Doubts over data warehouse project

The ambitious plan that is backed by Finnish businessmen and is being promoted by leading IRL politician Eerik-Niiles Kross to build Europe’s largest data warehouse in Estonia raises doubts, writes Delovye Vedomosti.

Dmitri Kostenko from Web Solutions Hosting Ltd says that he is sceptical about the feasibility and cost estimations of the project.

„One questionmark is the cost of the project at about 3,000 euros per square metre. For a turnkey project, it is not enough,” Kostenko todl DV.

„They have also said it would be built either in Muuga or in Paldski which means that it will have water and air cooling which will add notably to the total cost,” he added.

Kostenko adds that such data warehouses are considered low-profit investments which may make it diffficult to attract enough investors for the project.

„Estonia’s own data needs are too small for the capacity of its server stations which means that it would not be feasible without international business,” he added.

Also , according to the project manager Jussi Vartiainen, the decision whether to build the data warehouse in Paldiski or Muuga will be made in October after the European Commission decides on the funding of Balticconnector gas pipeline and LNG terminal because the facility will require significant gas supply.

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About 10 percent of Estonians are still using Windows XP

About 10 percent of Estonians are still using Windows XP, the operating system that was introduced in 2001 but retired by Microsoft in April.

“Unfortunately all indications are that the people have not moved away from XP. Why? It’s more a question for psychologists than for IT people,” said the Information System Authority data security expert Anto Veldre on uudised.err.ee.

“Is the problem garden-variety laziness or pirated software people hoarded during the ethics-free development period, which would now have to be replaced?” said Veldre.

Still, in some other countries, XP’s market share is as much as 20 percent, and as recently as last spring, one-third of users in Estonia still used it, the expert said.

Read more from ERR News

Estonia made its first 4G phone call

While you still cannot buy the devices in stores yet, Estonia has made its first 4G phone call.

The managing director of Tele 2, Argo Virkebau, called the head of the startup incubator Technopol, Marek Mühlberg, on Tuesday on a prototype phone, making Estonia one of the few countries to make a 4G network call. Currently the 4G phones can only be used on the 3G network.

“4G calls begin right after dialing, and takes 40 percent less energy. It is also more efficient, and could can have many more people on the network at the same time placing a call, which is a good solution for large-scale events, like the Song Festival,” Virkebau said in a press statement.

Virkebau said that 4G networks will be established in Europe this year, and he expects that it would happen in Tele2 next year. Tele2 is the only operator of the three largest including EMT and Elisa, yet to offer 4G internet in mobile devices.

Tele2’s 4G internet network is able to offer voice over internet calls (VoIP), using its specially designed VoLTE network, which is designed to ensure the quality of VoIP calls and offer other multimedia services.

Source: ERR News

Transferwise doubles Estonian workforce

Transferwise CEO Kristo Käärmann has pledged that the alternative bank transfer service will create 70 jobs in Estonia by next year.

Recently bolstered by an investment by English business magnate and investor Richard Branson, among others, the London-headquartered company started by two Estonians claims users have made 1 billion euros worth of transfers, saving 45 million euros in bank fees in the process.

This week, it was also announced that the company placed 16th on CNBC’s list of 50 movers and shakers in the field of technology, side by side with Dropbox, Uber and Spotify.

TransferWise’s founders also won recognition at London Technology Week for a “startup to riches” success story. It announced 18.4 million euros in investments last week.

Currently the company has its IT development, customer support and payment operators in Tallinn – 70 of the company’s 100 employees. The rest are in London. Käärmann said the plan is to double the size of the Tallinn office.

Source: ERR News

Ambassador attracts Spanish unemployed youth to Estonia

For two years already, the Ambassador of Spain in Estonia, Alvaro de la Riva Guzman de Frutos, has been negotiating with enterprises, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and the job mediation network EURES aimed at attracting unemployed young Spaniards to come to Estonia for work.

Postimees writes that while at first the ambassador was negotiating with representatives of tourism and IT sectors, both of which require English language skills, the focus is now only on the IT sector, mainly because wages in Estonian hotel and restaurant business are too low to compete, for instance, with Norway.

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The 10 newest Estonian startups to watch

Sometimes it seems new Estonian startups pop up like mushrooms after the rain. We have compiled a list of the newest startups to watch, based mostly on usability and usefulness, rather than financial indicators. Most of these are up to six months old and not older than a year. Some, such as Lingvist and Taxify, have already raised substantial funding, some are still in beta-stage and some, such as DonateIT, have only just launched.

 

DonateIT – an app that links together blood donors and donation centres in an quick and convenient way, allowing centres to inform potential donors when their particular blood type is needed and to keep them involved throughout the year. It also tracks and shares your blood donations, how much you donated, when you can do it next time etc. The app makes blood donations socially engaging – basically you can compete with your friends on how many lives you have saved.

Jobbatical – connects skilled professionals and companies looking for their expertise in six to twelve-month stints. Jobbatical helps convert your skills into an adventure.

Wellbiome – a health app that offers scientific personalised dietary recommendations based on the microflora in person’s gut. It creates a nutrition plan based on your DNA and gut microbiome that is specific to the person. In beta stage.

Taxify – a taxi dispatch platform for taxi companies and drivers, a mobile app for clients for ordering any taxi instantly, without a hassle.

Rahu – it alerts the family in case of an accident and sends the data to its monitoring centre, which then picks out key patterns and sudden movements – enabling alerting through the Rahu app or a text message when, for example, your grandmother has not got out of the bed or when she falls.

3D Wayfinder – an indoor and outdoor navigation software that is running on touchscreen self-service kiosks, mobile devices and websites. The solution has been designed to provide a pleasant and a convenient navigation  experience.

Lingvist – a personalised approach to learning languages that aims to make every learner a fast one. Using mathematical optimisation, the tool tailors tasks according to your knowledge and skills.

HealthDiary – a safe and a private place to keep, access and easily export all health-related notes, reminders, reports, pictures of children. You can record your child’s growth milestones, stomach troubles and doctor’s visits. Reminders help you keep track of important appointments. It also lets analyse your child’s data across the years or bring it along to the next doctor’s visit. In beta-stage.

Funderbeam – a global startup rating, tracking and funding platform, with a strong team that has a lot of experience working with the financial markets. Funderbeam helps startups to connect with supportive, mentoring investors around the world. For potential investors, it x-rays startups, using standardised scores and familiar metrics from the financial markets. In beta-stage.

Fleep – a chat communication tool for teams and businesses. Incorporating some elements of Skype and email, Fleep is a simple tool that helps organise your multiple discussion streams easily.

 

Source: estonianworld.com

Study find serious security problems in the Estonian e-voting system

According to a report prepared by a group of international, mainly US e-voting experts, Estonian Internet-based e-voting system ( I-voting) is insecure and should be withdrawn, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

According to the report authors, the Estonian I-voting system  has serious design weaknesses that are exacerbated by weak operational management. It has been built on assumptions which are outdated and do not reflect the contemporary reality of state-level attacks and sophisticated cybercrime. These problems stem from fundamental architectural problems that cannot be resolved with quick fixes or interim steps.

Read more from BBN

10 million „e-Estonians“ by 2025

The Estonian government has approved the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. From the end of 2014, foreigners will be able to receive a secure Estonian e-identity. This creates a unique opportunity to create a new set of remotely usable global services.

The development of the appropriate infrastructure and the range of services require the coordination and stimulation of the public and private sectors. The aim is to make Estonia great: make sure that at least 10 million people around the world choose to associate with Estonia via e-identities.

Estonian citizens are able to perform nearly every public and private sector transaction in digital form, including signing any document. Until now, this ability has not extended to foreigners who are permanent residents of countries other than Estonia. Therefore, on April 24th, 2014, the Government of the Republic decided to approve the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. This forms a basis for the growth of the international competitiveness of the Estonian state in the fields of economy, science, education, healthcare, etc.

For example, the adoption of non-resident ID cards is an additional argument in favor of investing in Estonia. Today, it is difficult for a foreign investor to actively participate in the executive management of a company (that is, to fulfill the tasks of a Member of the Board). The non-resident ID card and digital signature would provide the necessary flexibility.

Here is another example. There are entrepreneurs and investors both within and outside the European Union who are looking for opportunities to create their own company or investment vehicle in the EU. The ability to incorporate and open a bank account (not just in Estonia, but in the EU!) within a single day is only one of the services that Estonia can offer to holders of non-resident ID cards. Not to mention the simple, fully digital tax system, flexibility in attracting highly qualified (digital) labor, etc.

In addition, reinvested profit is tax-free in Estonia, and the highly developed e-banking environment gives you immediate control of your assets from a distance. This means that Estonia has the potential to be attractive to entrepreneurs who need an investment account (vehicle), and this would result in additional customers and capital for Estonian businesses.

E-residence provides a unique opportunity to create a globally innovative suite of public and private services that are usable irrespective of location: convenient incorporation, bank transactions, tax reporting, medical counseling, etc. This can be based on existing Estonian e-services, developing them further and adding new ones.

The state intends to create a fundamental platform for new business opportunities in this area. However, the development of the necessary infrastructure and range of services requires the coordination and joint effort of the public and private sectors. The aim must be ambitious: currently there is 1,3 million estonians, but at least 10 million people around the world should connect themselves to Estonia via the digital identity. E-residence can make Estonia truly great!

Read more from Taavi Kotka blog

The co-authors of this idea are Ruth Annus and Siim Sikkut.

Estonia launches OpenData application for municipalities

The financial activities and overall financial situation of Estonia’s local governments can now be easily monitored via Riigiraha (State Finances). The goal of the service is to increase the transparency, accessibility and openness of local governments.

All accounting data retrieved from local governments from 2008-2013 is made public. Everyone has unlimited access to view, download, compare and analyse data using the business intelligence software platform. This is an important step towards making public sector finances transparent and understandable to all.

“New users should start by accessing the User Guide and then looking up the interactive report ‘Where does your money go‘ to get an overview of local government spending of revenue received from chosen tax payers,” explained Andrus Jõgi from the Local Government Financial Management Department of the Ministry of Finance.

The application was developed based on the success of and experience obtained during a 2012 pilot project known as ‘Riigipilv’. More than 200,000 enquiries were made during the project – 0.15 enquiries per citizen. The new application, at ‘riigiraha.fin.ee‘, has increased usability, more data and analysing tools, and is available in English.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

95% of taxpayers filed tax returns electronically

95.4% of taxpayers in Estonia filed their tax returns electronically, an increase of 0.4% year on year, spokespeople for the Estonian Tax and Customs Board said.

All in all, tax returns for 2013 were filed by a total of 629,715 Estonian taxpayers.

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