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Digitalisation Increases Productivity, Enhances Services for Citizens and Businesses and Supports Data-Driven Decision-Making


Vladimir Danailov, Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency, participated in the Smart Cities discussion panel of the program of the international AI&I conference, which took place on November 26, 2019 in Sofia Tech Park. The forum was organized by Ikonomika magazine, and Bulgaria’s Digital National Alliance (DNA) and is Bulgaria’s first ever event aimed at bringing together large technology corporations with the startup business community, academia and the public sector to discuss formulas for successful and ethical introduction of artificial intelligence into daily management.

The panel, led by moderator Assoc. Prof. Boyan Zhekov, included representatives from the Ministry of Interior and companies developing products and services in the field of smart urban solutions such as Develiot, Vivacom, Theoremus and Syscom Engineering. 

The panel focused on the challenges facing cities and their possible solutions through the introduction of digital technologies. 

In the discussion, Vladimir Danailov highlighted three major factors that make digitalisation important to cities. It frees up resources and increases productivity, which is especially important for cities with low unemployment (such as Sofia – 2% unemployment rate); enhances services for citizens and businesses and supports data-driven decision-making.

“We believe that the success factors for the digitalisation activities of Sofia are that citizens and businesses should be the focus and they should collaborate together with the city to improve the quality of life and economic development,” said Vladimir Danailov. 

In this respect, the implementation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia, which was prepared with the support and methodology of the European Commission by the team of Sofia Investment Agency, is crucial. The strategy recommends the following: 

1) Opening the city to the local technology sector and turning the city into a market maker for the IT sector in the first four priority areas: mobility, utilities, e-governance on the demand side and the technology sector on the supply side; 

2) Establishment of a unit in the Sofia Municipality to coordinate the activities of digitalisation and smart urban solutions in coordination with business, development centres and citizens; 

3) Regulation of data exchange processes and creation of data policy to stimulate the start-up sector and innovations. 

The conference also touched on other issues such as the growing impact of AI in financial services, AI against human intelligence, the point where AI will surpass humans – from the perspectives of leading speakers from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Rimac Automobili, and more visionary topics. SAS, a leading analytics and AI software company, announced a challenge to startups in Bulgaria dealing with artificial intelligence. 

An overview of the highlights of the presentations and discussions can be found in the articles of (in Bulgarian).