ITU Digital World 2020 leaves meaningful messages about a new world
The 3-day ITU Digital World 2020 closed on October 23, leaving key messages about a new world – the digital world.
ITU Digital World 2020 - the world's largest event in telecommunications and IT - is an annual event held by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Formerly known as the ITU Telecom World, this year it was organized by Vietnam under a new name - ITU Digital World 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was the first time in ITU’s history that the event was held online, using Vietnamese technology at the “Make-in-Vietnam” platform at https://digitalworld2020.vn.
Many meaningful messages about a new world were shared at the ITU Digital World 2020. Photo: Le Anh Dung
The event attracted the participation of 30 ministers, 20 vice ministers, and top government officials and leading ICT experts from over 50 countries, who made significant comments and suggestions for the development of the world telecom industry in the future.
Digital transformation to help world overcome the pandemic
At the opening session, Vietnamese Minister of Information & Communications Nguyen Manh Hung, on behalf of the host country, confirmed that the new name - ITU Digital World 2020 - reflected the powerful combination of telecommunications, IT and digital technology.
He said that the world’s development will be driven by digital technology and the annual ITU Digital World will help promote the development and application of digital technologies. That was why Vietnam had proposed changing the name of the event from ITU Telecom World to ITU Digital World.
Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung. Photo: Trong Dat
At the ITU Ministerial Roundtables, a key part of ITU Digital World 2020, top officials of the ICT industry throughout the world discussed the role of ICTs in Covid-19 pandemic response and digital strategic planning during and after the pandemic and set the orientation for cooperation between ITU and its member countries in implementing digital transformation programs.
They emphasized that IT is increasingly proving its role in helping the world respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to IT infrastructure, the world can still operate, while economic and social flows are not interrupted. In the pandemic, the Internet has become the most effective tool for ensuring the connection of people despite social distancing.
The pandemic has also created opportunities to promote IT and to digitize production, service and commercial activities. Digital transformation is gradually becoming an irreversible trend in the world and offers every nation, every economy, and every organization and individual unprecedented opportunities.
The world and the challenges for narrowing the digital gap
IT plays an important role in eliminating social and economic gaps. However, in the 47 least developed countries in the world, about 20% of the population are not connected to the Internet due to lack of infrastructure and expensive service costs.
The development of the global telecommunications industry was discussed by many experts at ITU Digital World 2020. Photo: Trong Dat
In the crisis triggered by Covid-19, there are still millions of people around the world with no access to healthcare, education services, etc. due to geographical distances. This gap will be gradually narrowed if they have access to telecommunications infrastructure. Therefore, it is necessary to bring Internet access opportunities to remote and disadvantaged areas.
This is the moment for the world to join hands to speed up broadband coverage and narrow the digital gap by increasing user outreach and technology availability.
Governments around the world can realize this by introducing policies to lure investment, by encouraging telecom network operators to expand coverage and provide services at affordable costs, and manufacturers to launch low-cost models of equipment, and by improving people's digital skills and promoting online education.
5G creates resurgence for the telecommunications industry
Representatives of the world’s leading ICT and telecom corporations also discussed the future of 5G and how to deploy this technology.
They said that 5G creates an information revolution, not only an upgrade in technology. This is proven clearly when we see the difference between 4G and 5G. While 4G helps connect people together, 5G is used to connect everything.
ITU Digital World 2020 was held online for the first time. Photo: Trong Dat
Over the next five years, more than 1 billion people around the world will use mobile data with the average monthly flow 4-5 times higher than the current rate. 5G is an effective technology to meet that need.
In terms of bandwidth, thanks to 5G, there will be no limits for at least the next few years. 5G technology will be the key to the power of calculation and automation of factories. In that context, the telecommunications industry needs to take measures to promote an open ecosystem. Along with the breakthrough impacts of 5G, governments should see the mobile ecosystem worth over US$1 trillion as an engine for growth.
From a technology perspective, the world’s leading telecom experts agreed that it will take 5G a few years to develop. However, this technology will probably become the common foundation to promote the world’s recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic and to enter the new-normal state.
Cybersecurity - a global issue
Security experts said that the world is facing a major threat related to cybersecurity, with the increase of cyberattacks in both number and scale.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of cyberattacks rose by 60% over the same period, targeting more on the elderly and children, the most vulnerable subjects. The number of phishing cases was also on the rise. Fake and malicious news become tools to disperse malicious code and collect data. This is happening during the boom of IoT devices, which may be on the radar of cybercriminals.
Mr. Hoang Minh Tien, Deputy Director of the Department of Information Security (Ministry of Information and Communications), speaks at the session on information security of the ITU Digital World 2020. Photo: Trong Dat
However, in many places, people are focusing on using technology and neglecting cybersecurity concerns. Many countries have awareness of IT application but lack national strategies for cybersecurity.
To fight cybercriminals, it is a must to have an ecosystem of cybersecurity, rather than single actions. These challenges offer an opportunity for governments and the private sector to work together and for global cooperation to solve common issues.
National information security forces also need a mechanism to share information and to promote the application of new technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity. In addition, there should be measures to raise awareness about cybersecurity.
Experts said that cybersecurity regulations and guidelines should take a top-down and bottom-up approach. Governments should issue regulations on cybersecurity implementations while businesses can also have their own regulations on this regard.
Everyone benefits from ICT technology
At the closing session, Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, congratulated Vietnam, the host country, for successfully organizing the ITU Digital World 2020. He praised Vietnam's initiative on renaming and organizing the event online.
Mr. Houlin Zhao – ITU Secretary General - praised Vietnam as a shining example in ICT development. Photo: Trong Dat
He emphasized that during the ITU Digital World 2020, ICT ministers of ITU member countries made strong messages about cooperation and innovation. He said he believed that the post-Covid-19 world will become better. The public and private sectors will cooperate with each other and work with the international community to promote the development of the ICT industry. In that future, all people will benefit from the common development of ICT and no one will be left behind.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the great challenge of the century, but a great challenge comes with great opportunities.
Many speakers at the session on the topic "Narrowing the broadband gap" at the ITU Digital World 2020 mentioned eliminating growth barriers.