Smart Tech in the Caucasus
Fast-track catch-up. Governments across the CIS and Eurasia region are embracing e-technologies and smart city programs at a fast pace. Typically, moving to new technologies can be slow but once adopted in one country the contagion is usually rapid.
Few legacy issues. One of the advantages of the CIS-Eurasia region is the lack of legacy systems that are found in developed nations. Problems such as traffic management have never been dealt with historically but solutions are now urgent. It means the latest innovative technologies can be introduced.
Funding. Oil based economies, such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, are benefiting from the strong recovery in the oil price plus new production and export volumes. A lot of this wealth is being directed to smart technologies. Other countries, such as Georgia and Uzbekistan, are attracting development aid money.
SOEs are starting to spend. Apart from the state sponsored projects, a lot of the technology spending is also coming from large state-owned enterprises (SOEs), such as energy majors and banks. Many of these companies are upgrading systems and adding the latest technologies to aid growth and efficiency improvement.
Lifestyle. In some instances, as has been seen in Russia and more recently in Ukraine, people are a major driving force. There is much greater use of “gadgets” in everyday living and that is boosting online services, e-commerce, fintech, etc.
Economic diversification. A desire for economic diversification is also a big driver in some countries, e.g. Armenia and in Central Asia. Technology based industries are viewed as potentially high growth and a source of well-paid employment.
Security is also a factor. Governments across the region are very focused on e-government development. Partly, that allows for better communication with citizens but also it allows for more efficient security systems.