It’s the fourth time when Mediasat is a mediapartner of Telco Trends conference which is traditionally held in Latvia. It has been nice experience to follow the growth and development of Telco Trends. Every year there were more guests from different countries and now we should admit that it is an amazing event of a high level for telecom professionals from Europe and CIS countries. Diana Volodkevica, CEO of Elite Union, tells us how they have managed to create such an event.
Diana, tell us how did the idea of Telco Trends appeared. How and when it came to life? How your working experience in the telecom company was useful? Why the venue was chosen Jurmala?
– The idea of the International Telecommunications Conference in the Baltic States as the event bringing together market participants was born 6 years ago. At that time there was nothing of the kind – the industry’s problems were mostly discussed in closed sessions of the ministries and professional associations. At that time I was the director of marketing and sales of the largest Latvian telecommunications operator. My colleagues and I regularly attended international trade shows and conferences, including “The Days of Cable Television in Ukraine” and regretted that there is no such an event in the Baltic States, allowing communicating with colleagues in an informal and comfortable atmosphere. In 2011, the patriarch of the telecommunications industry in Latvia Mr. Peteris Shmidre (the President of the Latvian Telecommunications Association) supported my idea, and we have organized the first event. In 2013, the Lithuanian Cable Television Association, Latvian Association of Electronic Communications joined Telco Trends as co-organizers, as well as we were supported by the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Latvia. So, we started as the International Telecommunications Conference Telco Trends.
Today Telco Trends is the only telecommunications event in the European Union, which is equally attended by representatives from both the EU and the CIS. The geographical location of Latvia played its role, which is a bridge between East and West, as well as the fact that we are able to keep the balance and find topics that are of interest to all operators, regardless of region. Guests from the CIS come to learn firsthand about the new game rules in the European market. This is especially true for the Eastern Partnership countries, which heading for rapprochement with the European Union and are intend to adopt specific European legislation. We have taken care of convenient communication – there are two working languages, Russian and English simultaneously at Telco Trends.
Why the venue of Telco was chosen Jurmala? Because this is the best place with comfortable conference centres, beautiful nature and great charm. This year’s conference and exhibition Telco Trends takes place in the best hotel in Jurmala Baltic Beach – directly on the shore of the Gulf of Riga.
– Surely you summed up subtotals and compared the results. How the number of visitors and participants increased? From which countries they came before and now?
– Awareness and popularity of the event grows every year: our partners are industry associations and core publications specialized in EU and CIS. If our first meetings gathered no more than 100 people, but now we are planning to take more than 400 guests. They are representatives of leading operators, TV channels, distribution companies; companies providing services in the field of hardware and software, content manufacturers and providers, marketing agencies, companies involved in the protection of copyright and licensing, media representatives.
Its geography includes more than 30 countries of the world: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Sweden, the UK, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Israel, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries.
– The topics of discussions and their range have significantly changed for 4 years, during which Mediasat is a media partner of Telco Trends. Tell us about how do you approach the selection of the issues discussed and speakers?
– In addition to Telco Trends, I still have a number of projects, including those related to telecommunications and start-ups. So we are not passive onlookers, but active market participants aware of the legislative metamorphosis and issues relevant to the operators. That is why we keep abreast of and choose the most interesting and hot topics. For example, last year one of the sections was devoted to high-tech start-ups and opportunities to attract European investments, as well as the development of mobile content. This year, taking into account the interest of the operators, we will raise the theme of electronic payments which is new for the conference: we will speak about the ability to quickly, inexpensively and safely conduct transactions and get money from customers. We have invited an authoritative speaker – the President of the Russian Association “Electronic Money” Viktor Dostov.
I want to highlight that there is an office of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications BEREC in Riga and representatives of regulatory authorities, telling about the planned initiatives of Brussels will necessarily speak at Telco Trends. The largest operators and industry association executives will comment on how innovations impact their business: because the path to the single digital market, on which Europe has stepped, is not easy – what is the benefit to the consumer is not always the best solution for the operator.
– Equally and perhaps more important is the informal part of the conference. How leisure of guests is organized, an opportunity to talk out of records?
– Participation at Telco Trends is a combination of useful and enjoyable: during the day is work and in the evening – great rest. In the evening, the general partner, the company SES invites on the traditional cocktail party on the first day of the conference. The favourite restaurant of guests “36 Line” located on the shore of the Gulf of Riga of the Baltic Sea once again is ready to meet the elite of the international telecom industry. I sincerely believe that the status “SES – The Best Party of the Year” in social networks will be granted to our general partner this year. The informal part of the second day is funny beach tournament for the Cup of Telco Trends and BBQ party from the conference partner – broadcasting company “STREAM”, TV channel “Hunting and Fishing”. At the conclusion of the conference, on August 19 is scheduled a guest-night with vivid show program for the participants of “TELCO TRENDS 2016” and handing over of certificates to the conference Partners.
– How many people are involved in organizing the event? Do you involve outsourcing?
– Organization of Telco Trends rests on 3 beautiful and very professional girls. Of course, we cannot do without outsourcing – designers, layout men, simultaneous interpreters, presenters, photographers, cameramen, etc.
– What will be Telco Trends 2016? For the participants, what is going to be interesting and new?
– I have already said one of the novelties is the topic of electronic money: this is a very topical issue for operators and providers. Another sensitive issue: the fight against piracy resources. In the panel discussion, market participants will discuss effective tools to combat illegal immigrants, as well as find out what new regulations are being developed in Brussels.
Hot debates are expected at the Forum of Broadcasting Organizations. The complicated geopolitical situation and information wars hurt sounding the business. TV has appeared on the front line: channels are switched off, the hard political decisions are made. How all this affects the business of operators and what’s next? After all, modern technologies are not standing still: all restrictions are easy to get around by connecting to the desired content via the Internet. The debate will be attended by government institutions and representatives of the operators.
Traditionally, we will tell about the technical updates and content novelties – representatives of SES, Astro Strobel, BKtel, Telia, Levira, the television company STREAM, TV channel History and others are among the speakers. Delegates of the conference will see the presentations of experts of the consulting and research agencies – J’son & Partners Consulting, TNS, KPMG. As usual, an exhibition will be held parallel to the conference.
In other words, Telco Trends 2016 with its working program will be interesting, rich, and to be truly believed, fruitful for the participants; informal part of the conference will be exciting, as always organized at a high level and will give lots of positive due to great relaxing and communicating.
See you in Jurmala!