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Moo-moo and e-Death: exploring Estonia’s quirky digital services

What cyberspace and physical space have in common, is that they both have less travelled parts. e-Estonia ventured into some of these areas of Estonian cyberspace.

A common joke about Estonia at international conferences is that they are so digitally advanced that they have even digitalized death. Since 2019, Estonians have had the privilege of using e-Death, an interoperability service that exchanges data about the deceased between healthcare providers and ministries. This morbid service is actually highly beneficial because otherwise, the relatives may face several tedious bureaucratic tasks concerning death certificates, pensions, bills etc.

After the person is digitally dead, their adventures in cyberspace do not stop there. Many Estonia municipalities use the digital graveyard software Grave, developed by SpinTek. Again, looking beyond its frightening façade, this software systematizes graveyard registries, keeps track of their maintenance, and even allows the visitor of the graveyard to locate the desired spot more easily. Each municipal digital burial ground is integrated with the population register and interlinked with each other. This allows relatives of the deceased to request maintenance and memorial services of a particular grave even if the graveyard is far away in the physical realm. The software is in use by municipalities of several countries over the world.

Interestingly though, the software service Coffin keeps track of the medically insured persons in Estonia. Why this health-related service has such a non-intuitive name, only the programmers know.

The naming game

This brings us to the ungrateful task of naming digital services. While the services have lengthy and often highly bureaucratic names, they are routinely given shorter acronyms. Sometimes, as the example of the Coffin above, the names create amusing allusions.

For example, a part of the state digital signature software is called Pig (SiGa in Estonian), while another part is called Quickly (SiVa in Estonian), and the central authentication service is called Fence (Tara in Estonian). Or, from another walk of life, the system that tracks government support to municipalities for organising sporting activities for children is called Pat (Pai in Estonian). Clearly, the programmers who, after a long day, need to write a title for their folder go for the shorthand and only later think of the consequences.

And now for something completely different

When it comes to the favourite digital services and their names in Estonia, we are looking towards the realm of agriculture. The digitalisation of agriculture has prompted the creation of two software services that, being probably quite obscure for the common person, are valued and highly used by farmers. We are talking about the pig farming database Piggy (Possu) and the cattle breeding database Moo-moo (Vissike). Nothing to laugh about here! These serious services keep track of the productivity, lineage, and health of these animals in Estonian farms.

Wish to know more about opportunities for developing your complex software systems in Estonia? Send us a request for 1:1 e-Consulting with one of our advisors to get started with your business.

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