ITU Telecom World events are focused on the power of meaningful technology to improve lives everywhere, making life better, sooner – by working together across sectors, regions and international boundaries.
Technology, and innovation in technology, has always driven human development. With the advent of the digital age, the pace of innovation and the technological change it brings is advancing at unprecedented speed. The impact on businesses and societies, on nations and individuals, is proving revolutionary. The potential to change lives for the better is greater than ever before.
But there is a very real danger that not everyone will benefit from the growing digital era. The digital divide – between those who are connected, empowered and enriched by technology and those who are excluded – may deepen further as new developments in areas such as 5G, IoT, AI and smart cities take hold and spread in developed markets.
So ensuring universal access to high-speed internet, and the services, applications and products it enables, is of paramount importance. But to really make a difference, that connectivity has to be meaningful. It needs to be affordable, fit-for-purpose and relevant to local contexts – which means local content in local languages, supported by digital literacy and skills programmes, and accessible to those who are currently digitally disenfranchised, such as rural populations, women, and young people.
Making sure that the digital society is inclusive, diverse, beneficial and sustainable also means addressing the issue of trust – or lack of trust – in technology. This involves respectful data management, privacy initiatives and education, and cybersecurity measures to ensure a safe global cyberspace. And technological developments need to respect and develop environmental policies to secure the planet and preserve the current climate.
These are ambitious goals, goals that can only be achieved through innovative thinking and collaborative efforts. Which is exactly the platform that ITU Telecom World 2019 offers.
Held in Budapest, Hungary, from 9-12 September, ITU Telecom World brings together public and private sectors, international organizations, academia, media and tech consultants from emerging and developed markets to debate the issues shaping the technology industry and our digital societies. Innovation in policy, strategy and regulatory approaches will be high on the agenda, as well as innovation in technology – from 5G deployment to IoT breakthroughs, the status, potential and risks of AI, new satellite connectivity solutions, delivering smart cities and spectrum management.
Innovation will be in evidence across the event, with the best tech solutions, products and projects on display from around the world in a series of National and Thematic Pavilions in the exhibition. It’s a chance for countries from both emerging and developed markets to shine an international spotlight on local, regional and national talent, technological advancements and partnership and investment opportunities.
Innovation is also critical to another key element of the event: the SME Programme and ITU Telecom World Awards. Recognizing the vital role of tech small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in driving economic and social development, creating jobs and building the digital age in all markets, ITU Telecom World events provide a range of international services to foster and support SME growth. The SME Programme offers workshops, mentorship, important networking opportunities, and capacity-building sessions alongside pitching and showcasing; the ITU Telecom World Awards – now open for applications – reward innovative tech solutions working to create real, positive social impact from SMEs and corporate alike.
Collaboration is innovation’s main partner in making technology meaningful, beneficial and inclusive. Partnerships are the cornerstone of ITU Telecom World events, whether between public and private sectors, policy-makers and industry, SMEs and big business or government, or across ministries, regions and nations. Making progress means working together, never more so than in a digital age where data and technology know no boundaries, respect no geographies.
ITU Telecom World 2019 is focused on connectivity, innovation and digital principles, to ensure that technology benefits everyone, everywhere. Only through international and cross-sectoral collaboration can we achieve these aims – and prepare and adapt to the digital society, maximizing the potential of the tech revolution. Events such as ITU Telecom World 2019 are an important step on that journey.