When our colleagues from Macedonia organized the first conference of broadcasting organizations and transmission equipment manufacturers 15 years ago, few people could imagine that the gathering would become a regular event and that it would see constant growth, both in terms of the number of represented countries and the range of content. The number of registered participants shows just how much interest there is for such meeting in the region and beyond.
145 participants from 12 countries - a record - have chosen to participate in this year’s conference. We also have 21 sponsors, whom I would like to thank at this time. Without their help, we would never have been able to organize a meeting with such an extensive program. A three-day symposium provides an excellent opportunity for participants to establish business contacts and learn about the latest developments and the evolution of broadcast technology.
In recent years, the field of broadcasting has seen significant changes around the world, as well as in our region. The digitalization of broadcast networks represents the most substantial technological development since the worldwide introduction of radio and television. However, this development doesn't just signify technological change; it also calls for a change in the mindset and the organizational structure of employees working for operators of radio and television networks. Among those who must adapt to the changes are content providers -- as well as audiences, whom these changes are designed to serve in the first place. Over the years, the habits of TV and radio consumption have changed substantially, and broadcasting organizations must find their place in a highly competitive world of broadcast technology.
While the digitalization of Europe’s television networks has been completed, DAB digital radio is gaining in prominence across Europe at an ever-increasing pace. In Slovenia, regular DAB transmissions began last September. Because of substantial interest in this technology throughout the region, we made DAB the main topic of this year’s conference.
In almost all countries of the region, analog television networks have been switched off in the past few years. We have quickly forgotten what analog pictures, with interference in the form of moving lines or snowy screens, once looked like. These days, our viewers can enjoy excellent picture quality and more channels than even before. In some areas, high-definition programming is also being broadcast. But the developments do not end there. We are already transmitting HbbTV, which is intended for young and middle-aged viewers, who no longer want a solely passive experience of television content. We feel that the time is right for us to have made Hbb Television the other main topic of our conference.
Even though our region represents a relatively small part of Europe, the ways of implementing new technologies vary widely. That's precisely why such conferences are so important; they enable us to exchange our views and our experiences, both of which help us to make important decisions. The quick pace of technological development poses new challenges and demands maximum versatility and continuous decision-making related to the adoption of new technology.
Our agenda includes a broader, European view of new digital technologies and a look at the specific experiences of several countries. Our speakers will present the problems and the dilemmas that occur when countries choose to adopt new technologies. In order to integrate these new technologies into the daily lives of our audiences, we also need the types of equipment that will be featured by the equipment makers in their presentations and in the exhibition area in the foyer. Here, you will be able to see and hear HbbTV and DAB in action.
I hope that our walk and our dinner on Ljubljana’s Castle Hill last night gave you a chance to feel our city's heartbeat. Tomorrow, we invite you on a trip to Planica, which is a world-famous ski jumping venue. I’m sure you will enjoy the spectacular nature of the area, and explore the Nordic Center, which is still a thrilling sight even though the landscape is no longer hidden under a blanket of snow.
I wish you success at our conference, and I hope that your new experiences and discoveries will be of lasting value to your work.
Director of Transmitters and Communications