Press Release, October 6, 2016
Washington DC, October 6th – The Estonian IT company Datel has developed a software platform for President Obama’s initiative “The Opportunity Project” to help local governments in the U.S to develop their communities.
The software solution developed by Datel enables local governments to create online environments to interact with local people and businesses.
On Thursday, 6 October, the White House, Washington, launched next step in President Obama’s “The Opportunity Project” initiative. Among the many world-renowned software developers involved in creating solutions for the project is the Estonian IT-company Datel. Datel Ovela, the U.S. subsidiary of Datel, developed a software platform for local governments that can be used by local communities to tell their own stories. The outcome is a user-friendly and reasonably priced search engine, ‘FindYour.Town’, which enables local governments to create, with open data from federal and local governments, websites introducing their communities. The platform is accessible free of charge across the U.S.
White House official DJ Patil, U.S. Chief Data Scientist:
“The Opportunity Project is about unleashing the power of data to solve some of the toughest challenges our communities face, things like helping Americans build skills and find jobs, increasing transit options in low-income neighborhoods, and helping families navigate information on the quality of schools. The 29 tools being released today, built by the organizations participating in the Opportunity Project, are the newest additions to the growing ecosystem of digital tools using open data and modern technologies to try and tackle big problems head on.”
According to Urmas Kõlli, Chairman of the Management Board of Datel, the new solution enables small local governments lacking the resources to develop their own up-to-date online environments, to communicate with local people and businesses. “The tool we have created is a great example of putting the e-Government technologies into good use because the search engine is using federal and local datasets,” said Kõlli.
The solution was developed by a dozen of Datel and Datel Ovela team members – software analysts, designers, developers and testers in Rapla, Tallinn and Washington. Agu Leinfeld, Datel’s software development and technology director said: “It is somewhat symbolic that the solution supporting small local governments was developed in a small county centre of a small, but innovative country that is many times smaller yet again than the U.S. The project is an excellent example of a modern work process where professionals from different corners of the world work together using cutting edge communication and cloud solutions.” It was not just that the cooperation format launched by the White House was highly innovative, but also the combination of remote working tools, open code solutions, the dispersed team and cloud services.
The creation of ‘FindYour.Town’ is proof that Estonian companies can find a way into the US market and collaborate with US Government institutions. “Regardless of where in Estonia you may be, the American market is an open and willing partner - all you need is an out-of-the-box mindset, a feel for the local culture, a good network and high speed Internet,” said Leinfeldt, adding that he is very happy about the unique project and believes that the venture will contribute to the fame of Estonia as a country where innovative technology solutions are located.
The Opportunity Project is an initiative started in the spring of 2016 by President Obama to improve collaboration between the Federal Government and local government leaders, technologists and community members. Other solution providers, besides Datel, for “Opportunity” include well-known names such as the web learning environment ‘coursera.org’, the sharing economy venture ‘airbnb.com’ and many others.
Datel is one of the oldest, large IT companies in Estonia, and one of the few that are based on Estonian capital. The company’s turnover in 2015 exceeded 8 million EUR and it employs over 80 specialists. Datel’s strong point is its competency in building information systems, developing software solutions and offering presentation technology, potentially providing answers to all of a customer’s needs, from purchasing hardware to hosting software. In the course of its 26-year history, Datel has made life easier for a great number of Estonians by building various e-state services in the country.
Datel’s affiliate, Datel Ovela, has been active in the US market since 2012. In 2013, the subsidiary Ovela LLC was established to handle software solution sales, and the first US public procurement contract was obtained in the same year. The company’s first US customers, Montgomery and Roanoke counties, have been acclaimed by the Digital Counties Survey for their innovative software solutions two years in a row (2015, 2016). This annual award is given to the best e-solutions in US counties that help save taxpayers’ money and increase the transparency of governance, among other things.
Link to White House fact sheet: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/06/fact-sheet-opportunity-project-unleashing-power-open-data-build
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