Thoughts from the chairman

Hello, everyone, as chairman of the Wireless World Research Forum, it’s my great pleasure to say a few words on the occasion of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day.  At this critical time in our history, the message that the technologies that we have developed can help us deal meet the challenges we face needs to be re-iterated and explained. We must in particular address the ‘digital divide’ that keeps those in need from the technology that can help. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a fine guide for us to, setting challenging targets for our industry and community to achieve. But, when we look around, we see groups motivated by fear and ignorance burning down 5G base stations, and resistance to health programmes such as immunization driven by similar baseless concerns and a kind of paranoia, and of course, these feelings are mobilized by new developments in communication technology such as social networking. On this day we should reflect on the work that we as technologists can do to ensure that people see the real benefits of technology and feel ownership of it.

So I’d like to focus on  what is clearly the most directly relevant goal to our industry: Goal 9 ‘to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’

  • Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, which will support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

Artificial intelligence is a key tool here, and WWRF is joining with ITU in their AI/ML for 5G Challenge. Security and privacy-protecting measures are essential.

  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries

Here Industry 4.0 plays an important role.

  • By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies

We propose a new Green Radio initiative to take further the work to achieve truly sustainable radio systems.

  • Enhance scientific research, in particular in developing countries, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers and public and private research and development spending
  • Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support
  • Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries,
  • Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020

The Wireless World Research Forum is the unique global research-based organization dealing with all types of telecommunication technology. We have members from all parts of the world, and we bring together the research and development community from industry, academia and government, to identify the roadmap that will enable us all to join the Wireless World, and overcome the roadblocks on the way. We are proud to work with our many partners, including ITU, and in India, TSDSI, the ITU-APT Foundation and the Broadband India Forum, and we have fond memories of the WWRF 5G Huddle that we ran with our partners in Delhi in February, back in the days when one could travel to a meeting. Ensuring that the needs and requirements of developing regions are fully considered, is central to our work. Last year, for example, we published work on cloud services in Latin America, Industry 4.0 policy in Brazil, the impact of GDPR on developing countries, cooperatives providing rural telecoms services, developing health management systems, and using blockchains to secure elections in Ghana . We have active working groups leading the discussion on topics such as: ehealth, connected vehicles, the use of AI in networks, cybersecurity, THz communications, new business models for next generation networks, 5G for rail systems, and the increasingly important subject of what comes next (whether you term it 6G or beyond 5G). It is important that developing countries can play a strong role in setting requirements and developing the vision. I send greetings to all our members and friends in India, who made us so welcome earlier this year, we look forward to continuing to work with you. Let’s commit ourselves on the occasion of this WTIS day to working together to bring technology and humanity closer together, promoting informed and inclusive debate, and supporting the Connect 2030 Agenda.