The priority of the Union of Advanced Technologies Enterprises is the development of the IT community, first of all, through educational programs. In 2023, the Union plans such projects as UAV laboratories in Artsakh, export of Armenian products to the world market and organization of the Digitec Summit, the Union Chairman Alexandr Yesayan and Union Executive Director Hayk Chobanyan told journalists at a meeting.
Armath is one of the Union's biggest projects, and it has succeeded not only in Armenia, but also beyond its borders. The export of this program began back in 2017. Armath circles are now operating in India, France, Bangladesh, and Kuwait, and a new one recently opened at the Lycée Nationale de l'Interpretation in Paris.
New labs are scheduled to open this year, both at home and abroad.
"The government is spending serious money on the operating costs of laboratories already established. We're talking about the need for new laboratories, and the government should be financially involved. I hope that this year we can establish 50 new laboratories-especially in Syunik and Vayots Dzor. I hope that the government will take over the operating costs. In addition, we plan to sell another 50 new laboratories abroad. There are already such laboratories in France and Germany. On March 18, they will open in Glendale, USA.
Africa is a very big market for Armata. At the end of this month, we will start work in South Africa, and there are proposals for cooperation with Rwanda, Botswana, and Egypt. This is important from the viewpoint of enhancing Armenia's image. And from the viewpoint of preserving national identity, opening laboratories in Armenian communities abroad is important," Chobanyan said.
According to him, 32 new laboratories of Armath were opened in Armenia and Artsakh in 2022. 12 new educational programs on aerial robotics have been created as well. In addition, the program "From the Army to the sphere of IT" was continued.
Last year several interesting educational programs and UAV simulation labs were launched in Artsakh. This year it is planned to realize the development programs of technological development of Artsakh to the maximum.
Chobanyan singled out the positioning of Armenia as a leading hi-tech country, development of science, e-government, military industrial complex, education and workforce as 5 strategic directions of the Union of Advanced Technologies Enterprises.
Branding work, which has not been done since 2017, was launched in 2022. There will be a presentation of the new Armenian technology branding in March, followed by awareness work.
Chobanyan also announced the creation of a future Armenian technology platform, a joint platform of educational institutions and the government to implement programs in five strategic areas. Various programs in artificial intelligence, leadership, STEAM-education, and innovative development are being implemented. This encourages collaboration between business and academia.
"We cannot develop the sphere if the research direction does not have the proper volume: there should be hundreds of projects, not dozens. This is a critically important direction for Armenia. We must approach it from the perspective of the capabilities of all Armenians, not just Armenia," Chobanyan added.
He also pointed to the cooperation with Gituzh (Power of Science), which is extremely important in terms of popularizing science and seeking to increase funding for the sphere of science.
The military-industrial sphere has become one of the main directions of work for the Union of Advanced Technologies Enterprises after the 2020 war. The task, according to representatives of the Union, was to systematize activities in the sphere. Discussions were held, problems were identified and work is being done to solve them. This may concern not only the production of weapons but also advanced technologies in the sphere of security.
Chobanyan also said that on March 11-12 the exhibition and summit Digitec 2022, which was supposed to take place in September last year, will be held at Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concert Complex. This will be the 17th such exhibition and will be the largest ever held. There will be five panel discussions and more than 40 speakers, including the former Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland. In addition, the Digitec 2023 Summit and Exhibition will be held in the fall.
Summing up the results of the last year, the experts noted that there were serious changes in the sphere of IT in 2022: many specialists arrived in Armenia, which had a positive impact on the sphere as a whole. The Union of Advanced Technologies Enterprises, according to Yesayan, supported the newcomers in every possible way.
An unprecedented number of startups were registered in the country in 2022: Armenia became one of the world's relocation sites and gained a new status.
There are 130 companies represented in the Union, and last year they became more active in a number of issues, as the IT community understands the importance of solving urgent problems. Many local companies faced great difficulties last year because of currency fluctuations. Under the program to support affected companies, 300 companies applied for help.