Kranj, April 20—The celebration of Iskratel’s 70th anniversary will host distinguished guests from 14 countries, including the Ambassadors Doku Gapurovich Zavgayev of the Russian Federation, Mykhailo F. Brodovych of Ukraine, and Oleg Ţulea of Moldova; the Slovenian Government will be represented by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Erjavec. The company’s history became the subject of a book and a museum exhibition.
The main celebration, marking Iskratel’s 70 years of operation, will be held on Friday, April 21, at Brdo Congress Centre. It will host a number of eminent foreign and local guests, including the Ambassadors Doku Gapurovich Zavgayev of the Russian Federation, Mykhailo F. Brodovych of Ukraine, and Oleg Ţulea of Moldova; the Slovenian Government will be represented by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Erjavec, who will also be one of the keynote speakers at the ceremony.
The foundations of today’s Iskratel were laid in 1947, when a team of experts from the predecessor of Iskra business system focused on developing products and services for telephony—merely traditional telephony at first. These beginnings represent the first steps in the development of Slovenian telecommunications. Over the course of its history, the company created a lasting legacy: from the cult ETA 80 telephone set designed by Davorin Savnik, which is now a part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Arts (MOMA) in New York and is one of the most copied products of modern design, to technologically advanced telephone exchanges, which provided the first modern communications in many countries around the world. Today, Iskratel is a comprehensive provider of infocommunications solutions, surpassing many larger and more robust systems in terms of development. An example of its cutting-edge solutions is the eCall: an automatic emergency-call service that triggers calls to 112 centres or other call centres in case of accidents or crashes. It automatically locates the crash site, and the dispatchers know where the rescue teams are, so the response times are much quicker, which significantly increases the chances to save human lives. It was thanks to Iskratel that Slovenia was the first country in Europe to implement this solution.
In its 70 years of operation, Iskratel went per aspera ad astra a number of times. It was not spared from adverse economic circumstances, political interests, crises in the key markets, or strategic changes introduced by the partners. However, the company’s employees and management always displayed an indomitable will for survival, striving to strengthen the brand, provide employee training, maintain in-house development, and offer its users comprehensive services.
Iskratel is a pioneering Slovenian telecommunications company; it was also the first company in the former Yugoslavia to establish a joint venture with a foreign partner—the German Siemens—in the late 1980s. This partnership lasted for almost 20 years, and both companies greatly benefited from it, gaining important advantages over the competition in global markets. In the middle of the past decade, Siemens decided to abandon telecommunications; soon afterwards, Gorenjska Banka also withdrew from the joint ownership. Today the majority of Iskratel’s shares is held by a company owned by its current and former employees.
Its clearly defined strategy, while maintaining telecommunications as the core of the operation, focuses on solutions and products for the energy sector, transport, and public safety. The company serves its customers on the challenge-to-solution principle, taking care of everything from manufacturing to implementation and integration.
Iskratel operates at a global level. It is actively present in 30 markets, covering a population of almost half a billion people. In the key countries, it has its own sales networks or operates through partner companies and its many representative offices. The entire group has 950 employees, 700 of them in Slovenia. Iskratel’s revenue amounted to 95.6 million euros last year, with 2.1 million euro operating profit and 7.2 million euros net profit. This year, it plans on retaining the same scope of revenue and creating 4.2 million euros in operating profit and 9.5 million euros in net profit.
Iskratel has always been a pillar of the high-technology industry not only in Kranj, but also in the wider Gorenjska Region and even the entire Slovenia. Moreover, it has always been a breeding ground for highly-qualified professionals. It is an important regional employer and a socially responsible company, which supports Slovenian sports, culture, science, and technological development efforts. Its newly founded startup investment fund of 5 million euros confirms the company’s awareness that the best results are achieved by combining experience, an elaborate business network and implementation opportunities with unencumbered new ideas and cutting-edge solutions.
On the occasion of the anniversary, Iskratel published a book celebrating its history and created a museum exhibition in the company’s entrance hall. At the ceremony on Friday, April 21, Iskratel will receive an anniversary award from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia in recognition of its achievements.