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Slovenian IT Excellence

13 companies exhibited at this year's CeBIT fair in Hannover in April. The presentation was organized by the public agency SPIRIT. The companies present at the fair were a good example of Slovenia's growing and dynamic IT industry which focuses mainly on narrowly specialized and innovative software.

Who produced the first personal computer in Europe? It wasn’t Siemens nor Philips or any other major European electronics brand. It was Slovenian company Iskra Delta Computers – its PC Partner hit market only four years after IBM’s first PC. In the mid-eighties Iskra's technological solutions astounded their western counterparts: they developed parallel systems and made the first steps in the development of artificial intelligence. Yet despite its technological prowess the relatively small company from the collapsing socialist Yugoslavia had no chances to compete on global market.

Three decades later information technology remains an important industry in Slovenia with over 4.200 active companies officially stating IT as their core business in 2012 – 1.200 companies more than in 2008! The total turnover of these companies exceeded 1 billion in 2011 and is steadily growing. 13 of these companies exhibited on this year’s CeBIT Hannover, Europe’s main tech industry fair. The joint presentation was organized by the public agency SPIRIT under the title “Slovenian IT Excellence”.

The largest among the exhibitors was Iskratel – a company with roots in Iskra, a huge industrial conglomerate from socialist times. Iskratel is a global provider of hardware for advanced info communication networks. The company with around 800 employees was the only hardware provider among the 13 exhibitors. The rest mostly develop narrowly specialized software systems and multiplatform applications. This is typical for Slovenian IT industry in general: few hardware providers and an explosive number of niche players in software, often active on global scale.

Four out of the 13 exhibitors develop business operations systems: Datalab, Dopinus, ResEVO and Mikropis. While Dopinus is still a start-up, Datalab is an established high growth company. Its sales reached 6.6 million euros in 2013, and are expected to double before 2016. Entia, another exhibitor, is a provider of cloud based home automation systems for residential buildings. The company is cooperating closely with the University of Ljubljana and the Jozef Stefan Insititute. GOAP develops similar systems: its specialty are smart solutions for hotels and large cruise ships. Mikrografija is an important developer of integral solutions for document management systems. CADCAM Lab provides solutions for electro-mechanical engineering. Pronet specializes in CRM systems with some interesting special products such as solutions for kindergarten management or for room renters. Two companies develop fleet management solutions for taxis or transportation: Mega M and Net Informatika. Rettro is a young company working on mobile applications. They developed an original application for beekeepers.

Not all the globally active IT companies from Slovenia were present in Hannover this spring. Take Europlus for example. It is a leading software development company in the automatic identification industry. The company is serving a wide array of customers ranging from Ikea and Pepsi, to Leica and Louis Vuitton. Zemanta, with offices in Ljubljana and New York, develops content analyzing tools. Its solutions attracted the attention of Google. Uniki develops interactive marketing tools “ranging from gesture interaction to augmented reality”. The futuristic solutions of the young company convinced such customers as BBC, Coca Cola, Canon and Audi. Last but not least: BS Player is considered as the best free multimedia player with over 70 million users around the globe. The player is developed by Ljubljana based AB Team.

It is impossible to mention all the exciting and innovative companies in Slovenia’s dynamic IT industry – especially since new names appear virtually every day. However, despite all the differences they share a common ground: they develop software and applications, they operate in very narrow niche markets and aim at the global market. And: no crisis can stop them.