We all have our favourite modes of transport, every traveller does. Trains, trams, taxis, tricycles, tuktuks, teleport, trucks,tro… oh wait, what, we still don’t have teleport?!
But on the second thought, why not?
The year 2018 introduced a lot of interesting opportunities for e-Estonia Showroom. No, we are not yet ready to teleport you to Estonia but we got the next best thing – a virtual reality experience.
We got a record number of delegations visiting us this year, one international media coverage after another, and a new home next year.
Estonia from a different perspective
In September, we launched the VR Estonia, showcasing twelve 360-degree videos that tell the story of e-Estonia. An experience which includes a warm welcome from Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, and an insight from previous head of the state Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
The videos cover topics about the digital society – digital identity, X-Road, i-voting, e-health, e-society, cyber security, e-residency, education, and business environment, with a talking unicorn leading the way. Estonia is a unicorn country after all!
VR Estonia pop-up booth has toured around events like Tallinn Digital Summit and Robotex, and from mid-December, everyone travelling to and from Tallinn can experience the VR videos at Tallinn Airport Gate 3.
In addition to the physical expositions, digital explorers can also visit the online platform vrestonia.ee where all the videos can be watched with or without VR glasses on various devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
A record number of delegations
Last year, we hosted a total of 680 delegations with a strong presence coming from Germany and Finland. In 2018, that number grew by 20% to 820 delegations, led by contingents from Japan. Interest from Germany in Estonian e-governance remains very strong. Following a couple of visits, German officials extended an invitation to e-Estonia Showroom to present Estonian public sector innovations to its local government units.
Estonian ambition and pragmatism, which focuses on finding solutions to problems, instead of obstacles, is what has driven the digital transformation and has put Estonia in the position where it is today. It seems like a very basic lesson, but this, in combination with world-renowned Estonian IT capacities, is a lesson worth sharing with German listeners.
Aside from the German audience, e-Estonia Showroom also presented our digital society to other very prominent public officials around the world. This is a bit of a list so bear with us:
- Prime Minister of Romania, Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă
- King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander Claus Ferdinand
- President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen
- Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Leona Marlin-Romeo
- Secretary of State, Ministry of Digital Affairs of Poland, Karol Okonski
- Secretary of State of Vietnam, Mai Tien Dzung
- Minister of Justice of Croatia, Dražen Bošnjaković
- Minister of Transport and Local Government of Iceland, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson
- Minister of Defence of Moldova, Eugen Sturza
- Minister of Economy of UAE, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori
- Minister of Digital Transformation of Australia, Michael Keenan
- Minister of the Interior and Safety of Korea, Kim Boo Kyum
- Minister of Communications and Information of Singapore, Janil Puthucheary
- Minister of Research, Science and Innovation of New Zealand, Megan Woods
The overall growth in the number of visitors to e-Estonia Showroom presented a huge potential for local businesses to also expand their network. So at the start of the year, the Showroom team decided to put more emphasis on creating sustainable links between incoming groups, Estonian companies, and government agencies.
For Estonian businesses, the Showroom serves as a unique venue to introduce themselves to high-profile international delegations. Likewise, for the international delegations, it is of great added value not only to explore e-governance and digitalization in theory, but to also get in touch with the minds behind applied solutions and potentially build lasting links with them.
There have been about 225 meetings between delegations and Estonian companies organized throughout the year, which means that a quarter of all the Showroom visitors also met with local companies.
“Showroom is a great place to meet potential clients you would otherwise have to travel to find! Exactly the right client profile leads to a sale. Also, and this is really the key, the staff of the Showroom is trustworthy and helpful. Tobias, among others, is a damn rockstar and I am really looking forward to continuing to work with him.”
Carl Pucci, Datel
And the world is taking notice
Also this year, e-Estonia Showroom took the responsibility to manage e-Estonia’s international brand communication. This means that all messages, facts, stories, case studies, photos, media coverage and videos about e-Estonia are being centrally coordinated.
If you are a fan of our online platforms, you must have seen the daily news scoops that we curate and deliver to your news feeds and emails. The Showroom scoured the internet and found almost 100 000 articles on different e-Estonia topics (like e-Estonia, e-residency, cyber security etc) in both news and social media around the world.
A lot of coverage comes from German media, for example, der Spiegel compares Germany’s governance with Estonia’s and concludes that e-governance-wise, the former looks like a museum. German online magazine Focus.de, expressed Germany’s struggles in pursuing digitizing public services. Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote in their article about the supportive startup environment and the digitization of Estonian government. Just lately Frankfurter Allgemeine published an article by the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid. And one of the highlights of this year’s coverage was a thorough article in AUDI magazine called “Welcome to the society of the future.” And these are just a few examples of growing coverage in German media.
Italian broadcaster La7 published a short documentary about the Estonian digital society on its primetime TV show Piazzapulita. It gives an overview of all the main e-services as well as Estonia’s education system.
Welcome new year and new home
With all this attention, interest, and a steady flow of delegations, e-Estonia Showroom team is committed to working even harder to create meaningful connections with our partners and followers in and out of Estonia.
In fact, because our current cosy and warm showroom, which has been our home since 2014, has grown too small and a bit outdated for us, we are on our way to move to new and bigger headquarters!
From February next year, the new e-Estonia Showroom will be at Öpiku Building, located also in the Ülemiste smart city.
In the new Showroom, we are going to have more space (of course) – two halls for presentations and extra meeting rooms. The main focus of the Showroom will be the digital exposition which showcases all the e-government solutions by Estonian companies. The new Showroom will also have interactive games where you can try to build your own e-state and find your way out from the “bureaucratic labyrinth.”
Are you excited? We are for sure!
Year 2018 has been wonderful and we thank everyone for being part of this journey. We may not have a way to teleport you all to Estonia yet in the near future but you can sure count on us to bring you closer to e-Estonia society.