Domestic Potential not Tapped by Key Market Players

Total Croatia News

Instead of importing solutions, companies who invested and focused on local products have not only profited themselves, but created jobs and opportunities for others

Iskon, the most propulsive company in the Hrvatski Telekom (HT) group, after four years has finally found a way to actualise its own business incubator. The experience gained in the creation of Iskon Lab, which recently finished its first product, is a good example how the development of the Croatian economy could be aided by companies such as Ina, Konzum, HEP, Zagrebačka bank, HT, Petrol, PBZ, Pliva, Erste bank, Plodine, Lidl, Zagreb holding, Vipnet, Kaufland, Prvo plinarsko društvo, Crodux, Agrokor, Tisak and a line of other big players with profits in billions of Kunas, reports on June2, 2016.

For Iskon, with a last year income of under 400 million Kuna, Iskon Lab is not a marketing story. It’s a tool to strengthen its own market position, generate new sources of income and catalyze a positive image. All this without seed capital. But, there’s a trick.

Although Iskon has been a controversial topic ever since HT bought it ten years ago, in terms of telecommunication market regulation, it is also continually controversial in terms of management and managing. The first one has a negative context, but the second makes Iskon a regularly positive story and a seminary of good practice. This is the case with Iskon.SmartHome solution, the first product by Iskon Lab. The smarthome system was developed by Zagreb IT company Smart Sense, developing the hardware and software and applying the Iskon brand to it. Iskon offered its market force, through current and future users, sales logistics and marketing support. It also offered the infrastructure needed to test the product in real production conditions and arrive to users with a polished solution.

This makes Iskon Lab a win-win story for Iskon and Smart Sense, while this type of research and development model has a wider impact on economy.

In reality, Iskon could have adopted the smarthome solution provided by Deutsche Telekom, or opt to distribute a solution by a foreign company and delve into import.

Instead, Iskon chose a model supporting domestic development, one completely developed and produced in Croatia. Other than Smart Sense, with 6 top notch IT experts, several domestic craftsmen took part along with RIZ company and designer Maša Vukmanović. In other wordsm instead of promoting import, Iskon supported a private investment in development enabling new jobs to be created.

One wonders what it would look like if something similar was done by Ina, HEP or Zagreb Holding?

Agrokor has begun to do this with Konzum and Tisak. HT is trying, while Erste bank is quite active in applying this model. Erste was the first to apply the innovation by MicroBlink company run by Damir Sabol and increased the usage of its own mobile banking service over 20 times. Additionally, it opened the door to foreign markets for Sabol. Agrokor, together with ZIP, created their own business accelerator to achieve the same goal.

Ina, HEP, Zagreb Holding and other similar organisations are currently standing still and not using their huge potential through the model of open innovations to strengthen Croatian production and export. Smart Sense has developed a smart socket that displays power consumption on a smartphone, a solution now sold by Iskon. Isn’t this something you would expect from a startup brought into the market by HEP?

British Petrol works with startups who maintain wind farms or those developing new materials or desalinization and water treatment solutions. Aren’t these good opportunities for Ina? The Mayor of London created the Future Streets Incubator Fund two years ago which supported a slew of projects including British-built noise dampers and urban clean energy solutions. Why wouldn’t Zagreb do this? With all these projects selected through competitions so all would have equal chances, opening development options for domestic business, employment, references and future export.


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