Building a STEM
Hrvatski Telecom is striving to assist in preparing Croatia for a new wave of technological changes and the company makes a significant contribution to the popularization of STEM knowledge and skills, and the application of modern technologies in all walks of life.
HT has been continuously awarding and supporting innovative and creative projects in Croatia through its donation program since 2006. So far, Hrvatski Telekom has supported the implementation of more than 300 projects with more than HRK 10 million.
During the past two years, the Generation Next donation program has been focusing on STEM skills. More than 160 schools were equipped with advanced equipment for IoT based projects, and more than 2000 children participated in the projects with over 130 mentors trained there. A unique astrobiology lab was equipped in Višnjan. More than 700 children visit the lab every year and more than 300 mentors have been educated there.
One of the highlights from last year is that HT donated HRK 300,000 to the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation of Youth (IRIM) for the project entitled "Advanced Internet of Things Technologies (IoT) in Croatian Schools". Over 100 schools throughout Croatia are participating in the project. As a result of the financial assistance provided by HT, Internet of Things (IoT) equipment is available for use in these schools. The basic prerequisites for training and encouraging pupils’ creativity in identifying smart IoT solutions have been met through the equipment provided and appropriate teacher training.
The success achieved by the project "Advanced Internet of Things Technologies (IoT) in Croatian Schools" has been confirmed by excellent results achieved during the first competition held in January and February of 2018. This was centered on the topic of "Smart Lighting". 88 pupil teams from primary and secondary schools entered the competition and their works were extremely innovative – ranging from smart home and film lighting to energy efficient lighting systems intended for streets and car parks. Each project submitted also represents educational material, so all the schools provided with IoT equipment can replicate the success of other teams and intensify their knowledge of the Internet of Things.
The Jury for the selection of the best projects gathered prominent scientists and leading people from key institutions. Indeed, the Generation Next donation program has become a networking platform with leading stakeholders from the realms of academia, media, business and government institutions. They recognize the positive impact of the project and have been keen to participate in the Generation Next Jury. The program gathered three deans from the most respected STEM faculties in Croatia, 2 state secretaries, 2 directors of state institutes, 2 founders of successful local startups and one representative of media startup.
Hrvatski Telekom presented the best Generation Next projects that prepare young people for the jobs of the future
Two projects were selected as the best projects in the 2017/2018 Generation Next donation program. An automated chicken coop was managed by mobile phone, and a large collaborative project linking more than 100 schools and associations through an interactive map and featuring meteorological indicators across the country in real time. On the last day of the school year, project authors and mentors presented the best projects they had been developing all year round at Hrvatski Telekom. The automated chicken coop was created by students at Iver elementary school from Sesvete, guided by mentor Romano Rupčić, while the collaborative project was presented by Nenad Bakić, co-founder of the Institute for Development and Youth Innovation (IRIM), as a partner of this sponsorship contest.
As the leader of digitization in Croatia, HT is constantly investing in the development of digital infrastructure and technology. This will provide the environment for the young creators who will develop new solutions for the future as leaders of Generation Next. HT is continuously moving the boundaries that enable digital infrastructure in Croatia. It is among the first operators in Europe to introduce a 1Gbit/s symmetric Internet speed commercially, and in late April HT launched the first commercial NB-IoT network, i.e. a network specializing in the Internet of Things. The full potential of these investments will be realized by the arrival of 5G technology.
The Generation Next donation program kicked off with the education of more than 50 mentors for young STEM students throughout Croatia
The first in a series of mentor workshops called Start Smart with IoT launched the practical phase of this year's Generation Next donation program in Zagreb. Hrvatski Telekom uses this program to encourage young people and society to acquire new knowledge and carry out practical STEM projects.
The workshops are intended for more than 50 mentors of projects selected in July by the jury of the Generation Next program from the entries received from all over Croatia. Mentors gain a deeper insight into the use of Internet of Things technology (IoT) through the state-of-the-art Arduino educational platform. The platform will empower them to implement applied projects and provide structured education for young people who will be carrying out projects throughout this school year.
This year's Generation Next donation program looked for the best projects from two categories – Digital Innovation with IoT and Research Science Projects. In the Digital Innovation with IoT category, the jury selected 39 projects, which have a perspective of application in education, health, traffic, and the area of broader social responsibility. Five projects were selected in the Research Science category.
This year, Hrvatski Telekom donated HRK 900,000 within the Generation Next donation program to provide support for the development of projects based on the practical application of knowledge from the STEM area. Strengthening knowledge and skills from the STEM area is key to stimulating an innovative and smart society that can take full advantage of the existing technology.