Claudio Murri, Asia Advisor to EIF, reports from the ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok

02 December 2013 Author: Claudio Murri

Claudio Murri, on behalf of EIF, attended ITU Telecom World 2013, a four day event in Thailand, organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and preceded by a one day ministerial conference focused on the Asia Pacific region. He reports on the key trends and major challenges that were debated at this event. 

Top players from business and government debated the world transformations brought over by the deployment of digital technologies. Initiated by fast broadband and subsequent connectivity worldwide, this revolution is accelerating, driven by new technologies and trends such as network virtualization, big data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, the Internet of Things, and smart solutions.  

Key factors headlined and debated at this event were:

The increasing pace and complexity of change in the ICT sector and in the world, with a particular focus on mobile and social technologies, and the impact of ever more powerful smart devices, the cloud computing platform and 4G-based mobile broadband networks.

The convergence across vertical sectors. Service providers are moving through enhanced services and the cloud towards the core, increasingly using IT and software defined network (SDN) virtualization networks in data centres. Over The Top players (OTTs) are expanding into networks and extending their footprint from the core to the edge to get better quality for services through agreements with telecommunications companies. Web data is connected to telco centers, decentralizing as the web service operators move closer to the end user. At the same time, telecommunications operators are also entering the smart devices market.

The positioning of the end users’ needs and demands at the heart of the digital revolution. For OTTs and telcos alike, the issue of consumer loyalty continues to be critical. Efficiently allocating resources to customers becomes more important than bandwidth to meet actual customer demand – more and more heterogeneous  and diversified - with a differentiated array of products and services, rather than with a generalised one-size-fits-all concept. 

The need to ensure that the still unconnected billions can reap the benefits of the digital world. There are 2.7 billion people using the internet worldwide and with a further 4.4 billion not yet online it represents a tremendous opportunity for telecom operators and users alike. However, although broadband is booming globally, it is growing unevenly – with developing countries lagging behind. Connecting rural areas to broadband is one of the most pressing and challenging issues in telecoms today. But no one country, region or place is the same and the problems of reliable energy supply, impenetrable terrain and of course, cost, weigh heavily against remote areas in getting broadband access.

The necessity, on the other hand – to recognize that, in a world where over 70 per cent of the population will be urban citizens by the middle of the century, making cities smarter and sustainable is an imperative. Rapid urban growth is placing tremendous stress on public services and the infrastructures of cities, stress which can be relieved by a smarter approach to delivering vital services such as transport, healthcare, education and energy. To ensure a city is smart, besides deploying the latest systems building and the best infrastructure, governments need to educate people and obtain their buy-in.

To continue reading on the major challenges facing policy makers please download the full report here (pdf download).

Image source: http://world2013.itu.int/ 

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