Bridging Standardization Gap Dominates World Telecommunications Day Celebrations


International Telecommunications Union celebrated the 50th Anniversary of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday. The event was preceded with an award ceremony and an expert panel discussion on how inclusive international standards help countries use technology to improve lives.

In his official message on the occasion of WTISD 2019, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao outlined the need to bridge the standardization gap.

“This year, we will focus on “bridging the standardization gap.” Setting standards is a fundamental pillar of ITU’s mission as the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies.
You want to connect to the internet, enjoy a sports event on TV, listen to radio in your car or watch a video on your smartphone? ITU standards make it possible.The upcoming 5G standards, especially if coupled with artificial intelligence, will support a new range of applications which we will soon take for granted: from self-driving cars to safer and smart cities.” 

“ITU standards ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth. They are good for developed and developing countries. They help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals.I call upon ITU Member States, industry members, small and big companies and academia, together with UN sister agencies, our partners and all stakeholders, to support ITU’s “Bridging the Standardization gap​” programme and prosperity and well-being for all.” said Zhao.

This year’s theme for WTISD is “Bridging the standardization gap,” which refers to efforts to ensure that all the world’s nations have a chance the build and shape international standards for the information and communication technologies (ICTs) that are increasingly central to our daily lives in today’s digital economy.

The use of internet and other Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) can bring societies, economies as well as one of the ways to bridge the digital divide. A positive relationship exists between economic development and infrastructure investment, including telecommunications in particular. Even with a strong positive correlation between telecommunications investment, it alone is not sufficient to ensure economic growth.

However, lack of telecommunication investment can prohibit or significantly constrain economic development. The world is rapidly moving toward an economic system based on the continuous and ubiquitous availability of information. Recent advances in telecommunications technology have been an important vehicle in permitting information exchange to develop as a valuable commodity.

The adoption of wireless communication & information technology is an encouraging option and need of the hour for the students is to carry on higher studies in present scenario of competitive world. Telecommunications infrastructure investment and the derived services provide significant benefits; their presence allows productive units to produce better.

Telecommunications policies affect not only telecommunications, but also the economic development and social, cultural and political growth.

The theme focuses on the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, and often unstructured data into actionable information in the context of development. The celebration of this day increases awareness of the positive communication technology among people. It has the purpose to make the information and communication accessible easily to more people in remote and rural areas. It is important to spread awareness of the importance of communication in our lives, to educate people how communication affects and exists in our lives.

The  ITU standards  have emerged as important in connecting people to the internet and accessing more useful information ,ITU technology standards make it possible. They also  help to ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth. They help accelerate progress on each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The panel discussion on how standards help enable digital transformation focused on the areas of health, financial inclusion and smart cities and communities.

“We’ve all entered a digital world where everything we use … is in some way digital and we’re all connected,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization.

She stressed the need to ensure that these digital technologies don’t have undesirable effects and  maximum impact on health systems and people’s health.

She went on to give the example of Safe Listening standards jointly developed by ITU and WHO to protect people’s hearing. She also mentioned another area where the two organizations have worked together: Artificial Intelligence and Health.

Mr Sergio Mujica, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization highlighted the importance of capacity-building initiatives to bridging the standardization gap.

“Capacity-building is not about charity, capacity-building is about effectiveness. We will be as strong as our members.” said Mr Mujica

Six laureates in different categories were rewarded for their work to bridge the standardization gap.

ITU’s Bridging the Standardization (BSG) programme aims to facilitate the efficient participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process, to disseminate information about existing standards, and to assist developing countries in the implementation of standards.

This effort is important for many reasons, including ensuring during the process of product and business development that new technologies actually meet the meet the needs of users in developing countries.

Several diplomatic representatives attended the celebration event , which has been celebrated annually since 1969, marking the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865 when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

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