Innovative tech and ICT private-public partnerships advanced at ITU Telecom World 2017

ITU Telecom World 2017 wrapped up today in Busan following a full four-day programme of tech innovation showcases, debate, networking and awards. The annual event brought together representatives of nations, leading industry players and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world – fostering valuable support for innovation and business partnerships, and facilitating knowledge exchanges and networking.


"The insightful debates and cutting edge showcases we have experienced this week have shown how the smart digital transformation is reshaping not just our ICT industry, but the world around us," said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao. "Conversations have also stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, leading ICT players and SMEs, to help guide this transformation. ITU Telecom World 2017 has provided the platform for this, connecting SMEs with key players and governments, for meaningful dialogue."


Busan Metropolitan City Mayor, Seo Byung-Soo commented that, "I am very pleased to see the successful completion of ITU Telecom World 2017, the largest ICT event ever held in our city, Busan, the Capital of Global Smart City. During ITU Telecom World 2017, we had many visiting experts from national delegations and companies from 126 countries, and I believe it was a great opportunity for the productive discussions about advanced technologies and future ICT developments. I will earnestly consider the ways to achieve harmony and convergence with the international communities, and strengthen the partnership of coexistence and cooperation in the near future."


Speaking at the Event Farewell Ceremony, Won Ho Choi, Director General, Minister of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea, noted that the event, "was a great opportunity for mutual growth and also a great opportunity to strengthen international partnerships." 


Exhibition highlights


The event featured a global line up of over 450 exhibitors, sponsors and partners, with national pavilions featured from across the world. 


The pavilions also featured a host of partnership and investment opportunities, as well as tech innovations from both corporates and SMEs, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), e-Health, e-Finance, Internet of Things (IoT), radio frequency spectrum solutions, spectrum management, smart city technologies, and self-driving vehicles. Many interactive displays gave event attendees the opportunity to see first-hand how these technologies worked.  


"ITU Telecom World 2017 has presented Indonesia with extensive opportunities to showcase our ICT SMEs to a global audience and to discuss how to reduce the gap of wealth and income inequality. Innovative digital economy business models and frameworks enable a shared economy and workforce digitalization, while the fast-tracking development of telecommunication infrastructure will improve financial inclusion. Millions of micro, small and medium enterprises have the opportunity to enter the new economy, through the adoption of disruptive digital business models," said Minister Rudiantara of Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Informatics.


Also featured in the exhibition were pavilions hosted by ITU's Radiocommunications sector ITU-R, ITU's Standardization bureau ITU-T, and ITU's Development bureau ITU-D, where event attendees could access knowledge and resources – including an interactive Smart ABC pavilion focused on smart AI, Banking and Cities (ABC).


Forum debates


At least 125 speakers from 41 countries took part in plenaries, panel debates, workshops, high-level roundtables and networking sessions as part of the event's Forum and Leadership Summit. Speakers included high-ranking government officials from across the globe, ICT industry leaders, SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators – as well as representatives of international organizations, financial bodies and academia – providing truly global perspectives on smart digital transformation, with viewpoints from developed and developing countries alike. 


Discussions kicked off with the high-level Leadership Summit, moderated by well-known Euronews reporter Jeremy Wilks, which brought together speakers from the public and private sectors to explore different visions of smart societies and debate the challenges of building a resilient digital future. 


Forum sessions explored a host of topics crucial to smart digital transformation including: how digital transformation is impacting the telecommunication sector; new approaches to connectivity; the development of new technologies such as AI, IoT and 5G; the importance of content and capacity; digital literacy and skills for the smart era; digital resilience and cybersecurity. Other Forum highlights included ministerial roundtables on transforming the ICT sector, shaping smart industries, and digital citizens first; and economic industry expert roundtables exploring the economic impact of AI.


News and announcements


Taking advantage of the global visibility that the event offers, participants took the occasion to conclude strategic business agreements and make major announcements. The ITU Journal: ICT Discoveries was launched at a ceremony which introduced this brand new publication and previewed its first special issue on "The impact of Artificial Intelligence on communication networks and services". MoUs were signed between ITU-R and the Central Radio Management Service of the Republic of Korea on space radio frequency monitoring, as well as between ITU-T  and the Korea Institute of Finance to work together on digital finance research and study. Press conferences were held by Indonesia, Huawei and South Africa, while several countries hosted national events including Nigeria Day marking the official opening of the Nigeria Pavilion and presenting the country's leading ICT companies, SMEs, project and initiatives; and Ghana Day showcasing the country's key national ICT projects and players.


ITU Telecom World Awards


The ITU Telecom World Awards 2017 Ceremony took place on the last day with the much-awaited announcement of the winners and finalists. In keeping with ITU Telecom World's focus on SMEs and their role within the broader ICT ecosystem, these awards recognized excellence and innovation in ICT solutions with social impact from SMEs and corporations alike. During the week of the event, finalists pitched their ideas and innovations and fielded tough questions from the jury. SMEs could also take part in masterclasses and networking activities in the dedicated SME space.


ITU Telecom World 2018


The Government of South Africa conveyed its willingness to host ITU Telecom World 2018. Next year's event will continue to act as the international platform connecting tech SMEs together with governments and corporates attracting member states, regulators, heads of international organizations, global media, digital experts and visionaries, leading ICT corporations and cutting-edge tech SMEs from the region and across the globe.