Tech in Estonia: What to expect
There has, of course, been a continuing global pandemic. As the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) contagion took hold and world governments started to implement national and local lockdowns, the technology industry took very little time to close the doors on its selection of press conferences, conferences and events.
Roundtables & so-called ‘fireside chats’ went to Zoom… and the world changed, seemingly for all perpetuity.
But slowly, things are coming back to life; the Computer Weekly Developer Network team expects to see West Coast USA again before the end of the year and events are starting to happen.
Many of the currently tabled events are virtual/physical with only a limited number of attendees – and colour-coded Covid-aware wristbands are starting to become used as we all get back to life.
First stop, Tallinn
Given that backdrop, we knew some events were about to take place. What we probably didn’t expect was the first firm invite to come with a headline offering a meeting with the Prime Minister (Kaja Kallas) and President (Kersti Kaljulaid) of Estonia… but that’s what arrived.
So what exactly is making the tech scene happen in Estonia today?
Among the companies making tech headlines in Estonia is Starship robots, a company aiming to revolutionise food and package deliveries with its 6-wheeler moon buggie type smart mini vehicles.
We’re also expecting to look into digital education with Cybexer, a firm specialising in cybersecurity training platforms with a special focus on cyber capability development.
The firm offers Cyber Range for universities and a number of other services including Cyber CoRe, a ‘live fire’ exercise where a company’s ‘blue’ team are pitted against Cybexer’s ‘red’ team.
“Estonia’s digital success didn’t happen overnight,” explained Siim Sikkut, government chief information officer (GCIO), Estonia.
“It was the result of decades of investment and experimentation and collaboration between the public and private sector. It is about much more than technology. The key ingredients are political will and trust. The latest study showed that 82% of residents trust Estonian e-services,“ added Sikkut.
This event also sees us focus on a group of local startups (or startuppers as they were billed to us).
Among the startups is Glia (a digital customer experience company), Vivita (a specialist in child-friendly open workshops-invention laboratories), VistalWorks (a data technology startup that aims to protect shoppers from the harm of fake and illicit goods), Single Earth (a deep tech startup aiming to disrupt corporate climate action) and LIFT99 ( a coworking hub and network of startup founders).
A number of local entrepreneurs will also engage with the press including Luukas Ilves from Guardtime (a blockchain level platform for ensuring real-time integrity for data and systems at scale) and Taavi Rõivas from AuveTech (an autonomous vehicle and smart transportation specialist) plus of course speakers from Invest Estonia, Enterprise Estonia and e-Estonia.
As well as the previously mentioned sessions with the Prime Minister and President, the Enterprise Estonia team has also lined up opportunities to speak to Andres Sutt (Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology) as well as representatives from FunderBeam (a funding and trading platform technology developer) and EIT Digital (a digital innovation organisation).
Sprats & verivorst, terviseks!
What else can expect?
Estonians are said to love their spicy smoked sprats and blood sausages, or verivorst as they are known… so it’s lots of tech and lots of protein in equal measure. It will be interesting to see how the post-Covid vaccination press interactions are carried out and we do expect more than a few elbow bumps.
Cheers, or, more accurately ‘terviseks!’ to all that.