Three Seas Business Forum – Digitalization Panel OVERVIEW

The Digitalization Panel at the Three Seas Business Forum united experts from the public cloud infrastructure, 5G network, satellite connectivity, and cross-border management.

Building a smart infrastructure is a key for economic growth and a major equalizer in the Global Economy for the 3Seas countries. This was the main topic of the panel “Digitalization”, which was held on Day 2 of the “Three Seas” Business Forum, held in Hall 8 of the National Palace of Culture on July 9th, 2021. The moderator and creator of the panel “Digitalization” is Petаr T. Ivanov, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, which is among the co-organizers of the Business Forum.

The 3Seas countries are facing the great opportunity to build a smart infrastructure in the Transport and Energy industries and not only. To achieve this, there must be an eco-system of vendors, application providers, public Cloud services operators, and supportive government regulations. Optical Infrastructure for high-speed connectivity should be combined with 5G infrastructure to connect to the million sensors that will be deployed.  There should be an adequate policy-maker in the face of the governments, who need to introduce legislation allowing access to public data and stimulating an innovative Eco-system.

Mr. Assen Vassilev, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria opened the panel by saying: “The Three Seas Forum can lead to a change in the field of digitalization at European level”.

According to him, all aspects of digitalization – from the creation of autonomous cars to the processes of digitalization in healthcare depends on the highly regulated environment dominated by well-established existing large companies that have written the regulations and that hinder the entry of start-ups.

Minister Vassilev emphasized that the countries of Eastern Europe face a unique chance to change the environment and to allow small companies that are in the digitalization field to develop and write new regulations.

“I am optimistic that with coordination and hard work we will use this unique opportunity that will bring us closer to the rest of Europe. This will allow us to create a new, favorable environment for innovative enterprises, through which we will impose new technologies faster and at a much more advantageous price”, Minister Vasilev added.

He also was part of the discussion session where he commented on the Digital Competitiveness and factors such as Knowledge, Technology and Future Readiness and where the 3Si countries have some gaps to fill.

Mr. Lorand Fulop, Deputy Secretary of State, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitalization of Romania was key-note speaker at the Digitalization panel. He outlined two important things about digitalization.

  • Take an action – taking the ideas we talk about here into realistic projects and implement them to have tangible results.
  • How we act – we need to invest time and resources in digitalization and education. And we need to join forces in this. We all agree that digitalization area can and will change the world we live in.  

Closing remarks were delivered by Ms. Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, European Commission: “The task ahead is huge and it needs a team, a committed team. This is why this Summit and this Business Forum are so important. This is how teams are created. Because we invest in the human infrastructure. And with this knowledge comes trust. I’m really happy to see how we encourage one another. We’ll make this region rise because the potential is there. Through events like this, the human infrastructure is being built. And then the trust is there.”

Digitalization Panel Discussion:

Ms. Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz, Vice-President, Sales PS, EMEA of Amazon Web Services said: “The 3Seas Investment Fund can help to boost the digitalization process by integrating digitalization into infrastructure and industry.”

Ms. Magdalena Dziewguc, Country Manager of Google Cloud stated: “In the next 5-10 years, we expect the old data centers to be closed and we have just opened the Warsaw region. But it is not only the region because Digitalization creates equal opportunity for everyone.

We provide the technology. The important thing is what you do with the technology. We see amazing ambition and good education in the region. We have the ambition to become the “cloud valley.”

According to Michal Potoczek, CEO of Operator Chmury Krajowej, Domestic Cloud Provider, Poland the important thing is to create discussions about focus – how to avoid regulation to focus on digitalization, to build the ecosystem for the new companies. He explained what digitalization is: “It’s process automation, using human resources in a better way, going to new markets, building new products. On the other side we have innovators. In between, we have a gap.

We need to close that gap and educate the market, while staying compliant with regulations and building new programs. This is the most important part.”

Mr. Raycho Raychev, CEO and Founder, EnduroSat said: “We should think hopefully these countries can upgrade and integrate this infrastructure together. To do so will require huge tasks in terms of logistics, in terms of legal, in terms of technology, in terms of general integration, money, of course, but more than anything else we need time. On top of that we need to have our own capability in place as a region.”

He also added that without a space pillar the future of integrated infrastructure and innovation looks like a mirage.

Mr. Artur Chmielewski, Head of Business Development, IS-Wireless pointed out that 5G is the fuel of digitalization. “My company produces 5G and we do have 5G Networks. But we are not doing this the way the big ones are doing because we are doing this according to Open standards.

Open standards means that our solution can run on any hardware. That means we are opening the ecosystem,” added Mr. Chmielewski.

Mr. Madis Sassiad, Board Member, GoSwift, and Chairman of ITS Estonia outlined the main aspects of their work: “We are passionate to automize everything. Our main goal is to automate all the procedures in Polish point as well. We are developing a kind of a new technology which is using natural radiation in order to scan everything.”

Mr. Razvan Atim, General Manager Eastern Europe of UIPath supported the opinion of the speakers before him about changes in the regulation and added: “Through automation we give a palpable picture of digitalization.

We need to transfer that into action and we need to patiently educate the market to use the benefits of technology.”

Мain topics in the discussion:

  • Digitalization of Infrastructure аcross the Sectors for the Industry 4.0
  • Public Cloud is Key Enabler for Smart Infrastructure Services
  • Access to Open Data is a Crucial Component for Infrastructure of Tomorrow

About the Three Seas Initiative

Bulgaria hosts the Three Seas Initiative in 2021. On July 8 -9, 2021, the Summit of the Presidents of the 3Si countries and the Three Seas Business Forum was held in Sofia.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria is a co-organizer of the Three Seas Business Forum, which is organized by the Ministry of Economy in partnership with the SME Support Agency and the Bulgarian Development Bank.

Main highlights from the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria participation in the Business Forum:

  • Panel “Digitalization” under the moderation of Petar T. Ivanov, CEO of AmCham Bulgaria.
  • Leading digital companies take part – global and regional. The topic of the panel is the creation of a connected digital eco-system based on data, public cloud, etc.
  • 3Seas Initiative Joint Support Declaration of the American Chambers of Commerce of the 3Si countries.
  • Guests of the forum were Ajsa Vodnik, CEO, AmCham Slovenia, and Vice President of the European Association of American Chambers of Commerce (AmChams in Europe) and Tony Housh, President, AmCham Poland
  • Energy Panel with the participation of Olivier Market, President, AmCham Bulgaria and moderated by Kostadin Sirleshtov, Managing Partner, CMS Sofia (member of AmCham Bulgaria)

Watch the full video of the Digitalization Panel from the 3Seas Business Forum, Sofia.

Find here main highlights from the AmCham Bulgaria participation in the Business Forum.