” E-content in Romaina is still not so well defined”

How would you define the meaning of e-Content in Romania?

E-content in Romania is still not so well defined. But one accepted version is e-content as information carried into devices — new media, CD-ROMs, DVDs, communication devices, Internet, palms, information kiosks, and so on

“As for the results of the Romanian e-Content Award, we can appreciate that e-culture is best developed in Romania”

What’s the status of e-content in Romania?

E-content is also technologically dependent. As technology evolves, e-content enriches itself. For instance, streaming techniques improved the quality of content, as movies on the Internet.

Which area of e-content (e-health, e-biz, e-culture, e-government, e-entertainment, e-learning, e-science, and e-inclusion) is best developed in Romania?

As for the results of the Romanian e-Content Award, we can appreciate that e-culture is best developed in Romania, followed by e-Entertainment and e-Business.

Which sector (business, private sector, government or civil society) in Romania is advanced in developing e-content?

I believe that the most aggressive sector is the private one, but since this segment is not profitable, a significant role is played still by business.

What major initiatives have influenced the development of e-content in Romania?

The admission into the European structures in 2007 is an important factor which accelerated the process of e-content development in order to respond to European standards in this segment. It is by far the most important factor of stimulating e-content development. It is very important to record the national heritage as it stands and later track down changes after admission into European structures. Losing identity is a peril everyone faces when confronted with standardized structures like Europe.

What are the major bottlenecks in the path of e-content development in Romania?

The major bottleneck is still the lack of IT instruments in a country which has made significant progress in the field but has still a lot to do. Also the fact that still, approximately 46% of the country’s population is involved with agriculture. This is a major deterrent.

In most countries, especially developing, e-content development is significantly dependent on ICT infrastructure and ICT facilities. But, in some, ICT has become pervasive and e-content development is primarily subjected to the initiatives of an individual/organization/government, etc. What is the situation in Romania?

Yes, e-content development is still dependent on ICT infrastructure, as I have stated before.

How would you describe the ICT scenario in your country in terms of infrastructure, penetration, and policies?

The Romanian ITC market and industry can be broadly said to include hardware, telephony, Internet, software and communications. Fourteen years after the changes in Romania’s political status, the ITC sector reports a significant increase in competition, and diversification of products and services.

The overall ITC Romanian domestic market in 2004 was estimated by EITO (European IT Observatory) at 3,7 billions Euro and is expected to increase to 4 billion in 2005. The total IT market is valued at 870 million Euros while the Telecommunications market represent 3.160 million Euro.

The Romanian domestic market has grown steadily over the past five years and is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 23-25% annually in the near future, greatly exceeding the rate of growth of the national GDP.

The software and services sector is an almost Euro 1 billion industry, which grew by 30% in 2004 and is expected to continue at about the same rate in the near future. Romania offers a wide range of IT products whose potential has begun to be noticed by the world market. Currently, Romanian IT professionals are known for their ability to deliver quality off shore programming at a price that is competitive in the world market.

The Romanian IT/Software domestic market can be expected to expand due to increasing investments in the telecommunications infrastructure, IT spending in the government and public sectors, and the deployment of IT solutions in the SME sector to improve competitiveness. Additionally, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has several development programs that should make an impact.

While spending on information technology has grown remarkably over the last decade, both the relationship of IT expenditures to GDP and per-capita IT spending reveal that expenditures are still considerably lower than the average in Western Europe

The government of Romania has given high priority to the IT industry. It has offered incentives to companies in the industry that employ highly specialized IT employees. Additionally the industry has almost been fully privatized. The government has also allowed technical experts in the field to shape its IT sector development policy. Finally, there are numerous highly trained IT professionals who have prominent positions in the government and in professional associations and who are able to craft coherent effective policies.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCTI) has authority for developing the government’s strategic policy for the IT sector. It also develops strategy for using IT in the government and private sectors. MCTI is focused on the creation of a knowledge-based economy launching privatization, deregulation and development in the IT sector.

“Interactive TV can be a medium for e-content development

In its pursuit to gain full membership in the EU by 2007, Romania has set out to harmonize its laws with European Union legislation and regulations. In the IT sector, the process of harmonization is progressing quickly. The most import legislation directly affecting the sector includes: intellectual property protection, taxation and e-Commerce.

The Romanian government has provided several tax incentives to stimulate the ITC sector and to increase retention of Romanian trained IT specialists. It includes lower taxes for telecom and IT related investments which are considered to have a significant economic impact, incentives for SMEs, income tax exemptions for software developers, special facilities for underdeveloped investment zones and tax exemptions for hardware production enterprises with sales of over US$1 million per year.

What’s the future of e-content in Romania?

E-content development will see a strong surge because we will have to meet the numerous requirements to be at par with countries within European Union. And it will continue surging beyond 2007, its joining year, to keep up with the competition.

Which is the most preferred medium for e-content production in your country?

I believe that interactive TV can be a medium for e-content development. Mobile devices still lacking features for promoting movies and good quality sound. Internet will also be a destination for e-content as well as wireless domain and good applications will be developed.

How do you recognize the best e-content practices in your country?
In Romania we have decided to organize a competition for the Romanian e-content award with 83 online and offline products. Following two sessions, the jury nominated 35 products and awarded one product in each of the six categories. E-science and e-inclusion were left out following poor response. The awarded products were promoted to the WSA level and out of them one Romanian product on e-learning bagged an award.

It was interesting to observe that largest numbers of entries were in the e-culture category followed by e-governance, e-business, and e-health. It is in a way related to the fact that Romania owns much unexploited content, especially in the area of cultural heritage and folklore.

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