Belarus has a long tradition in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and always has been in the centre of attention for foreign researches, universities and companies. Historically, the country was one of the most technologically advanced republics of the former Soviet Union, when 50% of the computers and computers' components were being produced in Belarus. Nowadays, the country's R&D organisations have technical infrastructures such as supercomputers and computer systems for different medical applications, as well as for space technologies, nanotechnologies, photonics etc.
At research level, there is a considerable collaboration potential between Belarus and EU ICT actors, mainly due to its well established educational system inherited from the Soviet times, the highly qualified human resource and the existence of considerable technical ICT infrastructures which are established in many Universities. The most prominent ICT areas of collaboration between Belarusian and EU research actors are:
- Supercomputing: During the past 10 years Belarus has became a major player in High Performance Parallel Architecture Computers. For example the "SKIF" clusters are the key elements in several Russian-Belarusian Union State Programme such as "SKIF", "COSMOS-SG", "TRIADA" and "SKIF-GRID".
- Grid technologies and Infrastructure: The long tradition of Belarusian universities in supercomputers has boosted the creation of GRID-infrastructures, which have been connected to the European GRID structure, enhancing the collaboration opportunities between the Belarusian and EU RTD organisations and institutions.
- Micro/nano electronics: Belarus is considered to be a strong player in micro/nanoelectronics. Moreover, the Belarusian government is paying a strong attention to the micro/nano- development and it has approved the state competitive programme of scientific research "Electronics" and "Photonics" for 2006-2010.
- Space/Space related technologies: Belarus is one of the few countries in the world whose specialists have been involved in the construction of space stations. The development of space and geo-information systems are strongly supported form the Belarusian government through the adoption of various programmes such as the National Space Programme (2008-2012).
- e-applications, such as e-health: Belarus has a long history in electronic health and the most remarkable ICT medical systems developed by the Belarusian ICT organisations are those for histological images analysis. These systems meet the international specifications and are already used in medical organisations in Belarus.
At business level, Belarus possesses a significant potential in the information technologies export, especially in the field of software development and ICT outsourcing. The country used to be the high tech zone of the Soviet Union, where technology was used to design products for both civil and military applications. The country's reputation for scientific and IT excellence is currently complemented by the competitive labour market that has attracted the interest of numerous IT-intensive companies. Additionally, the Belarusian government is interested in growing IT exports and thus some radical regulatory measures have already been taken that create a highly favourable climate for IT businesses in the country.
The main activities of the majority of the Belarusian IT companies are focused on:
- Bank Office Applications, e.g. applications for corporate Finance and Enterprise Resource Planning;
- Front Office Applications, e.g. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Management solutions;
- Electronic Commerce, e.g. applications for Web Services Development, Internet Security and Electronic Marketplaces;
- Networking and Communications, e.g. Applications for Wireless and WAN/LAN Technologies; and
- Software infrastructure, e.g. Database Management systems applications.
Finally, The ICT sector is also strongly supported through the development in 2005 of the High-Tech Park, an ICT incubator hosting 78 ICT companies. The Park was created to boost the competitive power of national high technology-based sectors, developing modern technologies as well as attracting foreign ones and expanding Belarusian exports in high-tech products and services. Its aim was to become a Belarusian "Silicon valley" starting from strengthening the position of the IT sphere, boosting exports of software and advance the e-society development in Belarus. Recently, the Park's activity is planned to be extended to other perspective modern industries: biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, green integrated technologies, etc. The private companies listed in the present guide are members of the Hi-Tech Park.