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Danilo Savić, Data Cloud Technology CEO

AI Increasingly Present in Industry

The Government Data Center in Kragujevac is one of eight European data centres classified as Class 4, which represents the highest internationally recognised level of security and reliability

Those who don’t focus on developing artificial intelligence on time will find it challenging to catch up later – says our interviewee, before explaining Serbia’s spot on the map of countries that are furthest ahead when it comes to digitalisation and the development of information and communication technology (ICT).

Since its opening, the Data Centre has repeatedly proven itself to be a significant initiator of Serbia’s fourth industrial revolution and digitalisation. Can we be satisfied with the speed at which we’re advancing towards the future?

— The fourth industrial revolution bridges the gap between people and technology, unlike the previous three revolutions that only changed how tasks were performed.

Data has become one of the most important resources in this context. There is no longer any industry that’s untouched by information and communication technologies; digitalisation is an inevitability unfolding before our eyes.

I am pleased that we are part of the story in which UN experts have recognised and positioned Serbia high on the global list of countries based on the criterion of progress in the digitalisation of state administration. Our country currently ranks 40th, while in terms of the speed of progress it ranks an excellent 10th globally. The role of the State Data Centre in Kragujevac and Data Cloud Technology in these successes primarily lies in the aspect of digitalisation- supporting infrastructure. In such instances, we always emphasise our joint contribution with the team from the Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment.

Serbia acquired its first supercomputer at your State Data Centre in 2021. How important is this for the sustainability of the economy, scientific development and the state administration?

— Based on the Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Serbia for the 2020-2025 period, a national AI platform has been established and made available to the scientific community. This platform provides excellent support to scientific research and, consequently, economic development. Support for scientific research is formally regulated through agreements to implement, improve and expand on the use of artificial intelligence in Serbia with all universities in the Republic of Serbia and several prominent institutes, as well as science and technology parks in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Čačak and Niš.

There is No Longer any Industry That’s Untouched by Information and Communication Technologies; Digitalisation is an Inevitability Unfolding Before Our Eyes

We further aim to promote industry’s greater adoption of artificial intelligence. Given the extensive use of the AI platform, we have set a goal of significantly increasing capacities in the near future, making us absolute leaders in this part of Europe.

We are on the verge of extremely rapid global changes. Those who don’t focus on developing artificial intelligence on time will find it challenging to catch up later. This applies not only to companies, but to entire countries, underscored by the significant importance of the National AI Development Platform.

Thanks to having earned the highest international standard certification for data centre security and reliability, you have attracted the largest and most important companies in the IT sector. Whose data do you store?

— We are one of only eight Data Centres in Europe to be classified as Class 4, which is the highest internationally recognised level of security and reliability. We have recently undergone recertification, which was verified by Germany’s TÜV, as was the certification process itself. This involves the most serious measures and indicators, prompting the rhetorical question: in what other areas are we among the top eight in Europe?

As a logical consequence of the aforementioned, our partners today include some of the global market’s most important players: Oracle, IBM and Huawei, among others.

Naturally, our clients include all telecommunications companies operating in Serbia, all relevant companies on the domestic ICT market and renowned companies from beyond the IT sphere that store their data with us.

I would like to highlight that we recently acquired our first client from the region in the form of Poštanska štedionica Bank from Banja Luka, thus continuing our very successful cooperation with Poštanska štedionica Bank. It is very pleasing to us that this partner is from Republika Srpska.

When will construction of the Innovation District begin? Could it be said that it represents the realisation of new visions and aspirations to advance in this area and further accelerate the development of Serbia’s ICT sector?

— The answer to your second question is affirmative, but the strategies and visions of the Innovation District extend far beyond merely contributing to the development of the ICT sector in Serbia. With the laying of the cornerstone, construction of the District is officially underway, representing a logical continuation after promoting Kragujevac as a major IT centre with the construction of the State Data Centre. The National Centre for Information Security is planned to operate within the District. Additionally, it will host Serbia’s 5th science and technology park and a digital centre with entertainment and sports facilities that are open to members of the IT community. The Innovation District will be built in phases, due to it being an extensive investment that cannot be realised quickly.

Among the Prerequisites for Modernisation and Digitalisation is Secure, Easily Accessible and Fast Data – Precisely The Mission of Our Team

It is important to note that the District will be open to citizens and visitors, while commercial lessees at the State Data Centre can obtain the necessary office space there.

Data Cloud Technology is mentioned in the “Serbia 2027 Leap into the Future” plan for modernisation and digitalisation. What is the focus on: expanding capacities; building additional modules; or purchasing new supercomputers?

— The focus is on everything you mentioned. The resources of the artificial intelligence platform, which is available to the scientific community, will be significantly increased in the coming period. The State Data Centre is expanding its production capacities within the framework of the initial project, but is doing so faster than originally planned. We will soon begin technologically equipping the modules where equipment for new and additional equipment for existing clients will be housed. Market demand for our services is high and we strive to meet clients’ needs. Among the prerequisites for modernisation and digitalisation is secure, easily accessible and fast data – precisely our team’s mission.

Thanks to the development of the ICT sector, Belgrade and Novi Sad are no longer the only cities in the country that attract good companies and experts in this field. Is the Data Centre’s impact on Kragujevac and Serbia apparent?

— The dilemma over Kragujevac’s role in developing our ICT sector no longer exists. We are proud of this fact and confident that this contribution will continue to grow in the future. The Innovation District also means creating new job opportunities for young engineers and professionals who will build their careers here without ever needing to leave Kragujevac. I cannot think of anything more positive than what is happening in our city. I believe the momentum of ICT sector development in Serbia will also find its footing in other cities, not just in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Kragujevac.

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