Taxify launches service in Kiev

Estonian transportation network company Taxify launched their taxi and ridesharing service in Kiev on Friday, which means that the mobile app is serving customers in a total of 21 cities in 14 countries.

While over three million people live in Kiev, a city five times bigger than the Estonian capital of Tallinn, more than 90 percent of customers still order their taxis from dispatch centers, reported Taxify in a press release. Of the over 20,000 taxis in the country, whose quality varies wildly, approximately 200, including drivers offering rideshares, had joined forces with the Estonian-based company by the time of its launch in the Ukrainian capital.

All drivers working for Taxify have undergone a thorough background check and training on Taxify’s part.

“Ukraine is a very large market and we had been weighing expansion to there for some time already,” explained Taxify co-founder Martin Villig. “This is an interesting challenge for Taxify as locl taxis [in Kiev] mostly drive according to a fixed negotiated price and not with taxi meters, as is common elsewhere in Europe.

Taxify is an Estonian startup launched in 2013 which is working on developing a worldwide app for taxis and ridesharing worldwide. Employing over 50 people worldwide, Taxify offers services in 21 cities across 14 different countries.

Taxify mediates millions of trips per year in Europe and Africa, and has invested two million euros in order to finance rapid growth, making it the most effectively operating mobile application in the world.

Source: ERR News

Head of Estonian tax authority to begin working in Nortal

Marek Helm, current director general of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA), will be joining the software and business consultancy company Nortal as director of the company’s public finance and change management team in mid-January 2017.

According to Nortal founder and CEO Priit Alamäe, Helm has carried out extensive reforms and necessary transformations in one of the most important public authorities in Estonia for which there is strong demand globally. “Effective tax collection and transparent public finance management is becoming more relevant globally,” said Alamäe in a press release. “By uniting Helm’s experience with our knowledge and references, we are creating an international center of competence and export capability while preserving a recognized leader for Estonia.”

Helm said that he has worked in the public sector for over 20 years and feels that the time has come to put himself to the test in the private sector. “Nortal is a company with growing ambition and international scope that exports Estonian e-government success stories,” said Helm. 2I’m glad that with my expertise and experience I can contribute to the company’s continuous expansion to export markets that are of great importance to Estonia.”

The MTA’s current director general noted that he would be handing over the management of the state authority to his successor with peace of mind. “This is a fantastic organization and a professional close-knit team that serves the Estonian society and is a great partner for taxpayers,” Helm said.

“During the past few years, Nortal has made significant investments to develop internationally recognized competence in the field of complex e-government reforms,” explained Nortal’s CEO. “Our aim is to address a client’s needs as a whole by offering holistic service concepts that include everything from legislative drafting, organization and process re-design to the implementation of new technologies and change management. Marek Helm’s long-term experience in public sector reforms and creating more effective processes, where knowledge-based and well thought through change management plays an important role, fits perfectly with Nortal’s plans and strategy.”

Helm has led the MTA as director general from December 2011. Prior to that position, he was deputy secretary general for public governance policy at the Ministry of Finance from 2009-2011, led the founding of the joint internal security office under the Ministry of the Interior from 2007-2009, deputy secretary general for internal security of the Ministry of the Interior from 2006-2007 and director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Internal Security Department in 2006. From 2004-2006, Helm held the position of deputy director general of the MTA and in 2003-2004, deputy director general of the Customs Board in the customs enforcement and pre-trial investigation fields.

Nortal is an international strategy consultancy and software solutions company focusing on e-governance, health care, telecommunications, production and logistics. It operates in nearly 20 countries and employs 530 specialists. Nortal posted sales revenue of 45 million euros in 2015.

Source: ERR News

Software developer Nortal merges with Swedish company

Swedish company Element, a B2B marketing and sales strategy and technology firm located in Northern Europe, is slated to merge with Estonian software developer Nortal via share swap. The merger will also mark a brand new service offering in the Estonian company’s portfolio — revenue science.

While the merger will mark Nortal’s expansion to Sweden, it will simultaneously mean the expansion of Element’s service offering to the Baltics, Finland, Germany and the Middle East, where Nortal already maintains a growing presence. Nortal CEO Priit Alamäe said in a press release.

Through the merger, Nortal will acquire all shares of Element AB, while the latter’s shareholders, including the company’s management and employees, will join the ranks of Nortal’s shareholders alongside the existing 34 shareholders who are all Nortal employees. Element CEO Jonas Ander, meanwhile, will join Nortal as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

“Strategy, technology and marketing are converging disciplines, the common denominator being big data,” explained Ander. “Big data is a fundamental consequence of the digital marketing landscape. Nortal, being a thought leader in the field, is the partner we have been looking for to be able to deliver predictive marketing analytics, sustainable change and impact to our clients.”‘

Pursuant to the parties’ agreement, the merger transaction value will be kept confidential, however Element financials will be consolidated into Nortal’s financial results as of October 2016, bringing the group’s total estimated revenue to 50 million euros in 2017.

Tallinn-based Nortal is a multinational full-service strategic change and technology company that provides services to governments and leading businesses around the world. It operates in nearly 20 countries, employing over 500 specialists who carry out high-quality, mission-critical and high-impact projects across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Element offers services within B2B sales and marketing processes, ranging from strategy consulting, process transformation marketing automation, CRM, content marketing as well as other marketing and sales software solutions. The Swedish company delivers a professionalization of their client’s revenue processes, increased conversion of qualified leads to customers and shorter sales cycles. Element currently has operations in all Nordic countries, Germany and the Middle East, with offices in Stockholm and Helsinki.

As a result of the merger, the Swedish company will be bringing 17 marketing science consultants to Nortal.

Source: ERR News

Use of Internet in Estonia

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2016, 86% of households in Estonia had Internet access at home. There has been an increase in the share of people having used e-commerce services more than five times in the last three months.

A fixed broadband connection (wired or wireless) continues to be the most popular type of Internet connection, as it was used in 90% of the households with Internet access. 88% of households without children and 92% of households with children had a fixed broadband Internet connection (wired or wireless). There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile Internet. While in the 1st quarter of 2015 slightly more than a half (56%) of households had mobile Internet, then according to data from the 1st quarter of 2016 there was mobile Internet in a little more than three quarters (78%) of households. The use of fixed broadband connection (either wired or wireless) is more popular among households living in urban settlements, while mobile Internet is more popular among households living in rural settlements. Households without an Internet connection at home cited lack of interest as the main reason for not having one.

In the first three months of 2016, 87% of persons aged 16–74 had used the Internet. The share of Internet users is the largest among 16–54-year-olds (90%) and the smallest among 55–74-year-olds (65%). Among persons with basic or up to primary education, seven out of ten used the Internet, while among persons with higher education nine out of ten used the Internet.

Nine out of ten 16–74-year-old Internet users had used the Internet in the last three months for Internet banking, reading newspapers and magazines, using e-mail, and seeking information about products and services. 64% of the 16–74-year-old Internet users listened to music online and 43% watched a television programme (including live and catch-up programmes).

A little bit more than a half (56%) of 16–74-year-olds has bought products or services online in the last 12 months. Compared to males, the share of e-commerce users is 6 percentage points higher among females. Items that were bought online the most included travel and accommodation services (59% of the users of e-commerce), tickets for concerts, cinema, theatre and other events (55%), insurance policies (including those offered as a package), and clothes, shoes or sports equipment (51%).

In the 1st quarter, slightly less than three quarters (73%) of the users of e-commerce bought goods or services online up to five times. Younger e-commerce users (aged 16–24) made online purchases more often (3–5 times) than older e-commerce users (aged 65–74), who did it less frequently (1–2 times). In 43% of the cases, the price of goods bought online (excl. expenditure on shares and other financial services) remained between 100–499 euros. There were more males than females among persons having made online purchases for over 500 euros. Compared to the 1st quarter of 2015, the share of those who made online purchases more often than five times increased by 3 percentage points and the share of persons having spent more than 500 euros grew by 2 percentage points.

In the business sector, the use of cloud services designed to share resources via the web – software, hardware, or combinations thereof – has become increasingly more widespread. More than a fifth of Estonian enterprises have bought paid cloud services. The most popular cloud services include financial and operational software, office software, file storage and recording services and e-mail services. The main users of paid cloud services are enterprises of the information and communications sector (54%), who are providers of cloud services themselves, too.

The use of big data is spreading rapidly as a new trend. Big data are produced in the implementation of digital technology and are forwarded automatically from machine to machine. Such data are generated, for example, with the help of production process sensors, by logging various transactions, but also as a result of various social media activities. 13% of Estonian enterprises have analysed big data, with the employees of the enterprises themselves having performed the analyses. Big data are analysed the most by enterprises of the information and communications sector (29%), followed by water supply, sewerage, waste management and waste management enterprises (28%), and financial and insurance enterprises (21%).

The use of information technology among persons aged 16–74 and in households and enterprises is studied based on a harmonised methodology in all European Union Member States. Statistics Estonia studies the use of information technology in households and among inhabitants aged 16–74 as an independent survey since 2014 (from 2005 to 2013 it was part of the Labour Force Survey). The survey is carried out in the 2nd quarter, with the 1st quarter being the reference period. A household is a group of persons who live at the same address and share joint financial resources and whose members consider themselves to be members of one household, while a family is based on family relationships or kinship.

Statistics Estonia has surveyed the use of information technology in enterprises since 2001. In 2016, approximately 3,400 enterprises participated in the survey. The survey involves enterprises with 10 or more persons employed.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Thousands of new IT specialists needed in Estonia

The Estonian IT business sector suffers from a lack of qualified personnel, yet the number of applications for IT courses in higher education has remained more or less the same. To make matters worse, only half of those taking up IT studies complete their degree.

The Tallinn University of Technology even changed its conditions of application to more carefully select students actually able to finish. Where a year ago all those were admitted who met minimum requirements, the conditions are now a lot stricter, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast reported.

Read more from ERR News

Eesti Telekom adopts Telia Eesti as new business name

AS Eesti Telekom, Estonian holding of the Scandinavian telecom group TeliaSonera, has adopted Telia Eesti as its new business name and will abandon the EMT and Elion trade marks.

The group had been planning a brand change for years, Telia Eesti CEO Dan Stromberg told Postimees. “Finally it was found that Telia is the best option because we are using it in Sweden and Denmark already, it’s easy to pronounce and to use. Besides it shows that a customer can use our services in all the Nordic countries.”

In addition to the brand change Telia Eesti will introduce a new roaming service meaning free roaming for Estonian users in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania, Finland and Latvia.

A second new service is home internet and television over the mobile network. “We can now offer our services to all these 150,000 households to whom we had to say ‘no’ earlier,” Stromberg said.

In accordance with an entry registered on Jan.19,2016, the business name AS Eesti Telekom has been dropped and the new name of the group is Telia Eesti AS, it appears from the commercial register.

Until 2014, Eesti Telekom used to be the holding company for the subsidiaries Elion Ettevõtted and EMT. As part of a reorganization of the Teliasonera group the companies were merged into AS Eesti Telekom in 2014.

Teliasonera group was established in 2002 as a result of a merger of the Telia telecommunications group of Sweden and Sonera of Finland.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

TeliaSonera and Ericsson to go 5G

TeliaSonera and Ericsson have entered into a strategic partnership to let customers in Stockholm and Tallinn experience 5G services already in 2018.

Based on TeliaSonera and Ericsson’s common understanding of market and customer needs, the two companies will develop 5G use-cases and service scenarios, including both communication and Internet of Things (IoT) services with the purpose to address new business opportunities, the companies announced today. The partnership will bring 5G services to customers in 2018 by combining the TeliaSonera network with Ericsson technology.

“Stockholm and Tallinn are two of the most connected cities in the world and now we will take them to the next level. 5G will create completely new innovations, ecosystems and great services to our customers,” Johan Dennelind, President and CEO TeliaSonera, said in a press release.

Potential 5G applications could include e-health with real time surveillance of patients and remote treatment; connected cars including critical communication between vehicles (warnings, support to self-driving cars etc) as well as better network performance in terms of capacity, coverage and power consumption.

Sweden has long been a pioneer ICT-nation and notably Ericsson and TeliaSonera launched the world’s first 4G network in Sweden in 2009. Estonia has acknowledged the economic importance of a digital society and is one of the most advanced e-societies in the world.

According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, there will be 150 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2021.

Source: ERR via Estonian Review