ERNESTO KRUGER

Ecuador 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

The local entrepreneurial landscape has grown thanks to increasing data usage and IP expansion, but to truly harness the digital revolution, Ecuador must adapt new technologies faster.

Ernesto Kruger
BIOGRAPHY

Ernesto Kruger is CEO of Kruger Corporation.

What advancements have marked the IT ecosystem in Ecuador in recent years?

Over the last five years, the telecommunications area has been growing significantly in Ecuador. The network has improved, and now we talk about a country covered by fiber optics being the second country in Latin America in terms of internet speed. The number of people with internet access has increased, and this ecosystem has helped digital businesses flourish. E-commerce has become an important tool, while data use and IP have expanded. The entrepreneurial landscape has grown tremendously due to these changes. In fact, in 2014, Kruger founded KrugerLabs, a digital accelerator dedicated to the entrepreneurial community in Ecuador. Today, with all these components together, the country has great potential to grow in the digital arena.

How are Ecuadorian firms of all sizes making use of technology to gain competitiveness internationally?

Industries are putting in efforts to maintain competitiveness standards and compete with international counterparts. Ecuador and its business sectors need to fully embark on the fourth industrial revolution through the adoption of exponential technologies including AI, blockchain, and drones. The adaptation of these technologies is relatively slow in the country and the region, though it is important to embrace them quickly in order to compete worldwide. Ecuador at this moment is aware of all the changes happening with regard to technology, and there is willingness to implement them; however, steps need to be taken faster so that Ecuador becomes an early adopter. There are national industries that are more advanced, such as agriculture. Blockchain and drones are being used to make operations more efficient. For example, AI is being used to determine that when shrimps, one of our largely exported products, make noises, they are hungry; however, two sectors, mining and energy, have yet to see further penetration of technology in line with global trends.

To what extent can the country be used to test new technologies?

Given the existing technological community in the country, Ecuador is well-positioned to test initiatives that can be applied in other markets. The app Waze is an example, which was first tested in Ecuador. Google then acquired Waze for USD1 billion to make it global. There is also an insurance company that first tested its products in Ecuador and then exported them to Mexico. The country has certain features such as different levels of social layers, excellent connectivity, and an optimal population size that make it an interesting test market.

What are your main goals for Kruger Corporation for the year ahead?

We are in the process of expanding our presence in Latin America, while keeping our presence strong in Ecuador. The country has a huge potential to grow and consolidate a market-friendly economy that can be truly competitive abroad. The country has a great perspective for 2020. There are elections coming, but the important thing is that the state has to be led by technocrats and ideology should stay out of debates.