Estonian government invites tech innovators globally to join digital testbed

Estonia says Digital Testbed Framework is an opportunity to trial solutions with one of world’s most digitally-advanced nations

Siim Sikkut, chief information officer for Estonia

Estonia’s government has launched its Digital Testbed Framework, inviting government tech innovators from around the world to build or try out its ideas, prototypes, products or whole new digital services.

It aims to give start-ups, scale-ups and all government tech innovators access to the technologies and experience of Estonia’s digitally-advanced government. In return, Estonia will get free use of the resulting solutions.

Participants will have opportunities to produce government-level IT solutions via live-market testing and approval in a nation-wide digital government testbed. They won’t have to navigate red tape, nor lengthy sales and approval processes.

Siim Sikkut, chief information officer for Estonia, said: “We want to partner with innovative people from all over the world and in a variety of sectors.

“Whether you’re a coder wanting help improve the digital services of Estonia, or an entrepreneur looking to test your solution with one of the most digitally advanced nations in the world – we’d love to connect with you.”

The Digital Testbed Framework has already been tried domestically and the Estonian Government said that it has been integral to its digital success.

For example, the framework has been used by the Estonian parliament and the Ministry of Education and Research to collaborate on reusable AI components, and the Estonian Health Board to create the official Covid19 exposure notification app for the country.

It has also been deployed across applications such as the TEXTA Toolkit, which uses AI functionality to predict whether comments should or shouldn’t be published in public forums, and in helping the Police and Border Guard Board detect domestic violence cases.

Almost all Estonian government services are now online. In 2002, a high-tech national ID system was launched, pairing physical ID cards with digital signatures that Estonians use to pay taxes, vote, do online banking and access their health care records

Sam Trendall

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