A brave digital world: Challenge Unlimited!
November 29, 2016 | Nicosia Hilton Hotel
Following Cyprus exit from memorandum and as the consequences of the 3-year economic crisis are being left behind, it is more than clear that growth is a one-way street for the country. And there is no doubt that digital technology may and should play the role of catalyst in all that! A brave, new digital world rises in the horizon, laden with challenges, opportunities and new potential.
Digital technologies are the essential tool for the successful confrontation with the new socio-economic challenges that Cyprus is faced with that influence her way to growth, i.e. digital and economic integration – increase in productivity – increase of employment – reinforcement of national coherence through access to vital social, health, education, safety and governance services.
Obviously, this is not just a theoretical assertion; it is a fact, also being proven by the parallel course of digital and economic growth indicators. The time lag recorded in the integration of digital technologies in the social and employment level, both in private and public sector, is not only due to missing infrastructure but also to the lack of a national digital strategy implementation. This path passes through the effort of supporting digital skills, which will help the employees’ transition to the new digital environment; new jobs filled in this way will return the investment to knowledge and infrastructure with a high coefficient!
During the 8th InfoCom Cyprus Conference, we will talk about the tight relations connecting infrastructure, services and digital skills as well as their adoption, which will bring growth to the country and add value to all kinds of financial activities.
1st Session – Networks: Future Ready?
Cyprus is a characteristic example of a country where ICT infrastructure and adoption of digital technologies are moving in a parallel course but not with same speed. While, in most countries, there is a lack of telecom infrastructure as well as of digital services, Cyprus boasts of a high percentage in broadband coverage, well above the European standards!
Contrary to the common rule, we are witnessing here a strange phenomenon: use of broadband services is still at an unusually low level, quite opposite to the infrastructure penetration. Reasons for that are many: Most important may be the cost of use, but there is also urgent need for further training and improvement of the human resources’ digital skills.
At the same time, the road towards the decrease of access cost passes through the redesign of telecommunications infrastructure, in order to secure a lower operational cost along with higher data transmission speed, which are essential for the demanding digital services, today and in the future.
This need has been already expressed as one of the targets of Digital Agenda 2020, showing the way to service and infrastructure providers, and also to device manufacturers which are constantly looking for the ideal mixture of cost to returns that will make use more affordable and help create the critical mass needed for the establishment of economies of scale.
2nd Session – Digital Transformation for Business & Citizens
The fact that Cypriot enterprises lag behind on new technologies adoption greatly influences their competitiveness and restricts their capability to innovate. If all involved parties –the State, enterprises themselves and the citizens- helped change this parameter, the multiple benefits resulting from this self-feeding equation, could be really impressive.
Yet, many are wondering if Cyprus could really make its own digital transformation, pointing out that it is merely a small regional market. The answer to this question could be that especially small regional markets should be the first to transform and rip the benefits of digital extroversion, which brings them closer to the center of evolution. Digital technologies and skills may prove the proper platforms on which citizens will lay the foundations of growth, ignoring natural or national frontiers.
On the issue of digital transformation, there is –for example- the Estonia paradigm. Yet, due to its geographical position as a data hub, Cyprus has many more competitive advantages and could get multiple benefits if it would transform itself to a digital nation.
On the implementation level, even if cloud computing has already actually proved to be a really important factor for the reduction of a company’s costs, as well as a platform that promotes entrepreneurial activities in many new ways, there is still a gap to bridge between theory and practice. What are our real needs? What is the cost to return relationship and how can I control the implementation, according to the size of the enterprise? What a given enterprise wants and what can the provider offer? Cloud on demand or cloud as a service? These questions are common enough among enterprises and organizations, on a daily basis, but the answers are not always clear, mainly regarding the possibility to achieve the best possible combination of three different factors: cost, output and flexibility.
In this session we will also point out the new opportunities from the adoption of digital technologies in existing markets, focusing mainly to e-business and social media, along with those from emerging technologies (Internet of Things, Wearables, Virtual Reality, Big Data). Tourism, services, health, agriculture and energy are some typical sectors where Cyprus could make progress and support innovative products.
On e-government issues, the State could also upgrade services offered to citizens, minimizing bureaucracy and gradually abolishing all physical transaction. The implementation of this solution could result in an immense reduction of operational costs for the whole of the state mechanism, while the interconnection of records and registers would have a direct positive impact to the citizens’ daily life.
3rd Session – Leader’s summit: Changing Together!
The global economic crisis has singled-out in a most emphatic way the adoption of digital technologies as the means for growth and the effective operation at first of the enterprises themselves, then of the economy as a whole. However, new investments are of paramount importance for growth and these are hard to find nowadays, because of the lack of resources on the part of the would-be investors.
Constantly changing policies, because of the economic crisis, are still an imponderable factor which increases the risk of new investments. That’s why two important priorities in the strategic plans of investors are –on one hand- the establishment of a stable and secure environment for them, and –on the other- the protection and improvement of competition terms, specifically regarding telecommunications organizations.
So, what are the providers’ choices in order to secure a yield from their investments? What are the directions emanating from the national strategy? What is the regulator’s position regarding the expansion and exploitation of optical fibre networks and what is the future of traditional copper infrastructure?
The leading figures in Cyprus telecom market will discuss their plans and strategies, while taking into account the various influences and effects of different factors in technology, economy and government, the same that are shaping a new power balance and inter-depended relationships, in the framework of Digital Agenda 2020!