ITU Telecom World 2016 highlights importance of collaboration across ICT ecosystem to grow digital economy

ITU Telecom World 2016 wrapped up proceedings today at IMPACT Convention and Exhibition Center, Bangkok, following an action-packed programme of showcasing, debate, networking and Awards. 


The event, which was formally opened in the presence of H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Kingdom of Thailand and  General Chan-o-cha Prayut, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Thailand included big names, countries and SMEs from around the world and welcomed over 8,800 participants.  


Among the high-level guests in attendance were: H.R.H. Tapouto'a Ulukalala, the Crown Prince of Tonga; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxemburg; Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister of Vanuatu; Debretsion Gebremichael Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia; and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of UNCTAD.  


Some 250 Exhibitors, including 107 exhibiting tech-SMEs and 60 partners and sponsors took part in the event. Over 330 leaders from 90 countries joined the debates, including top-level representatives from Hungary and the Republic of Korea – past and future ITU Telecom World host countries. 



"From its high-level Forum debates to the activities on the show floor, ITU Telecom World has successfully moved towards becoming the truly inclusive international platform connecting tech-SMEs with global governments and industry leaders," said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao. "The dialogues, showcases, networking and other activities I have joined this week have given all our community and stakeholders – be they senior government officials, international organizations, leading corporate players or SMEs - the chance to examine issues vital to accelerating ICT innovation, and explore the many ways in which ICTs can help meet the SDGs." 


"Thailand is pleased to be the host of the very successful ITU Telecom World 2016," said Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society. "I have received positive feedback from Thai participants that the event has been extremely useful in showcasing Thailand's thriving digital economy and society and, importantly, demonstrating innovations and entrepreneurship which are key drivers for national development today. The event and speakers have provided many lessons and case studies on how the government's forward looking and inclusive digital economy policies are being turned into action by the private sector including SMEs and start-ups." 


The Exhibition featured the types of technology driving our digital economy, from 5G and cloud computing to smart devices, smart city solutions and national broadband plans, as well as investment and partnership opportunities from around the world. 


Reflecting the significance of ICT across key verticals, ITU welcomed new vertical sectors to the event, such as MasterCard, Honda or Toyota, joining debates in sessions such as the Connected Car or Cashless Future. 




Leadership Summit & Forum debates 


162 speakers from 55 countries took part in plenaries, panel debates, workshops, high-level roundtables and networking sessions in the Forum and at the Leadership Summit. Speakers spanned heads of state and governments from across the globe, leaders from the ICT industry and key verticals, SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators to international organizations and academia. They provided truly global perspectives and viewpoints from developed and developing countries alike. 


Discussions launched with the Leadership Summit, on 14 November, which brought highly influential participants together to share views and explore why working together is so important for growing the digital economy. Forum sessions delved into an exciting set of topics such as AI, how ICTs can meet the UN's Sustainable development goals (SDGs), the connected car, digital financial inclusion and fiscal incentives and taxation in the industry. 


Other debate highlights included the B2G and B2B dialogues, which brought together tech-SMEs and large companies for an open exchange; the Ministerial Roundtable on the crucial role of governments in advancing digital economy; Economic and Industry Roundtable, bringing together global ICT consulting firms, R&D entities, regional and international organizations; and the Asia Pacific Exchange on Broadband Regulation and Policy (co-hosted with Huawei).  


The event showcased sponsored sessions on topics spanning 5G, reaching the next billion, digital financial services, towards a digital Nigeria and enabling third network services for the digital economy. Key players included Huawei, KT, Japan's MIAC, GTI, China Mobile and TDIA, Intel, MasterCard, GSMA/GSA, Nigeria and MEF.  


Panel lunches hosted by the Smart Africa Alliance and CITRA, helped facilitate networking and discussion, along with high profile networking occasions, such as the Leaders Lunch, sponsored by Huawei, or Korea night sponsored by ITU Telecom World 2017 host, Republic of Korea's MSIP. Networking breaks sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz and URCA of the Bahamas helped ensure conversation continued between Forum sessions. 




Global Platform 


As the international platform connecting ICT SMEs with corporations and governments, it was no surprise that high-level participants used the opportunities and influential audience that the event offered to conclude many important agreements between business and business (B2B), business and governments (B2G) and business and governments to UN, as well as launching new reports.  


ITU Telecom World Award 


The Event Closing and ITU Telecom World Awards Ceremony brought ITU Telecom World 2016 to a close on the final day of the event and also saw the much-awaited announcement of the winners of the ITU Telecom World Awards. During the week of the event, finalists pitched their ideas and innovations to judges and a global audience. 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. The winning entries included: 

  • Global SME Award: BRK, Kenya
  • Host Country SME Award: ServisHero, Kingdom of Thailand
  • Thematic Award (eGovernment): Nile Center for Technology Research (NCTR)
  • Thematic Award (eHealth): Neofect, Republic of Korea
  • Thematic Award (eEducation): Academic Bridge, Rwanda
  • Thematic Award (Disaster Prevention/Recovery Communications): MasterCard, United States 



ITU co-hosted events  

The event also welcomed perspectives from across ITU and its membership and partners, who used the international platform which the event provides in order to hold a series of important co-hosted events. A series of closed meetings took place a day before the official opening. These were the advisory boards meetings of the Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative (SSDM) and m-Powering Development Initiative, 7th Private Sector Chief Regulatory Officers (CRO) meeting, 8th Chief Technology Officers (CTO) Meeting.  

For the first time this year, the event proposed an extensive program engaging with academia in the global debate. Activities included the ITU Secretary General Academia Consultation, 2nd Brainstorming Meeting of Impact Study on ICT4SDGs, ITU Kaleidoscope Academic Conference 2016, World Standards Cooperation Academic Roundtable, organized in cooperation with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).  

Important side-events working on technical standards included the 4th APT and ITU Conformance and Interoperability (C&I) event - IPTV Testing, Third ITU Test Event on Compatibility of Mobile Phones and Vehicle Hands-Free Terminals, and showcasing of the implementation of recommendation ITU-T X.1255 promoting interoperability of heterogeneous systems via digital labelling. A strong gender equality agenda focused events, such as EQUALS: the Inaugural Meeting of the Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, Mentorship Sessions: Promoting Women's Digital Entrepreneurship, and the Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Technology (GEM-TECH) Awards, a joint ITU/UN Women prize recognizing outstanding efforts in using the power of information and communication technology (ICT) to empower women and girls was conferred during a prestigious ceremony at Telecom World. 


Event Baton passes to Republic of Korea 


For 2017, ITU Telecom World will head to Busan, Republic of Korea, focussing on the creative digital economy and fostering SME growth. Telecom World 2017 will take place from 25-28 September. ITU warmly invites Member States, regulators, and 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 to save the date and prepare to join us at the event. 


Key Telecom World 2016 Statistics

  • Over 8,800 Participants
  • 250 exhibitors, including 107 exhibiting SMEs, 60 partners and sponsors from 37 countries
  • 162 speakers from 55 countries in the Leadership Summit and Forum
  • 338 Leaders from 95 countries, split between public and private sectors
  • 7 Agreements/Contracts signed during the period of ITU Telecom World 2016 between Governments, Regulatory Bodies and Private Entities.
  • 235 accredited media attended from 17 countries