Latitude 44, a conference that shone the spotlight on key players in the technology world from Estonia and Canada, took place in Toronto on November 14 and 15.
A true digital society
“Estonia’s digital transformation continues as it persists to be a free and open digital society. Estonia seeks to be a champion of the free movement of data and a supporter of the use of technology in a way that does not require significant restrictions on our rights.” Toomas Lukk, Estonian Ambassador to Canada
The future is brisk and bright
“We are in a period of incredible growth. I have been in the business for 30 years and I’ve never seen it like this.” Bruce Croxon, partner at Round13 Capital and TV Host, The Disruptors, Toronto
Building bridges to expand
„Companies in different markets don’t typically pick up and relocate, they expand,“ said Daniel Silverman, Executive Vice President at Toronto Global, seeing huge potential for cooperation between Estonia and Toronto.
Estonia is open for business
“Estonia has a very startup friendly business environment for entering into the European market. We offer e-residency so that entrepreneurs can do business remotely using Estonian e-services and we now have 65,000 new e-residents and 7,000 companies.” Maarika Truu, Head of Startup Estonia
Estonia’s huge growth in start-ups
“We didn’t even know what the word ‘start-up’ meant [in the 1990s]! Now we are #1 in the world in entrepreneurial activity and #3 in startups per capita in Europe. In 2006 we had 3 deals worth $3.5 EUR – in 2019 we will have 50 deals worth $300 EUR.” Asko Seeba, co-founder Mooncascade, Estonia
Estonian e-residency: it works!
“I’ve been in business 25 years and decided to apply for Estonian e-residency so I could connect with EU countries. It’s an easy process to be become of this borderless community of businesses.” Karen Bennett, Canadian business owner
Lifelong digital management
“The life cycle management starts when a child is born in Estonia – they get registered and the parent gets a call about the services that are available to them. As an Estonian citizen, I can see online every single inquiry that has been made about me. This transparency is the underlying principle of Estonia’s digital society.” Kadri Sirg, Helmes, Estonia
Building trust one citizen at a time
“Veriff keeps people safe online by using secure camera technology. There are many cyber thieves out there, and you need to create trust. We have built that in Estonia – everyone has an ID card for all government services. I see a future where Veriff would issue passports, not government.” Kaarel Kotkas, founder and CEO, Veriff, Estonia
AI solving the problem of talent shortage
„We upscale the talent and how to build a platform where the engineers and scientists applying the data can come together and really learn from each other,“ said Triin Mahlakõiv, co-founder of North Star AI, an initiative created to solve the issue of talent shortage in artificial intelligence development.
Changing how we shop
“We develop clicks and bricks technology for retailers to make the last mile of parcel delivery as seamless as possible, and to handle mundane tasks in the retail environment through the use of robots. This helps change the customer experience so that staff become ‘expert consultants’ helping people make buying decisions.” Indrek Oolup, founding member, Cleveron, Estonia
Estonia is a country of very pragmatic solutions
“Most of the technological projects are not so much about the technology in a sense. It is about combining together the subject matter expertise, change management and technology. And understanding how the service should be provided – re-designing the service. That’s something we have strong experience with, Estonia is a country of very pragmatic solutions.” Oleg Shvaikovsky, President at Nortal LLC, USA & Executive President at Nortal Group
If that doesn’t work, let’s try something else
Estonian experience in building its interoperability solutions is valuable because of a courage to start over again. “It is very important for us to learn from what worked and also what didn’t work.” Teresa D’Andrea, Director of GC Digital Exchange, Treasury Board of Canada
Estonia as a perfect test bed for smart city solutions
Estonia’s general tech-mindedness is the key to the country being a great test bed for smart city solutions, Carl Pucci, principal at Ovela Group. “Everyone comes together, adopts the technology and uses it and practices with it.”
Banking should be more customer-focused
“Fintechs are coming in and doing what banks can’t. Customers don’t want ‘banking’ – they want easy and convenient access to their money.” Kia Puhm, founder and CEO, DesiredPath, Toronto
Banks need to step up to fintech
“Open banking is the next big wave in retail banking. Banks need to team up with fintechs in order to survive.” Mati Otsmaa, tech business expert, Silicon Valley, U.S.
Cyber security must be top of mind
„Estonian uniqueness comes from the fact that we are willing to share [cyber security] knowledge and national ecosystem with others,“ Siim Alatalu, Head of EU CyberNet, explained how Estonia’s cybersecurity sphere has developed after the mass cyber-attacks of 2007.
Canada and Estonia join forces on cyber security
“As Canadians we need to up our game and we are pleased to be working with Estonia on the critical issue of cyber security. We are in this soup together.” The Hon. John McKay, M.P., Scarborough-Guildwood, Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Government of Canada
Estonia’s electronic health record system keeps improving
“In Estonia, each person owns their medical data and services are linked through the electronic health record. We also work on e-ambulance, e-health certificate, e-death certificate and pregnancy tracking. My dream is a mobile app that provides access quickly and easily for the services people need.” Andrus Altrov, co-founder and CEO, Industry 62, Estonia
Data ownership is the cornerstone of digital trust
“In order to trust the system, you have to understand it. Medical personnel are not allowed to touch your data unless they are authorized to do so. If any fraudulent activity were to occur, anyone attempting to do so would immediately lose their right to practice.” Raul Kaidro, RaulWater, Estonia
Trust is everything. If trust fails, we fail.
“A personal approach and convenience are also incredibly important – people need to gain from what you are offering them. We don’t live in an isolated world, we need to sit down and figure things out together.” Viljar Lubi, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Government of Estonia
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