ITU Digital World 2021
Event calendar

Wednesday, 01 September 2021

Wired, wireless, worldwide: what’s next for networks?
Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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More and more people are connecting to the internet every day, looking increasingly for high quality services, rich content, speed, and reliability.  Many organizations and most countries are working on connecting everyone by 2030, further pushing the demand for fast and dependable networks. How will network operators cope with this demand? How are they enabling new technologies to function and improve user experience online? Is network deployment still viable? How should network operators balance falling consumer prices against the need to invest heavily in upgrading networks? What sort of wired connectivity or backhaul will future wireless networks require – and could this be key to universal access? How can network operators apply automation and machine learning to improve network functionality, cost efficiency and security?  Wired, wireless, fronthaul, backhaul, 5G, HetNet: what will the next generation of networks look like?

Wednesday, 08 September 2021

5G: fueling digital transformation today - or tomorrow?
Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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5G promises a paradigm shift in network potential: massive connectivity, capacity, low latency, and enormous value add in both industrial and consumer applications. First launched in 2018, 5G networks are becoming available commercially in more and more countries, but its use is still in its infancy. Where has 5G been successfully deployed, what are the main use cases to date and how many people currently have 5G-enabled devices? What difference is it making to user experience and users’ lives? Has the global pandemic, with its massive economic impact and renewed interest in EMF dangers, delayed or even accelerated 5G deployment? Is the future of 5G in industrial applications and extreme automation more than in the consumer market? Who is investing in the networks – and what is the role of government? What partnerships are developing across sectors, technologies and market players to make 5G a reality? Is the leap from 3G to 5G economically viable, in particular in low and middle-income countries? How can the ecosystem develop to enable widespread access to 5G in developed and developing economies – and how much of a priority is affordability anyway?

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Space for change: satellites in the service of digital transformation
Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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Advances in satellite technology, changing business models and growing demand for services are making satellites more relevant than ever. An array of options from non-geostationary orbit satellites (NGSO) to geostationary orbit satellites (GSO) in low, medium or geostationary orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO) are evolving to meet needs for commercial services, as well as specialized applications for earth stations in motion, broadcasting, satellite Internet of Things, and providing cost-effective broadband to rural and remote areas. How is the evolution of satellite technology affecting space orbit allocation – is there space in space? Which satellite constellations have already launched, what challenges have they faced and who are they serving? How can satellite networks coexist, compete with or complement current networks? Are there opportunities for partnerships between satellite technologies, with other industry sectors and with government? What new services will satellites enable beyond connecting the unconnected in underserved areas? What is the vision and unique value proposition of the satellite industry – and how can it be achieved?

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Managing growth, managing spectrum: best practices in spectrum harmonization
Forum session
13:30 - 15:00, Geneva time
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Spectrum harmonization in particular, and spectrum management in general, have a major impact on spectrum availability for next generation networks. Why is it so important both now and in the future to ensure globally harmonized spectrum for satellite, science, broadcasting, mobile, fixed and other radiocommunication services? How can we ensure services have enough spectrum for current and future needs?
Frequency bands for IMT-2020/5G were identified in the course of recent World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), yet countries continue to use different bands. How can we ensure countries limit the number of frequencies and spectrum to the minimum essential to provide the necessary service?
Harmonization of IMT frequency usage can only be successful if national authorities are prepared to coordinate, collaborate – and prioritize. What are the challenges of spectrum harmonization? Is spectrum harmonization achievable, and if so, what are the best practices and methods? Is there a role for regional telecommunication organizations, and what initiatives are currently being implemented? What licensing models are in place around the world, and can they be used to promote greater spectrum harmonization?

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Ministerial Roundtable - Cutting the cost: can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?
Forum session
09:00 - 10:30, Geneva time
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Meaningful connectivity - access to and use of relevant internet services - is critical to digital transformation. Ensuring universal access is fast becoming an issue of affordability and capacity rather than infrastructure or technology. According to ITU data, over 90% of the urban population and over 70% of the rural population globally were covered by 4G, satellite or other technologies in 2020 – yet only 51% of the world’s people are using the internet. Barriers to internet adoption include affordability, digital skills, public awareness and the existence of relevant content in local languages. How can governments address the affordability piece of the puzzle? Do manufacturers produce enough affordable devices to allow citizens to connect and use the internet? How can governments work with manufacturers to incentivize cheaper plans or ensure greater availability of low-cost devices? Should governments subsidize access or even provide free connectivity for all? Is there a greater role for more efficient recycling throughout the supply chain? How should governments address the underlying demand-side issues, including the cost of electricity? What innovative policy and regulatory measures or successful public-private models can best reduce the cost of connectivity for end-users?

Ministerial Roundtable - Cutting the cost: can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?
Forum session
15:00 - 16:30, Geneva time
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Meaningful connectivity - access to and use of relevant internet services - is critical to digital transformation. Ensuring universal access is fast becoming an issue of affordability and capacity rather than infrastructure or technology. According to ITU data, over 90% of the urban population and over 70% of the rural population globally were covered by 4G, satellite or other technologies in 2020 – yet only 51% of the world’s people are using the internet. Barriers to internet adoption include affordability, digital skills, public awareness and the existence of relevant content in local languages. How can governments address the affordability piece of the puzzle? Do manufacturers produce enough affordable devices to allow citizens to connect and use the internet? How can governments work with manufacturers to incentivize cheaper plans or ensure greater availability of low-cost devices? Should governments subsidize access or even provide free connectivity for all? Is there a greater role for more efficient recycling throughout the supply chain? How should governments address the underlying demand-side issues, including the cost of electricity? What innovative policy and regulatory measures or successful public-private models can best reduce the cost of connectivity for end-users?

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Ministerial Roundtable - Boosting infrastructure: rethinking the role of government in digital transformation
Forum session
09:00 - 10:30, Geneva time
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Much of the world already has broadband infrastructure in place to enable digital transformation. But network existence, deployment rates and status vary dramatically within and across countries and regions. And as the number of users and devices, data usage and expectations of speed and quality continue to increase rapidly, existing networks need to be updated or replaced to meet future demand. How can broadband infrastructure deployment best be accelerated and optimized? How do good practices and successful case studies differ between developed and developing countries? If the necessary backbone is already in place, what are the roadblocks to reaching the end-user? What is the role of infrastructure sharing, both within the telecom sector and with utility providers? How can regulators and government work with private sector to incentivize collaboration, create technology-neutral level playing fields and expand markets? How has the ongoing pandemic affected policymakers’ decisions and impacted upon national broadband strategies? What are current best practices in broadband deployment, how can countries learn from each other – and what are the pitfalls to be avoided?

Ministerial Roundtable - Boosting infrastructure: rethinking the role of government in digital transformation
Forum session
15:00 - 16:30, Geneva time
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Much of the world already has broadband infrastructure in place to enable digital transformation. But network existence, deployment rates and status vary dramatically within and across countries and regions. And as the number of users and devices, data usage and expectations of speed and quality continue to increase rapidly, existing networks need to be updated or replaced to meet future demand. How can broadband infrastructure deployment best be accelerated and optimized? How do good practices and successful case studies differ between developed and developing countries? If the necessary backbone is already in place, what are the roadblocks to reaching the end-user? What is the role of infrastructure sharing, both within the telecom sector and with utility providers? How can regulators and government work with private sector to incentivize collaboration, create technology-neutral level playing fields and expand markets? How has the ongoing pandemic affected policymakers’ decisions and impacted upon national broadband strategies? What are current best practices in broadband deployment, how can countries learn from each other – and what are the pitfalls to be avoided?

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Ministerial Roundtable - Give and take: the role of taxation and government incentives in building our digital future

Forum session
09:00 - 10:30, Geneva time
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Digital transformation is happening all around us at unprecedented pace - a pace further accelerated by the ongoing global pandemic. Network infrastructure is at the very heart of that transformation and the social and economic benefits it brings. How can government incentives further network deployment and prevent the burden of taxation from falling disproportionally heavily upon the telecommunication sector? What can governments do to ensure more symmetry in taxation, balancing short-term loss of revenue with long-term growth in the digital sector and the economy as a whole? How can government use taxation to fund an inclusive digital world and stimulate market development? What government incentives have proved most powerful in driving digital transformation? How can long-term equitable financing models be secured? What is the role of taxation in incentivising digital stakeholders to invest in the infrastructure behind resilient, reliable, fit-for-purpose digital services? Will taxation money be reinvested in networks or do governments plan to use it differently? Can regulators and governments ensure the future growth and sustainability of this critical sector? What can governments do in terms of taxation and incentives if the end goal is to bring everyone online?

Ministerial Roundtable - Give and take: the role of taxation and government incentives in building our digital future

Forum session
15:00 - 16:30, Geneva time
Read more

Digital transformation is happening all around us at unprecedented pace - a pace further accelerated by the ongoing global pandemic. Network infrastructure is at the very heart of that transformation and the social and economic benefits it brings. How can government incentives further network deployment and prevent the burden of taxation from falling disproportionally heavily upon the telecommunication sector? What can governments do to ensure more symmetry in taxation, balancing short-term loss of revenue with long-term growth in the digital sector and the economy as a whole? How can government use taxation to fund an inclusive digital world and stimulate market development? What government incentives have proved most powerful in driving digital transformation? How can long-term equitable financing models be secured? What is the role of taxation in incentivising digital stakeholders to invest in the infrastructure behind resilient, reliable, fit-for-purpose digital services? Will taxation money be reinvested in networks or do governments plan to use it differently? Can regulators and governments ensure the future growth and sustainability of this critical sector? What can governments do in terms of taxation and incentives if the end goal is to bring everyone online? 

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Pitching Day 01: Connectivity
SME Award
12:00 - 14:00, Geneva time
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Follow live as our SME Awards finalists from around the world pitch online before an expert jury of tech and industry specialists, investors and mentors. SMEs present their short-listed Connectivity solutions for 5 minutes - and then face 5 minutes of questions from the jury.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Regulatory Roundtable - Ensuring participatory regulation for an equitable and safe digital future
Forum session
13:30 - 15:00, Geneva time
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The global pandemic has underlined the critical importance of digital technologies in every aspect of our lives and led to a massive uptake of digital services. But the benefits of digital are shadowed by concerns over data usage, consumer privacy, content moderation and the concentration of power in a small number of companies. As the pace of innovation and digitalization accelerates, existing legal tools such as competition law, net neutrality and data protection may no longer be enough to protect consumers. Regulators and policymakers have an ever more important role to play in ensuring that consumers are protected while using the digital services which are so beneficial to businesses, societies and individual lives. Strong public support for tighter industry regulation puts additional pressure on companies to change the way they conduct business – and on government and regulatory bodies to enforce change. For regulation to be fair, equitable and supportive of innovation and growth, all stakeholders must engage and collaborate. What are the biggest challenges facing regulators and lawmakers in the digital era? What is needed today to change the dynamic of regulation? What steps are regulators taking or considering to ensure the safety of users online? What are the priorities? Who can users trust today – and are they right to be concerned? How is the industry, and major corporates in particular, responding to concerns and allegations, and reacting to more and tighter regulations?

Tuesday, 02 November 2021

Pitching Day 02: Education Technology
SME Award
12:00 - 14:00, Geneva time
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Follow live as our SME Awards finalists from around the world pitch online before an expert jury of tech and industry specialists, investors and mentors. SMEs present their short-listed EdTech solutions for 5 minutes - and then face 5 minutes of questions from the jury.

Friday, 05 November 2021

Upskilling us all: digital skills for a digital world

Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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Connecting as many people as possible to the internet and all the benefits of the digital economy means more than providing infrastructure and affordable devices, as critical as these elements are. Access alone is meaningless without the skills, knowledge, and compelling use cases to take full advantage of connectivity. How can we ensure that developed and developing markets alike are equipping their citizens with 21st century digital skills? Who should be responsible for delivering and funding digital skills training – the public, private or civic sector, international organizations, or a combination of all? Who is currently investing in and driving digital skills training around the world, and with what success? What underlying issues may need to be resolved, from infrastructure and equipment to relevant content and services, affordability, literacy, and electricity supply? How can traditional educational systems best incorporate digital skills – and what should the role of digital tech be within basic education? What is the role of Digital Transformation Centres? How do priorities and approaches vary between developed, developing and least developed countries? What solutions, partnerships or programmes already exist to bring people online in a meaningful way, maximize their experience and ensure a roadmap to the digital future?

Tuesday, 09 November 2021

Pitching Day 03: Smart Cities
SME Award
12:00 - 14:00, Geneva time
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Follow live as our SME Awards finalists from around the world pitch online before an expert jury of tech and industry specialists, investors and mentors. SMEs present their short-listed Smart cities, smart living solutions for 5 minutes - and then face 5 minutes of questions from the jury.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Pitching Day 04: EHealth
SME Award
12:00 - 14:00, Geneva time
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Follow live as our SME Awards finalists from around the world pitch online before an expert jury of tech and industry specialists, investors and mentors. SMEs present their short-listed e-Health solutions for 5 minutes - and then face 5 minutes of questions from the jury.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Human at heart: privacy, transparency and accountability in AI

Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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The digital technologies surrounding us and informing every aspect of our lives provide us with enormous benefits, convenience and enjoyment. Rapidly evolving digital development opens up tremendous potential to improve lives further – but is accompanied by a growing awareness of potential danger. This includes fear of losing control, privacy concerns, feeling threatened or displaced by increasing automatization, and a mistrust of technology or the use to which it is put by governments and corporates. This balance between great technological promise and human concern is particularly obvious in the expanding field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). What current and upcoming solutions in AI are guaranteeing greater security, privacy, transparency, and accountability for citizens? Can those who monitor citizens also be monitored, and would this help create user trust? Can AI be used to fight corruption and fake news? Are we tackling the bias in AI fast enough? How much are we aware of AI in our daily lives, should we know more, and who should be responsible for educating us? What existing solutions put humans at the center of development, and what can be learnt from them? What will happen if we ignore the human aspects of AI development?

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Pitching Day 05: Digital Finance
SME Award
12:00 - 14:00, Geneva time
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Follow live as our SME Awards finalists from around the world pitch online before an expert jury of tech and industry specialists, investors and mentors. SMEs present their short-listed Digital Finance solutions for 5 minutes - and then face 5 minutes of questions from the jury.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Greening our own house: addressing the environmental footprint of digital technologies

Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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Sustainability and climate change are among the defining issues of our time. The ICT sector and cutting-edge digital technologies such as AI, IoT and robotics are increasingly important in enabling governments to tackle these challenges and meet major global targets such as the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the ITU’s Connect 2030 Agenda. But in parallel, the negative environmental impact of digital technologies continues to grow – including the issue of e-waste. Is the ICT sector doing enough to reduce its own environmental footprint? What is the role of policy makers in shaping carbon-neutral digital markets? How can producers and operators reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and create tools and systems friendly to the environment? What happens to decommissioned equipment? How can we tackle the e-waste challenge and achieve a circular economy? How can governments best support, promote, and implement digital technologies in a sustainable manner? And are global standards key to accelerating digital transformation whilst meeting the ICT sector’s net-zero goals and sustainability targets?

Panelist

Pernilla Bergmark

Telefon AB - LM Ericsson

Sweden

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Securing cyberspace and protecting privacy: meeting the challenges of a digital world

Forum session
13:30 - 14:45, Geneva time
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Adoption of digital technologies and internet use have hugely increased since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Far greater connectivity, with all the benefits of access to information and services it brings, and far higher numbers of connected devices and supporting software, have increased the attack surfaces for cyber criminals. Attackers have become ever more sophisticated, opening up new fronts online for governments, industry and individual consumers. With the shift in the cybersecurity landscape. how can governments, companies and users keep up? Should users become the first line of defense? How can public awareness of the potential dangers of cyber-attack, and defenses against it, be increased? Who is responsible for building awareness - companies, governments, regulators or the end users themselves? Can companies properly handle user data? Are governments securing critical infrastructure sufficiently? Is it in the interest of governments to have cyber-immunity? Should governments be able to access encrypted data to pursue criminals? How have newly developed COVID-19 apps performed in terms of privacy and security over the last year? Should countries cooperate more, and if so how?

Wednesday, 01 December 2021

ITU Digital World 2021 SME Awards Ceremony
SME Award
15:00 - 16:00, Geneva time
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Join the finalists of the ITU Digital World 2021 SME Awards, our expert jury and ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao as the Award winners in each category are finally announced!