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Invest Estonia reveals nominees for Foreign Investor of the Year award

The nominees for the Investor of the Year award are:
• IT development and innovation centre of Bertelsmann Group, AFS IT Services Estonia OÜ
• Manufacturing and R&D unit of global telecom company Ericsson Eesti AS
• Technopolis Ülemiste AS, as the major developer of Tallinn Ülemiste City business district

According to Chairman of the management board of Enterprise Estonia, Peeter Raudsepp, this year, in addition to economic indicators and contribution to society, innovation and crisis management were taken into account when selecting the nominees. Investor of the Year will be announced at an award ceremony on October 8, 2020.

The Estonian Investment Agency is happy to introduce the three nominees: the best of the best in the Estonian FDI.

AFS IT Services Estonia OÜ

AFS IT Services Estonia OÜ is the IT company of German Arvato Financial Solutions (AFS) Innovation & Development Center in Tallinn, a company of the worldwide Bertelsmann Group, which develops consumer payment solutions for e-commerce, that expanded to Estonia in 2018.

“From the beginning, Estonian Investment Agency was engaged in bringing the company back to Estonia in 2015,” said Raido Lember, a member of the award jury and Deputy Director of Business Development at Estonian Investment Agency. “Already then, the excellent reputation of the Estonia as a leading digital country with its digital testbed opportunities and IT skills was very complimenting,” Lember added. “This project has clearly been a good example of German investment to Estonia. In a short time, AFS has created more than 140 high-paying jobs here and works closely with the largest universities in Estonia. And its positive effect to Estonian economy only increases over time.”

“What made Bertelsmann consider Estonia as a location in the first place was the IT success story of Estonia,” Agnes Makk, Vice President IT at Arvato Financial Solutions tolf Life in Estonia magazine.

According to Makk, likeness to the German culture and work ethic played an important role in the final decision: pragmatism, the cultural fit and the availability of IT specialists. An added argument was the excellent technological level of banking in Estonia. The skilled IT workforce with a background in banking was available. There were a few Northern and Eastern European countries in the final selection. Estonia was chosen after the 60 test interviews, which proved the availability of skills and types of mindset.

AFS has signed a strategic partnership contract with TalTech and the University of Tartu to further promote the expertise of IT specialists in Estonia. It supports both universities to promote scientific work and education around IT issues – and in turn, invest in the digital future of Arvato Financial Solutions.

Ericsson Eesti AS

„Over the past 3 years, Ericsson has invested 68 million euros in the automation and laboratories of the Estonian unit and has increased the number of R&D employees of the development center to more than 500,“ Raido Lember noted. “Estonian Investment Agency has succeeded in convincing Ericsson’s top management to change from a traditional production and service unit to a more strategic research and development center focused unit.“

Ericsson, a company with already long traditions in Estonia, is investing to deploy an innovative intelligent automation system at its manufacturing facilities here. Ericsson’s partner ABB (Estonia’s Investor of the Year in 2014) is providing a fully automated flexible robot cell solution for the final assembly of 5G radios. The partnership will enable enhanced connected services, Industrial IoT and artificial intelligence technologies in the future. This is one of the very first large industrial undertakings that enables the 5G smart manufacturing in the next generation connected world.

With the help of partners, among them the Nordic-based telecommunications company Telia, Ericsson has brought automated guided vehicles, Augmented Reality (AR), and a huge number of sensors to life at Ericsson’s manufacturing facility in Tallinn, Estonia, via a dedicated cellular network. The resulting mobile communication is delivering the capacity, customization, and control needed to scale and secure the connected factory, improving manufacturing operations.

The first solution to benefit from the dedicated cellular network is Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) delivering product components from warehouse to the production lines. The AGVs can now communicate with the control system, provide a live stream of data and video, as well as use the dedicated network to open doors. Transporting components is a labor-intensive, costly and repetitive task where AGVs can save time, reduce the risk of damaging components, and cut waste.

The second solution is Augmented Reality (AR) troubleshooting, which is providing an interactive method for the quality control and testing of electronics components. By using AR glasses or terminals, the troubleshooter gets an overlay with all manuals, instructions and collective knowledge of other troubleshooters, allowing them to quickly identify potential problems. Field tests have shown a 50 percent reduction in time spent on troubleshooting circuit boards when using AR.

The third solution enables the Tallinn factory to monitor the environment using mobile sensors to measure moisture, temperature, noise, light, and carbon dioxide. The goal is to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment while minimizing the risk of production defects. The dedicated cellular network has the capacity to handle thousands of sensors in a factory, allowing them to be relocated as the layout of the factory evolves.

Ericsson has adapted well to Estonian R&D ecosystem and has hade a number of projects with the government. For example, they have played an important role in building the world’s smartest electricity grid by developing clever long distant metering solutions to Estonian national grid operator. Ericsson is open for collaboration as they have set up 5G network base stations for open innovation in TalTech university campus and Ülemiste City business campus.

Technopolis Ülemiste AS

Technopolis Ülemiste is one of the main developers of Ülemiste City – the most modern business district in Estonia, where today more than 400 companies are operating and employing nearly 10,000 people, with a turnover of approximately 1 billion euros,” Lember said and added that Estonian Investment Agency has helped to bring and expand several foreign capital companies to operate there.

This summer, a brand new 12-storey office building has opened at Lõõtsa 1a in Ülemiste City. Both the building and the square next to it are named after renowned Estonian chemist Viktor Palm. The total cost of construction of the modern office building, its parking station and the square was 25 million euros.

“Ülemiste City’s a perfect example of an urban environment that’s been developed to meet the needs of companies while still being green and people-friendly,” remarked Tallinn’s mayor Mihhail Kõlvart. “With every new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building that’s added to it, we take one step closer to a carbon-neutral economy and to Tallinn gaining the title of Europe’s Green Capital.”

Gert Jostov, the chairman of the management board of Technopolis Ülemiste AS, said that the Palm building, parking station and square represent the company’s biggest project in recent years. “We’ve put a lot into them,” he said. “They also represent the first step in our next big stage of development. The building’s just been certified LEED Platinum as well, which means it’s as environmentally friendly as it can possibly be and that its management is really efficient.”

Designed by Koko architects and built by Oma Ehitaja AS, the new building has added 10,800 m2 of modern working space to Ülemiste City. Outside the building, Viktor Square comes with public seating and will be adorned in the new year with a fountain. The space will host a wide range of events.

Technopolis Ülemiste currently manages ca 93,000 sq m of business space, making it the market leader in business property in Tallinn. The continued growth of Ülemiste City provides confidence that in time it will become a suburb of Tallinn in its own right. The office building is linked by a gallery to the adjacent parking station, which boasts spaces for more than 520 cars as well as secure parking for bicycles.

An example of the smart tech innovations in Ülemiste City is Auve Tech’s self-driving bus, that was tested here this summer with the aim of making self-driving vehicles a natural part of Tallinn’s public transportation network and going international.

As expected from the digital country, the award ceremony can be also viewed online

The Investor of the Year award is a part of the Estonian Entrepreneurship Award initiative. Awards are given out in five categories: Investor of the Year, Exporter of the Year, Design Applier of the Year, Family Enterprise of the Year, and Innovator of the Year.

The best in each categories will be announced at the gala ‘Best Enterprises of Estonia 2020’, which can also be seen live on Estonian news portal Delfi the same night.

Estonian Entrepreneurship Award Gala in 2019 co-hosts Testlio’s founder Kristel Kruustük and actor Sergo Vares.

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