ITU Telecom World 2014: The one conversation that matters

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ITU Telecom World 2014, to be held this year from 7 – 10 December in Doha, Qatar.

Radical change is transforming the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, the entire industry ecosystem, and with it, our world. At the same time, ICTs have as never before the power to change lives for the better, connecting the unconnected across the globe, creating local economic ecosystems and enabling emerging markets in particular to leapfrog developmental change.

At ITU Telecom World 2013 last year in Bangkok, Thailand, tales abounded of villages where mobile telephony, the great flexible enabler in rural, remote and low income areas, has arrived long before electricity (or where the grid is still not present); of how many more citizens in Africa have access to a mobile phone than to a toothbrush; of sensor-enabled tablets signalling to doctors when a patient has successfully ingested them; or of education apps on that other kind of tablet remotely mpowering children with local language learning.

ITU Telecom World 2014, to be held this year from 7 – 10 December in Doha, Qatar, promises more of these incredible success stories, statistics and perspectives. More understanding of the ICT industry, the issues it must address in a dramatically changing environment – and the unprecedented opportunities it heralds for positive change for all the world’s citizens.

ITU Telecom World is the leading platform for strategic debate, knowledge-sharing, innovation-showcasing and networking for the global ICT community. Organized on an annual basis by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, the event is not-for-profit, neutral and open. ITU Telecom World is focused on encouraging and enabling collaboration and engagement throughout and across the ICT industry to debate the major challenges facing the sector and drive the use of ICTs worldwide to address critical socio-economic development.


Its UN status enables it to attract a uniquely influential audience of public and private sector representatives at the highest level from right across the industry ecosystem, and from emerging and developed markets alike. World-class debates with expert speakers on technology, policy and strategy offer insight and understanding of the current industry disruption and evolving ICT ecosystem. The event showfloor draws national pavilions, industry stands and thematic pavilions from around the world to showcase innovation, investment and partnership opportunities on a truly global scale, providing unparalleled exposure to and for emerging markets in particular. And the entire event is a hotbed of networking opportunities, from formal social events and meeting rooms to the informal refreshment breaks, lounges and online encounters via the event app.

Opening the event on 7 December is the exclusive Leadership Summit, curated by leading futurists and designed to unravel some of the complexities of the future, equipping leading decision-makers from government and industry with a clear understanding of current and near-future developments in the ICT sector, the wider economy and society. From demonstrations of cutting-edge wearable tech and innovative data displays on the demographics dramatically altering the shape of the world to provocative presentations on the power of human augmentation and the future of work as artificial intelligence explodes in growth, the Summit is a powerful interactive experience. A journey into the near future, rather than a passive slideshow, and one which will enable leaders to place strategic, regulatory, policy and technology decisions in context in a fast-evolving industry.

The full programme for ITU Telecom World 2014 explores these key developments and future scenarios under the theme “Future in Focus”, examining disruption, convergence, cross-sector partnerships and the intelligent future through panel discussions, workshops, keynotes and open debate. Topics include the impact of shared and cloud infrastructure, the increasing “IT-isation” of telecom networks, broadband rollout in emerging economies, the digital dividend and the internet of things, the convergence of broadcasting and broadband, the need for spectrum sharing, and big data-centric applications and innovative business models. Understanding and debating these major trends from the perspective of policy, regulatory approaches, new business models and enabling technologies is critical to industry success.

The national pavilions and industry stands on the showfloor offer a window onto regional and national technologies, talent and targeted investment projects, with a particular focus on emerging markets in Africa and Asia. This is an opportunity to gain visibility, make contacts, discuss and close deals, meet and influence the people making policies and shaping strategies throughout the ICT industry. The showfloor also features the InnovationSpace, an area dedicated to showcasing the winning ideas, concepts and start-ups of the winners of the Young Innovators Competition 2014, the annual search for 18 – 30 year old social entrepreneurs making innovative use of ICTs to solve pressing developmental challenges. Alongside the Young Innovators is The Lab, an exhibition of future technology in action which combines engineering, science, technology, creativity and social entrepreneurship to demonstrate the power of ICTs to make a real difference to the disadvantaged throughout the world.

Making connections is at the heart of successful businesses and partnerships, and at the heart of ITU Telecom World 2014. The scope for networking, whether serendipitous or highly targeted, via the ever-popular social events, in coffee breaks around the Forum or on the showfloor, is wide, and the chance to meet the right people, have your message heard, discuss key developments and exchange insights and knowledge is often cited as one of the principle benefits of the event. Encouraging collaboration and cooperation throughout the industry and at regional and international level is a vital element of ITU Telecom World, never more so than today, when the ever-increasing global presence and power of ICTs renders many narrow national decisions in areas such as big data, privacy and cybersecurity, largely irrelevant.

The combination of public and private sectors, emerging and developed markets, showcasing, networking and debating is what makes ITU Telecom World 2014 unique. It is an opportunity like no other to understand the future of the industry, exchange perspectives, meet influential decision-makers and explore potential partnerships. It is an event like no other in its ability to harness the power of ICTs to make a real difference in the world. Join us in Doha, Qatar, from 7 – 10 December to be part of this conversation – the one conversation that matters.

For more information on the event, the programme and registration, please visit telecomworld.itu.int.

Staff Writer