The ICT sector in Estonia is visible with its 7% contribution to GDP. The locals here have caused global revolutions in P2P file sharing (think Kazaa!), online communication (think Skype!), as well as in the finance technology (think TransferWise!).
Most people active in the ICT sector are alumni of the University of Tartu (UT) or the TalTech University (TalTech). The foundations of Estonian e-success have been increasing ICT education and opening the IT Academy.
From code writing to robotics
Computer scientists from the UT are currently working on exceptional research projects in deep learning and machine learning, quantum cryptography and cryptography, including e-elections. Other research projects, such as information systems, business process analysis and mining, as well as bioinformatics and personalized medicine applications, are on a high level. The UT alumni are behind companies, such as Skype, gaming industry’s leading software supplier Playtech, money-transfer service Transferwise and ZeroTurnaround that makes tools for faster software development.
TalTech’s School of Information Technologies is home to around 70% of all Estonian IT students while 2/3 of Estonian IT science is born there, benefitting from strong international research groups and the existence of world-class ICT research laboratories. Besides the TalTech’s IT College, Tallinn also hosts EXCITE, the Centre of Excellence in ICT Research, an institution that focuses on topics related to IT security and reliability, uniting Estonia’s 16 most prominent IT researchers.
TalTech actively explores RD&I projects: the high-assurance software laboratory, the centre of dependable computing systems design, centres for biorobotics and biomedical engineering, the centre for digital forensics and cyber security and the project researching cognitive electronics and communication technologies. TalTech’s School of Information Technologies also focuses its R&D on large IT systems, model-based software, AI, social engineering systems, non-linear control systems, language technology, e-health, cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things.
Scholars from TalTech have founded companies like Testonica Lab, which acts in the sectors of IT and electronics production. Rakuten Fits.me combines shoppers’ personal data with garments’ data, while Optofluid Technologies develops online sensor for dialysis machines. Guardtime has built the KSI platform that tackles complicated problems in security, supply chain, compliance and networking. It is used globally to make sure networks, systems and data are non-compromised, while retaining data privacy. SafeToAct develops hi-fi kidney replicas, whereas Ragnarok 2.0 works on the new generation of working clothes.
Various incubators and accelerators provide support to start-ups. Hackaton Garage48 is a weekend test site for fresh ideas, while cooperation centres Prototron, StartUp Wise Guys, Lift99, TalTech Mektory, sTARTUp HUB and SPARK HUB help new enterprises grow.
Accumulation of expertise, easily accessible supporting infrastructure and digital mindset in terms of business are the key factors, why Estonian ICT sector contributes its outstanding 7% to national GDP.
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