Fifth Digital Almaty 2023 Forum ‘Digs Deeper’ into World of High Tech

ALMATY The fifth Digital Almaty 2023 forum held Feb.2-3 in the southern capital of Kazakhstan, brought together 30,000 participants from more than 30 countries, representing more than 400 companies. More than 150 people attended the forum and more than 250 exhibitions were put on display.

Photo credit: Ilyas Omarov.

Kazakhstan is one of the leaders in the ongoing digital transformation of society among the post-Soviet countries. In 2022, Kazakhstan ranked 28th in terms of the development of digital government and 15th in terms of electronic participation of citizens as part of the E-Government Development Index (EGDI).

The heads of governments of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council took part in one of the plenary sessions titled Digital Partnership in the New Reality. 

Opening the session, Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov noted Kazakhstan is on the path of digital transformation of the public administration, including the implementation of FinTech and GovTech projects. Due to the openness of the state and the ease of doing business, a high level of penetration by digital technology has already been achieved in Kazakhstan.

Photo credit: Ilyas Omarov.

Digitalization is an important component in ensuring equality of opportunity and justice. The government is moving to a qualitatively new concept of digitization of public administration – the Invisible Government. A person, his or her needs and interests will be put at the center of this system providing proactive public services.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Akylbek Zhaparov surprised the participants of the event with his speech that referenced neural networks that were used to draft his remarks. He also noted the upcoming changes in education and healthcare that will occur thanks to the implementation of artificial intelligence in the near future.

Photo credit: Ilyas Omarov.

In one of the pavilions, visitors could get acquainted with the work of personal monitors that change position at the request of the client. In its original form, the monitor itself was not visible. Only after pressing a certain button did it assume its usual position. According to representatives of the pavilion, which bears the symbolic name Element One, such monitors were installed in the office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, the first time in the world. 

The forum presented Work, a new app, which will simplify labor migration within the Eurasian space. Connecting new countries to this initiative will not only reduce business transaction costs, save time and effort for employees, but also make the working environment of the EAEU safer and more transparent.

The key factor in the dynamic development of digitalization in Kazakhstan is the Astana Hub, an international technopark of IT start-ups that creates conditions for the free development of businesses and high-tech initiatives. 

The Technopark pavilion presented large international technology parks from the countries of Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, which contribute to the creation and development of viable IT ecosystems in Eurasia and beyond, sharing experience and information about ongoing projects. More than 100 startups in projects such as edutech, medical technology, fintech, lot, AR/VR, agricultural technology and cybersecurity presented their activities. 

There were thematic expo zones – robots, drones, VR solutions and other devices. For the first time, industrial, digital solutions for modern industries and industrial companies were presented as well as a children’s championship in robotics.

Photo credit: Ilyas Omarov.

Particular attention was focused on robots as assistants to people – an idea once found in science fiction films that has now finally migrated to the modern high-tech world. The visitors also saw a robot that teaches children digital skills in action. Such robots could replace teachers in schools in the future. Also, a robot device equipped with a thermal imager is able to search for people during man-made and natural disasters, which, for example, would be relevant now in Türkiye.

A separate area was opened for drones. The drones are used in agriculture and assist in fertilizing, sowing fields, treating plants with ultraviolet light, monitoring fields, and grazing sheep.

There are rescue drones that, with the help of a thermal imager, can find people in trouble. In May 2022 in Almaty, rescuers used a drone with a built-in thermal imager to localize the fire, with the help of which they quickly identified the places where hidden fires were still burning.

At the Almaty forum, specialized underwater drones designed to inspect pillar supports and pipelines at depth have also been presented.

One of the panels was devoted to digital nomads, and the speakers discussed the pros and cons of leaving their country to live in a different environment.

A shovel was installed at the pavilion of the Qazaq Soft Company. The representatives of the company believe the world of software is so huge that it is necessary to dig deeper and with more vigor. 

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