15th International Conference on Telecommunications, Informatics & Media
Digital Grecovery: The Data Highway!
Titled «Digital Grecovery: The Data Highway», the InfoCom World 2013 Conference (www.info-com.gr) will take place on October 30, 2013 at Divani Caravel Hotel.
This year’s conference coincides with the emphasis placed on the country’s efforts to return to growth in spite of the still lurking risks, while at the same time marks the 15th consecutive year of the institution.
InfoCom World is the largest event about digital technologies in South Eastern Europe attracting more than 3,500 delegates. It registers and successfully captures the course, but also the convergence of technology markets, IT, Telecommunications and Media in Greece, and every year provides an excellent opportunity for delegates and speakers to engage in an interactive dialogue on the future of those markets, through the common path of the digital data.
Greece marches -even with a “zigzag” path- towards the exit of the recession spiral, so there will be a need for a driving force, both in primary and secondary investments. This driving force will primarily come from Digital Technology, Telecommunications and Informatics, all of them sectors with high added value and high growth potential.
Beyond voice: Data only!
By consolidating networks, digital data is now undoubtedly the common denominator of the entire infrastructure. Every survey shows that the share of voice usage has now definitively supplanted data usage. Besides, in the new generation mobile technologies such as LTE, voice is considered just another data service, making the distinction between voice and data meaningless.
The huge volume of data to be routed between the network edge and central management node poses a challenge because it requires sophisticated technologies for proper management.
There are also some other important issues, regarding the storage, so that the required infrastructure, combined with the multiple technologies of distribution networks, is what has now been registered in the public consciousness as “cloud”.
In any case, data applications find their place in more and more aspects of our everyday life and create network layers that, although developed in parallel and independently, they can easily interact creating a “three-dimensional” digital environment (Machine to Machine, Smart Grids, Smart Cities etc).
Information & Communication Technologies offer quite important reasons to enterprises (also to big organizations, banks and even the public sector) in order to transform a big slice of their CapEx to OpEx, releasing precious resources, while on the same time let them acquire their customers in a more personal level.
In this session, infrastructure providers, technology and services, will present their proposals for a data-centric environment which is constantly expanding in response to dilemmas regarding both how to manage the volume of information, and the delicate balance between accessibility and security. Businesses now have plethora of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions to choose from, so they focus mainly on SLA and the most desirable mix between standardization and adaptability.
Infrastructure: How many networks? How many technologies?
Providers have been engaged in a growing struggle to find both economical and effective ways in order to give their users the coveted fast connection to the Internet.
On their way they are faced with financial, constructional, legal, regulatory, predictable and unforeseen obstacles that cause them to perform complex maneuvers between different technologies, implementations and business models, sometimes cooperatively, sometimes competitively.
As a consequence, the Gordian knot they have to solve is getting more and more complex. Should they adopt another alternative and groundbreaking approach? Both at European and national level, the idea of joint provision of network infrastructure is now starting to mature, restricting the competition at service level, only.
Although it sounds like a simple concept, the actual implementation of this initiative is quite close to be called chaotic, because of the need to merge existing networks, select the ideal mix of technologies and also locate the virtual and physical paths for matching optimal binding characteristics, with maximum economy of scale.
Representatives of manufacturers and network providers, as well as institutional stakeholders are invited to express their views on the future shape of the telecommunications environment and also describe their strategy on this issue.
Grecovery & Entrepreneurship: Business unusual
Nowadays, the customer – business relationship evolves dramatically. Competition intensifies, purchasing power is weak and any company has to evolve with an orientation to innovation and flexibility-factors in correct proportions can multiply the value-usually limited to initial investment. The same, however, concepts of innovation, flexibility and extroversion make it particularly difficult to find a model that guarantees success, since it must be implemented most of the time by managers who can hardly deny the business ‘rut’ of the pre-crisis era.
However, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed, in order valuable investment in effort and money to have prospects. The requirements are different and we all have to adapt to the «unusual business model», because under the present circumstances only the excess can ensure survival, outlook and growth. The bet is the transformation of these companies from small local businesses to global enterprises.
On the other hand the business environment of the country is far from being classified as “business friendly”, which makes the viability of a business endeavor even more difficult, and it also makes it almost prohibitive to create business plans because of the increased risk of investing.
Yet, despite the rigidities and inertia investment initiatives are emerging from various directions designed to reposition Greece on the map as an investment destination. The unequivocal geographical position of the country and its political role in the European Union, make it attractive to investors and the single regulator remains the country risk. Surely, a factor beyond businesses control, but within the range of the political leadership actions.
CEO Summit: Make or Break. The suspended step of the CEO
The challenges that continually unfold before today’s telecom operators are fundamental and oblige them to redefine their operational structures.
The CEOs are invited to manage the new data with almost zero margins for error, juggling on the tightrope of a volatile environment. The suspended step of the CEO or maybe not?
Some of them have seen the prospects offered by the particular environment, dared and supported the overall effort for the resurgence of the country. They will have a prominently seat in the panel!
At the same time, in this year’s Summit there are two important and quite specific questions that the leaders of telecommunications companies and the regulator will be asked to answer. These queries come from the European Commission itself and show that the transformation of providers is a pan-European issue.
The first is whether the relaxation of the existing regulatory framework across the main provider can be used as a springboard to re-launch investments. The second is if a common infrastructure provider can achieve economies of scale in order to release funds that could be launched to create and promote innovative and competitive services.
Omni TV. The next day of TV!!!
While still being the “queen” of home entertainment, Greek TV is nevertheless almost 50 years old. Still based on the same models since its birth time, it is now forced to weather the ultimate shock of a radical renewal imposed by technological developments, digital switchover and fierce competition in content, over the next 1-2 years.
The reason is quite simple: TV screens have fully embraced the idea of convergence, by responding to the need for “all in one”, while –on the other hand- the viewer becomes an increasingly demanding global «connected consumer» that easily handles his tablet, laptop and mobile devices much better than the TV remote control.
In the same time, Apple TV or iTV heralds the great project on the future of television and market leaders -namely Sony, LG, Samsung and Sharp- are ready to build ‘active screens’ and meet the challenge of multiple monitors.
The debate now revolves around the future of television advertising and the claims of TV station owners for some kind of refund, in case it will be technically possible for the viewer, to override TV spots.
It is now obvious that, despite the delay noted on digital transition, along with the crisis that has hit the television market, the “next day of television has come!”
New technologies and proposals (a la carte viewing , video on demand) which introduce platforms for pay TV, the pressing requirement by Commission for analog to digital switch, the mutation of public television and changing positions on the market, require immediate lifting at all stages.
Is it possible for Greece to win this bet and place itself in the first or at least the second line of countries going digital?
Is Greek TV market able to withstand a round of mergers and acquisitions? Maybe digital technology will provide the proper solution.
Could the major broadcasters coexist, in order to overcome financial pitfalls and prove that they have achieved sustainability?
Will digital switchover guide the key players towards the “separation” of television products, such as premium add-free chargeable content or common free content with advertisement?
How the viewer who has been “educated” to enjoy free content will revert to a “pay as you see” model?
Finally, will media shops and advertisers reallocate their campaigns to alternative channels?
Change Makers: Startup & Innovation. There’s another Greece!
The change is coming: Innovation is a Greek word!
In this section our aim is to prove that where fresh ideas meet people ready to act in order to fulfill their dreams, then this is the place innovation is born. Ignoring Greek unstable business environment, entrepreneurs create and grow without borders! The startups have now become Mainstream!
Or, maybe not? Are there companies out there that can make a difference? Are Greeks ready to present innovative ideas and businesses? Are there entrepreneurs, who not only work, but they share, listen, recognize, earn? Will they continue to invest in the country and its people?
As we look abroad and hope for the future of this country, startupers with passports full of stamps talk about the obstacles they have faced and the ways they found to beat them.
Furthermore, experts from different fields (business consultants, social media experts, lawyers, etc.) will offer tips based on their vast experience and propose guidelines for those wishing to do business in Greece and abroad, create their own companies, seek funding and strengthen extroversion.
Social + Cloud = Small Business – Great Capabilities!
Since its initial appearance, cloud computing was rapidly adopted by small and medium enterprises wishing to gain a comparative advantage.
The reason is that cloud allowed them to compete in equal terms against much larger companies, relieving them from the need of unbearable initial capital investment costs compared to company size. Thanks to the “soft infrastructure” they can operate now even under low levels of cash flow.
This is the case for 750,000 small and medium-sized enterprises representing more than 90 % of Greek businesses and cumulatively about 60 % of GDP. About 30% of SMEs have an extrovert orientation and over half of them use the internet as a unique channel to promote their activities.
This means they have considerable development prospects, by adopting modern technological tools targeting the internet. They can efficiently achieve higher goals by implementing operating models based on cloud computing and promotional tools embedded in popular social networks.
For one more year, the 15th InfoCom World will host companies and organizations that offer tools and solutions, which may give the necessary impetus to SMEs activities through the cloud and social networking. Besides, many entrepreneurs originating from the ‘old economy’ era are faced with the imperative of “transforming” their businesses in order to survive in the “new economy” era.
Last but not least, some of the most successful business case studies will be presented by the people who are running them and make them stand out, in a networked business environment.
Think Big: ICT 4 Big Players!
When it all started, large companies and organizations were skeptical about the model of cloud computing, especially when it comes to hosting critical applications and data. However, this attitude has now changed.
Software providers with global influence are nowadays developing new versions of their applications for exclusive use in cloud environment, which shows the mutual intention by providers and customers to meet each other in open horizons.
The cloud is proving to be the most cost effective method to lift the huge burden of storage and management of the gigantic amount of data these companies produce and process.
The cloud continues to grow and ripen. For sure, hosting and collocation are significant steps towards the detachment of companies from costly equipment. But, the cloud in full deployment must provide Software as a Service and critical applications hosting. The next, and even more advanced step, is managed services. Are CIOs feeling really safe to take these steps?
SLA, Security, virtualization, managed services, are words that oblige any organization with critical applications to require -and demand- assurances for the integrity and security of their data as well as the uninterrupted operation of applications.
Hesitation and fears still exist. But how much are they justified? Are CIOs and CTOs sufficiently informed and willing to try a genuine transition to the cloud?
The cloud providers proclaim that existing technology is well beyond any in-house solution, while the economies of scale achieved keep the costs low.
The days when the cloud was a tool suited only for small businesses willing to take some risks, have passed for good. Cloud computing is not “cloudy” anymore – it is now stronger than ever, fully capable to support even giants…
During this meeting, which is an integral part of 15th Infocom Word, all concerns, solutions and suggestions will be discussed in a lively and open dialogue between members of the IT community, who will be called to submit their views in this innovative brainstorming.
InfoCom Academy – Workshops
During the InfoCom conference there will be a full range of hourly educational workshops on specialized topics so that participants get to know in depth the issues they interest them.
Along with free workshops, this year we‘re launching totally customized solutions in the InfoCom Academy. The detailed program and speakers will be published on the Infocom World site, soon.