A regional conference on trends in telecommunications and media – DIGITAL 2023 – was held for the tenth time
The event was supported by the following conference partners – Telekom Srbija, Yettel, SBB, Star Channel, Orion Telekom, Direct Media United Solutions, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Vision Partners, and Lavazza.
Tomislav Žigmanov, Serbian Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, officially opened the conference.
“Following the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, as well as international documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, freedom of speech is guaranteed to every individual, while it must also be harmonized with personal rights, such as, among others, the right to life and human integrity, human dignity and protection from hate speech. Therefore, threats, insults, and incitement to violence cannot be justified by freedom of speech and expression. Hate speech itself, which includes the use of words that discriminate and label certain vulnerable groups in society, does not contribute to the debate in a democratic society but, on the contrary, limits freedom of expression and encourages hatred, aggression, and hostility and creates an unsafe environment for members of sensitive groups,“ Žigmanov stated.
Next to address the conference participants was H.E. Edward Ferguson, the new British ambassador to Serbia, who said that the British digital ecosystem was a crucial part of the prosperity of Great Britain and that the British market was the third-largest digital market in the world. Also, as they represent a digital nation, British diplomats are expected to be digitally literate themselves.
“We also try to support projects here in the region that will improve the digitization of public services in order to expedite processes and make people’s lives easier. Cooperation with businesses is also very important to us, and we are trying to develop new economic ties that are mostly related to the ICT sector,” said Mr Ferguson.
“We are witnessing tectonic shifts in the development of digital technologies, attempts to rein in and steer their development in the direction in which they will serve humanity as much as possible, while having as few negative consequences as possible for society, not only when it comes to equality, but in general, for the entire social fabric and cohesion. That is why all of us, both administrative bodies and independent institutions, the private sector and the academic community, as well as the civil sector, have to ensure that this figurative fire that has been lit is a catalyst for social progress and well-being, and not a destructive element that will destroy the fragile fabric of our societies”, said Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.
The traditional annual meeting of the region’s telecommunication leaders took place during the first panel discussion at the conference with the participation of Vladimir Lučić, CEO of Telekom Serbia, Mike Michel, CEO of Yettel Serbia, Dejan Turk, CEO of A1 Serbia and A1 Slovenia, Borislav Tadić, CPO and member of the board of directors of 1&1 Versatel and Slobodan Djinović, CEO of Orion Telekom. The panel moderator was Dejan Ljuština, CEO and Managing Partner of Vision Partners.
Vladimir Lučić, CEO of Telekom Serbia, spoke about several successful projects that Telekom implemented in the previous period, especially related to the automation of services, as well as about very important future plans where a major focus will be on the introduction of a 5G network for which there is already an optical network in place and all that needs to be done is obtain a license so that 5G network can reach the end users as soon as possible.
Mike Michel, CEO of Yettel Serbia, pointed out that there was no time to lose and that Yettel has been listening intently to the market to further improve its own services and, simultaneously, boost the new brand under which they operate. Monetization and marketing activities will be in the company’s focus in the coming period for this year.
Slobodan Djinović, CEO of Orion Telekom, pointed out that Orion can offer clients a 10gbt network and that the company’s goal was to reach clients for whom price is not the main parameter in decision-making. The company is continuing with the implementation of the green agenda, with one solar power plant having already been built and more planned.
Artificial intelligence and Chat GPT are picking up pace in Serbia
The Pioneers of Digital Transformation was the title of the second panel discussion with Branko Dangubić, owner and director of GameS, Ivan Tanasković, executive director of the eCommerce Association of Serbia, Miloš Aleksić, Head of Market Impact at KupujemProdajem, and Djordje Djuričić, senior product manager and United Cloud, as the participants. The panel was moderated by Marija Matić, Strategy & Clients Director of Direct Media.
Digital transformation is a long and continuous process because it grows as the appetites of end users grow, and all companies are governed by the market’s wishes and demands. E-commerce is progressively maturing in the market as the purchasing power of Generation Z, which mostly uses electronic shopping services, is growing. The panelists agreed that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Serbia and its digital transformation.
“Content is king, but distribution is queen” was the title of a case study prepared for the #Digital2023 audience by Aleksandra Martinović, director of the Multimedia Directorate at Telekom Serbia.
“Local and regional players are the ones who preserve the essential content of our lives, our history, humour, our visions, upbringing, the way we were raised, slang, subculture, and culture. These crucial and sophisticated “settings” give a comparative advantage over all major studies. And that’s why domestic films are always the most popular among cinema-goers, and SUPERSTAR TV is the most-watched cable channel. It’s because we give ourselves, what we feel, understand and often identify with”, concluded Ms Martinović.
After that, the conference participants had the opportunity to hear how the Novi Sad-Belgrade high-speed railway changed these two cities’ business and life paradigms in just one year and what it taught us. Danijela Gašparac, Head Of Market Research – CEO Advisor at Telekom Srbija / Marketing and Communication Consultant for the Railway Sector at MCTI/Srbija Voz, and Robert Čoban, CEO of Color Press Group, spoke about this topic in a conversation titled “On the wings of the Falcon”.
“We are very proud that this train came to life because it was a smart and environmentally friendly decision,” said Ms Gašparac.
The train successfully demonstrates how near Belgrade and Novi Sad really are, she said, and how that should be fully utilized, particularly when it comes to various content and activities that one of these cities can offer, such as the EXIT Festival. Although the Srbija Voz Company has achieved a lot, it still has big operational and development plans.
The third panel discussion, titled “Chat GPT vs. Chat With Me – How to avoid losing our own to artificial intelligence,” had the following participants – Slobodan Marković, digital technologies advisor at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia, Professor Oliver Tošković, PhD, from the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Philosophy, Nikola Ivančević, tech visor at TechNexus Solutions and Ivan Ćosić, owner of the Plain&Hill Agency. Vesna Čarknajev, CEO of PC Press, was the panel moderator.
“We are witnessing tectonic shifts in digital technology development.” – Brankica Janković
“The Future of Political Talk in the Era of TikTok – How to keep the audience’s attention with important topics in the century dominated by consumerism and apoliticism” was the fourth panel discussion with the participants Maja Nikolić from Nova S, Jovana Vukojević, journalist, editor, author of the show “Day by Day,” Žaklina Tatalović from N1, Filip Švarm from Vreme weekly, Slobodan Georgiev from Nova S and Zoran Ostojić from Tanjug TV. It was moderated by Ana Novaković from N1.
“Reality Check: What the Serbian media and marketing market looks like in 2023” was another individual presentation at the conference where Predrag Kurčubić, Director General of IPSOS Serbia, gave a phenomenal lecture and numerically explained what our market looks like.
Digital trends in the UK were a topic that Lazar Vuković, from London-based Wolf Entertainment, spoke about and knew very well. He was happy to share his knowledge and experience with the conference visitors.
“How to Survive Survivor” was the title of the fifth panel discussion, which gathered the heroes, presenters, and producers of the most popular regional competition-entertainment programme in Belgrade. The participants were Bojana Kesić, executive producer of Nova TV and producer of the Survivor series, Bojan Perić, presenter, Amer Džekman, Survivor competitor from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marina Pivalica, Survivor competitor from Croatia, Anja Andrejić, Survivor competitor from Serbia, Bojan Djumić, another Survivor competitor from Serbia and Darko Pauničić, director and creative producer of Survivor. It was moderated by Zorica Radulović from Telegraf.rs.
The last, sixth panel was “The House of Twitter – How our politicians, state officials, and the NGO sector are using social media,” twenty years after Mark Zuckerberg ushered us into a new era. The panel participants were Nina Mitić from the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue and MPs Vladimir Djukanović, Boško Obradović, Nataša Dragojlović and Snežana Paunović. The moderator was Dragan Močević from Prime Communications, Banja Luka.
The tenth jubilee Digital Conference ended with the ceremony at which Digital Awards were given away to 20 companies and individuals.