BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 30
By Sadraddin Aghjayev - Trend:
Trend News Agency presents an overview of the most important events in 2021 in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan.
FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (INDUSTRY 4.0)
With the creation of Industry 4.0 in Azerbaijan, the country's IT companies have received tremendous opportunities to increase their competitiveness, digital transformation, and the development of smart cities and rural projects.
In addition, the fourth industrial revolution in the last 10 years has turned from a fashion trend into one of the conditions for the survival of industrial enterprises.
In Azerbaijan, this was very quickly realized at the highest level, which resulted in the order of the head of state to create a Center for Commercialization and Technology Transfer, which will become a regional hub for the development of Industry 4.0.
In general, the active implementation of Industry 4.0 tools allows to achieve significant optimization of production chains and increase efficiency both at the level of individual enterprises and at the national level.
In addition, Kaspersky Lab announced its readiness to help Azerbaijani enterprises make the transition to Industry 4.0. Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway 100 (the first cyber-immune data gateway for the industry) is based on the Siemens SIMATIC IOT2040 hardware platform and runs under the control of KasperskyOS.
Using the universal protocol OPC UA, it directly collects data from industrial equipment and safely transfers it to the Siemens MindSphere cloud. Based on this data, it is possible to build reliable cloud analytics services that help improve production efficiency.
In addition, scientific research is being carried out in Azerbaijan in the field of information security, analysis, and synthesis of cyber-physical and cloud systems on the Industry 4.0 platform.
The problems of information security management of e-government are being studied, methods of ensuring information security in cloud and cyber-physical systems, technologies for intelligent monitoring of computer networks, as well as methods for intelligent analysis of computer incidents in the Internet environment are being developed.
CYBER SECURITY OF AZERBAIJAN
Measures taken by various structures of Azerbaijan to prevent cyber threats and threats related to information security have strengthened the country's position in the Global Cybersecurity Index. Thus, this year Azerbaijan has climbed 15 positions in the world cybersecurity rating and took 40th place among 194 countries.
It is worth noting that in this rating Azerbaijan is ahead of such countries as Switzerland (42), Tunisia (45), Ireland (46), Iran (54), Georgia (55), Iceland (58), Romania (62), Slovenia (67), Czech (68), Ukraine (78).
In addition, according to the Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab, Azerbaijan is very responsible for ensuring the continuity of production protection, realizing that the industrial and corporate segments need different approaches to ensuring cyber security. Such technologies are rapidly developing in Azerbaijan and it is extremely important to be aware of the risks here.
Along with this, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan pays great attention to preventing external cyber threats associated with both the COVID-419 pandemic and second Karabakh war in 2020, and the spread of Internet fraud in the world.
The regulator is taking preventive measures in order to increase the level of preparedness for cyberattacks against commercial banks operating in the country, and as part of these measures, work is being carried out to protect information resources and systems from possible attacks, as well as to timely prevent cases of cybercrime. The measures are aimed at ensuring the protection of the exploited information resources from possible threats, increasing the general level of training in cybersecurity, as well as ensuring information security in the exchange of data.
The innovative digitalization of the economy, the emergence of new generation technologies, the formation of new solutions, such as information and communication systems based on cloud technologies and blockchain, again actualize the importance of aspects of information and cybersecurity.
Azerbaijan carries out constant measures to ensure the continuity of activities in the financial and banking sector, to adequately respond to security incidents, as well as to create a control framework in this direction based on international standards. One of the measures implemented within the framework of the State Program for the Expansion of Digital Payments in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2018-2020, approved by the order of the head of state, was the strengthening of security requirements for the IT systems of banks.
A working group has been formed to prepare a regulatory framework in the field of IT security in Azerbaijani banks, international standards and approaches to this issue by leading central banks have been studied.
It is worth noting that in the field of cybersecurity, it is necessary to take into account both the protection of physical state information systems and the safety of the population using digital government services. Therefore, the e-government development center has developed and put into operation a project of a single authorization on government portals.
The protection of state systems is also ensured by the DATA-center created by AzInTelecom LLC under the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. In this center, various procedures for the physical security of information, network infrastructure and a number of other areas are applied in accordance with international standards. Special standards have been created for employees, which regulate their activities in a particular information area.
Also, a national system for the secure exchange of information between organizations, ASAN Bridge, has been developed, which allows the exchange of information between government agencies via a single gateway in an encrypted form, reducing the likelihood of third-party use of this data to zero.
Over the past two years, the cloud service in Azerbaijan has shown an incredible leap forward. These technologies have become actively used in the country's business environment. The main driver of accelerating the transition to "cloud" technologies has become COVID-19 pandemic, when enterprises were forced to optimize their costs and work remotely.
During the period of tightened quarantine measures, hundreds of local companies switched to "cloud" infrastructure. Most of the "cloud" services provided in the Azerbaijani market allow using them as much as you want and whenever you want.
In addition, the country has the ability to provide hourly payment for services, the ability to turn off the "cloud" service at night, on weekends and holidays, when the organization is not working, which helps to reduce the costs of the enterprise.
In addition, the trend of using digital cloud services in all areas is observed not only in Azerbaijan but also globally. The number of areas where digitalization is applied is growing rapidly, for example, the sectors of information technology, transport, tourism, oil and gas, utilities, communications, agriculture, education and healthcare.
In addition, the Center for Combating Computer Incidents (CERT) of Azerbaijan intends to continue the further development of the national antivirus software (SW) based on "cloud" technologies. These works, first of all, will be based on the analysis of behavioral data and "cloud" technologies.
During 2021, information systems and resources of about 40 state structures of Azerbaijan have already been placed in the Government Cloud (G-Cloud). In accordance with the plan, a gradual transition of information systems of state bodies to the G-Cloud began.
In 2022, it is planned to allocate nine million manats ($5.3 million) from the state budget for the transition to G-Cloud in Azerbaijan.
It is noted that until today, within the framework of the G-Cloud project, meetings have been held in Azerbaijan with representatives of a number of ministries and state agencies. The transition to G-Cloud is generally envisaged for 36 state structures of Azerbaijan.
ROBOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
In the field of development of robotics, Azerbaijan continued development in this area this year. Thus, private organizations in the country working in the field of robotics have established cooperation with companies from Canada, Korea, Germany, Japan and the UK under the Robotics Programming Simulator program. The Ministry of Communications of Azerbaijan closely cooperates in this direction with Microsoft Corporation, as well as with local private companies in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Azerbaijan has actively participated in the preparation of the legal framework for the application of AI, which is an innovation, and there are currently a number of gaps in its application. In the future, with the participation of Azerbaijan, it is planned to create the first Convention for the regulation of the application of artificial intelligence solutions.
This year, much attention was paid to the issue of introducing artificial intelligence into the public administration system. In April, an online conference was held in Azerbaijan on the introduction of artificial intelligence into the public administration system. Such innovations will be applied in Azerbaijan, and this process is irreversible.
Speaking about the areas where the use of artificial intelligence is most expedient, then we should first of all name education, medicine, finance, transport, certain segments of business administration (HR, legal services, accounting), and trade.
Already today, almost every user comes into contact with artificial intelligence on a daily basis, since many of the world's online services are actively introducing this technology. But a real breakthrough can be expected by 2028-2030, when, according to some forecasts, artificial intelligence will be able to approach the functionality of the human brain.
In addition, the Minsk IT IBA Group company is ready to introduce development based on artificial intelligence in Azerbaijan. The company believes that Azerbaijan is ready for the widespread introduction of artificial intelligence.
It is noted that Azerbaijan ranks 64th out of 194 in terms of AI use in the global Artificial Intelligence Index from Oxford Insights. This is higher than that of its neighbors: Georgia - 76th place, Armenia - 81st place.
Thus, as a result of the use of artificial intelligence, the accuracy of the analyzed information increases and the human factor is minimized. The introduction of the technology increases the number of sales and reduces the time for an audit of outlets due to relevant and timely statistics.
DEVELOPMENT OF MOBILE AND WEB-BANKING
Azerbaijani banks pay special attention to the development of mobile banking services. In digital transformation, Azerbaijani banks pay special attention to the development of mobile banking services in building remote bank-client relations. According to the report published in 2021 in Innovation in Local Payments During a Pandemic: Survival or Development, among 48 organizations in 40 countries of the world consider mobile solutions to be the most promising in terms of innovation.
Another aspect of expanding the use of mobile banking is the payment habits of the new generation, innovative services of international payment systems, the availability of an affordable means of payment and the widespread use of it.
In Azerbaijan, as in countries with developed financial systems, the use of mobile platforms in the banking system is inevitable. In addition, deepening the process of building digital platforms in mobile banking will ensure that products and services that meet customer needs are delivered through a single platform.
The wealth of digital services in the country is being ensured by redefining the chain of services provided by banks via mobile banking. This will have a direct impact on the expansion of the use of value-added services over mobile banking. Banks should be guided by the wishes and needs of the client. It is this factor that will ensure the improvement of users' digital payment habits by attracting a new segment of customers.
The focus is also on the application of advanced information technologies, including artificial intelligence, open banking technologies, which make it possible to deepen the platform, enrich the service chain, and provide products that meet the needs of customers in advance.
Banks are also focusing on measures to ensure the security of mobile banking services. As part of comprehensive security measures, monitoring and regular assessment of risks in mobile banking are carried out.
In this regard, a set of measures is being carried out, such as conducting intervention tests, using biometric identification methods when entering a mobile bank, requiring a one-time password when registering a payment card, informing bank customers about security requirements through various channels and other measures.
APPLE PAY AND PAYMENT INSTRUMENTS
The breakthrough event of 2021 was also the launch of the Apple Pay payment instrument in the country, which will lead to additional growth in non-cash payments in the country.
It is noted that today such banks as PASHA Bank, Kapital Bank, Unibank and Leobank, Bank Respublika, International Bank of Azerbaijan are connected to Apple Pay in the country. This payment instrument is available for both Visa and MasterCard cardholders.
However, payment solutions such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay and PayPal payment systems may be launched in Azerbaijan as early as next year.
According to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, the appearance of Apple Pay on the Azerbaijani market will accelerate the introduction of a similar solution from Google and Samsung in the country. The CBA has already sent relevant inquiries to these companies. The parties are conducting assessment work on these processes in Azerbaijan.