access to information about their rights, as well as clear instructions to find out exactly who to contact when they feel that their rights have been denied, violated, or otherwise infringed upon.

The Ministry of Economy is therefore preparing a unique, Croatian central consumer portal entitled "Everything for Consumers" (Sve za potrošače) which should kick off with work by the end of this year, or just a little later at the very beginning of 2019.

"Our goal is that consumers no longer have to waste their time to first get the information [they need] about which competent body they require, then [spending more time] on just how to get to the [required] information from that body, but instead to have everything they need to know at their disposal - from how the product needs to be labelled in order for them to get all the information they need, and how it's necessary to point out the retail price to the possibility of the termination of the contract and the return of the goods, to what to pay attention to before they make purchases online,'' they state from the Ministry of Economy.

For the launch of the Croatian central consumer portal, inspiration drawn directly from field experience was used, and this year, campaigns across the country were organised, in March, September, and even on this coming Saturday another one will held at Zagreb's Zrinjevac.

The research conducted into this by the Ipsos agency back in September for the aforementioned Ministry shows how just a very small number of those over the age of 16, a mere 16.7 percent, believe they are somewhat or completely acquainted with their consumer rights. As many of 33.5 percent of consumers are totally unaware of what their rights as consumers are, and at least one negative customer experience was experienced by as many as 29 percent of the respondents, and most of them, as much as 71 percent, had a problem with a purchased product, followed then by public service irregularities (20 percent).

The move on creating the Croatian central consumer portal, and generally on placing greater emphasis and concern on consumer rights has been welcomed by Croatia because it ensures the continued proper functioning of the market, and the customer's satisfaction is very much in the interest of business people working in this field because transparency and fair rules often work as a trustworthy condition for returns, with re-purchases often then being made.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and politics pages for more information like this.


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

Saturday, 24 November 2018

ECO-NautiNET: Platform Designed for the Nautical Sector

As Morski writes on the 24th of November, 2018, a meeting of the technical working group in the framework of the ECO-NautiNET web project was held in Dubrovnik on November the 20th and 21st, in which the needs of the website's users were discussed. Through the ECO-NautiNET project, activities are being carried out to improve the competitiveness and innovation of small and medium-sized companies in the nautical sector, as well as acting as a means to support their internationalisation and networking abilities.

The meeting saw the presentation of the results of the research conducted so far between the four target groups - the small and medium-sized companies from within nautical sector, broker project partners, and supporting institutions and scientific institutions. Based on the results and conversations with platform developers, the technical working group has managed to define the simplest in which way to include future users, and which tools are needed for the most efficient presentation of the project's products and services, technical and technological achievements, and innovations.

The goal of the ECO-NautiNET web platform is to motivate and involve as many business entities, support institutions, and other innovations in order to take advantage of the opportunity to place themselves on new markets, and to develop the competitiveness and innovation of the nautical sector of the Adriatic-Ionian region as a whole, through easy access to all news and high quality information in just one place.

This goal is highlighted as the desire to become the most important development driver of contact with more than 500 businessmen from the nautical sector from across Croatia, Albania, Italy, Greece and Slovenia, and most entrepreneurs in this field continue to face the same or very similar problems irrespective of the country they come from.

As a result, most of these companies have up to ten employees, and as far as typical issues and problems are concerned, poor cooperation within the nautical sector, a lack of clear nautical sector development policy, and the fact that cooperation with research and science centres is either non-existent or very small stand out as the most common and indeed the most pressing.

Over 80 percent of the respondents are primarily interested in improving competitiveness and innovation by linking small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the Adriatic-Ionian region's nautical sector with supporting institutions and research and scientific centres through the ECO-NautiNET web platform.

ECO-NautiNET is otherwise project number 398 which is part of the INTERREG ADRION transnational cooperation program co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and IPA funds (IPA II).

Make sure to stay up to date with all things sailing by following Total Croatia Sailing and our dedicated lifestyle page.


Click here for the original article by Jasna Jaklin Majetic on Morski

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Digital Croatia: Instant Payments Coming to Croatia?

With talk of a brand new digital Croatia becoming ever louder, it seems that the powers that be are following suit.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of November, 2018, when talking about digital money, especially in the context of whether or not Croatia really needs a form of ''cryptokuna'', the example of Sweden was pointed out. Due to the high level of digital payments and the development of practices where retailers and banks have begun refusing paper money, Sweden decided to introduce a digital krona.

Croatia will not take the same path as Sweden and simply introduce digital currency, but it will have an instant payment system from December onwards, not only in euros but in Croatian kuna. This was announced at the BUG F2 Future of Fintech conference held in Zagreb by the executive director of CNB/HNB (Croatian National Bank)'s payments sector, Ivan Biluš.

The new system will most help banks to carry out business with their fintch players, especially Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It will also affect the strength of their relationships with card holders who see the ability to make fast payments anywhere as perhaps the most important thing. Biluš noted that the system, which would have the support of the CNB TIPS payment system, will be launched alongside that of the European Central Bank (ECB) on the 30th of November, 2018.

"As of January 2019, we'll not only have European instant payments in Croatia which are based on the euro, but also Croatian ones [based on the kuna], which will enable the instant transfer of the kuna", says Biluš. He said that banks in Croatia could negotiate the terms of the new service with the CNB/HNB by December, but also stressed that he didn't expect the first commercial example of the service to actually be on the market before January next year.

TIPS will enable banks to offer services that are already on offer in the United States and in the United Kingdom, where customers can quickly transfer money from their bank account using IBAN to a foreign IBAN account.

Some of the most well known applications which use fast pay include PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle, but also Google Wallet and Facebook Messenger. Despite the country's desire for a digital Croatia, these apps are not yet available with such a payment function here on the Croatian market.

Biluš repeated several times during his presentation that the race between the fintech and the banks is an unequal one, but that major changes are expected on both sides shortly. He said that the EU, with the ECB, has its own interest in creating a single digital market for the European Union and that it was that which made the central bank enter into this business.

Although the ECB initially announced that the TIPS would cost 0.2 cents per transaction, work within ten seconds and set a limit on the transaction amount to 15,000 euros, the executive director of the payment sector at the CNB claims that the transaction cost will be 0.1 percentage points, and that the money transfer will be able to be completed in no more than two seconds.

Want to keep up with more news like this and get better acquainted with the potential new digital Croatia? Make sure to follow our business page for much more.


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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Digital Croatia: Goodbye to Payment Slips and Queues?

Are we about to enter a new digital Croatia as the country's administration finally starts coming around to the idea of scrapping its archaic obsession with paper and payment slips?

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of November, 2018, the e-Citizens (e-Građani) mobile application is set to bring with it a veritable tsunami of very welcome changes. These changes include a new, contactless electronic identity card, the possibility of giving power of attorney electronically, a state login which companies will be able to make use of, payment through a POS device in state administration bodies/institutions, the launch of a shared service centre or the ''state cloud'' and a network of branch offices which will be able to perform electronic services.

All of the aforementioned is just one part of the so-called ''digital tsunami'' that was announced by the Ministry of Administration on Wednesday at the Digital Transformation Conference (DTC 2018). Part of this should be completed by the end of this year, with the rest of what is needed to create a more digital Croatia following in 2019.

Bernard Gršić claimed that 40 projects will see 50 percent of the funds from Croatia's 2020 strategy allocated to them.

''I think that when all these projects are completed, Croatia will be a different place than it is today,'' stated State Secretary Bernard Gršić in hope.

This was supplemented by Zrinka Bulić, who leads the administration for e-Croatia. She stated that next year, they will be launching brand new contactless identity cards.

"You'll have a mobile system for e-Citizens, lean your phone against your contactless ID and you'll get access to the service immediately," said Bulić. She also stated that by the end of this year, you will be able to pay for certain things, such as when renewing an ID card or getting a new driver's license, directly via POS devices in state administration bodies. As of next year, this will be merged through a special platform called e-Pristojbe (e-Fee), which should further simplify it even more.

In other words, this ''digital Croatia'' plan has an overall aim of effectively abolishing Croatia's bizarre and extremely outdated love for endless amounts of paper and archaic payment slips.

"We're working with HUP and HGK, and the interest is very big. HUP has estimated that in 2019, this system will be used by 300 business entities, and in five years, by at least 2000 business entities,'' Bulić added.

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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Croatian Company Receives Investment from Business Angels

One Croatian company receives the nod of approval and an enviable cash injection from some of Croatia's most prominent business angels who believe in their potential for enormous success.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of November, 2018, since the very launch of the game, more than 1,600 copies have been sold, and their income, as they state from this Croatian company, is enough to cover salaries, programs and servers. Given that the game is still at an early stage, they say they didn't actually expect all that much from it initially.

Eleven members of the Croatian Business Angels Network - CRANE, provided the Jastrebarsko gaming studio Hyperion with the largest investment by number of members so far. They decided to invest in the launch of a young, three-member team who independently released a survival computer game called Journey of Life just a few months ago. During that period, the game has earned more than 250,000 kuna in revenue.

The founder of the startup is 22-year-old Adriano Žeželić, Thomas Lesniowski from Germany, and Siddhante Nangla from India, and the project was presented at the CRANE Startup, which held at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management on Wednesday. Investors have estimated the value of this Croatian company to be 500,000 euro, and the business angels who have invested will receive somewhat less than 20 percent of the newly established company, which has its seat in London.

CRANE President Davorin Štetner was first invested in the startup, followed by Hrvoje Prpić, then Aljoša Domijan, Zoran Miliš, Dennis Rukavina, Zvonimir Orešar, Denis Matijević, and Nikola Serdar.

Žeželic contacted President Davorin Štetner on the suggestion of a friend who claimed he left a positive impression on him, and after that, the young author of the game from Jastrebarsko, who is an electrical technician by profession, had the chance to present the project to others.

"I like to see when somebody is able to launch such a demanding thing without getting any help, so I think that now, with the help of the money and the advice from experienced business angels, Adriano will succeed in his ambitious plans," said Štetner.

Hrvoje Prpić, the lead investor, spoke with Roman Ribarić from Croteam on Journey of Life's potential and CRANE's decision to investigate the market before actually investing anything. From the previously released game, Croteam raised as much as 16 million euro, Prpić concluded that Hyperion's Journey of Life study could also bring great success. Prpić said that the long-term investment aim of the business angels is to encourage Hyperion to continue to release games in order to become even more significant.

"As a passionate gamer who has always been in love with computers, I started planning the 2016 project, and I started with its actual realisation in October 2017. That year, I decided to realise my dream and founded the Hyperion Studio and released the game at the beginning of May," Žeželić warmly recalled.

"We got some great support from players around the world that helped us keep the project going. We communicate daily with people who join our group and share new things with them. The support of experienced business people is of great importance and I'm looking forward to working with CRANE because I believe that with some business advice, money, and assistance in other segments, Hyperion Studio can become an international name in the gaming industry,'' stated the Croatian company's young founder.

The game is currently available only for personal computers, but mobile versions are being discussed and planned, and they will hopefully be on the market during the second half of next year.

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

Friday, 9 November 2018

Zagreb Bypasses Competition, Chosen as New Centre for Swiss Company

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of November, 2018, Zagreb has been chosen in a group of 40 cities across Europe as the seat of the new centre for software in 40 cities of Europe, and has also entered the final six along with Sofia, Bucharest, Belgrade, Madrid, and Lisbon.

Croatian IT experts have thus had a brand new and welcome opportunity to stay in their home country created for them.

The Adcubum company from Switzerland came to Zagreb where it has just opened its Software Solutions Development Centre. The investment is worth 12 million euro over a three year period, as was explained by the director of the Croatian branch of the company, Bojan Poljičak.

"This is a Swiss greenfield investment, related to the development of a service centre for software development. These are high value added services, focused on development and exports,'' stated Poljičak, who was also once the director of Adecco Croatia. Adcubum has otherwise been in existence for twenty years, and has been active in Austria and Germany as well as at home in its parent country of Switzerland, specialising in business information technology solutions for insurance companies. There are 350 employees in total, and in Zagreb there are now seven more.

By the end of this year, there will be ten workers, and what is particularly stimulating for domestic experts is the announcement that they plan to employ 40 people each year over the next five years in order to reach a total of 200 employees in Croatia by the end of 2023.

"Profiles that are of interest to us are engineers for software development. We're very satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills of the existing candidates and at the beginning, we encountered a good level of interest. Just like it is in other countries, the main challenge will be to find, attract, and retain a sufficient number of suitable candidates, but we're positive about it and we expect that we'll be able to bring our plans to fruition,'' explained Poljičak. The main product of Adcubum, which will be done in Zagreb, is SYRIUS, a comprehensive software solution developed specifically for the business of an insurer.

"It allows them to deal with almost all of their processes within that solution and to adapt it, on the other hand, to their business specificities through the parametrisation and flexibility of the software solution," said Adcubum's Croatian affiliate director, noting that their goal in the Croatian capital is to increase additional human resources for further SYRIUS development.

"We're planning to form teams that will work on new software products in the application area called ''front end'', but also processing and analytics in the field of big data,'' Poljičak pointed out.

Just how did the Croatian capital manage to bypass the competition and be of such attraction to the Swiss company?

"They considered the prospects for the availability of IT professionals of high professionalism, foreign language knowledge, cultural similarities, and support from state institutions such as the Investment and Competitiveness Agency," Poljičak revealed.

"We want to use a very good ratio of expertise, professionalism, flexibility, and teamwork that candidates and potential employees have here in Croatia. We also want to provide our employees with work experience with colleagues and clients in Switzerland and Germany - as well as transfer part of our knowledge and our ways of working with colleagues in these countries,'' Bojan Poljičak concluded.

Adcubum's Chief Technology Officer Walter Meister and Swiss Ambassador to Croatia Emilia Georgieva were also at the opening of the Zagreb centre, pointing out that the Croatian branch was a result of the company's accelerated development due to an increased demand for services, expressing hope that this investment would strengthen Switzerland's status in the top ten foreign investors in the Republic of Croatia.

According to CNB/HNB (Croatian National Bank) data, direct Swiss investments in Croatia in 2016 amounted to a huge 6.2 million euro. In the first two quarters of this year, about 5.6 million of Swiss capital entered Croatia, and a total of about 42.4 million euro has been invested in the country since as far back as 1993.

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Click here for the original article by Sergej Novosel Vuckovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

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