Tag Archives: International Telecommunication Union

Updates from ITU

COVID-19: How mobile phone contact tracing can save lives – and preserve privacy
ITU News – Contact tracing is a key public health response to limit infectious disease outbreaks such as the global COVID-19 pandemic.

More than ever, authorities worldwide are using the power of mobile technologies to help them understand and manage the spread of COVID-19.

GPS, Bluetooth, cellphone masts and AI-powered big data analytics are now being used in countries across the world to collect data that helps authorities improve these efforts and save lives.

But how can we preserve personal privacy and maintain public trust while using these technologies to perform crucial contact tracing?

Key experts discussed these issues on Friday in Episode 2 of the AI for Good Webinar Series: COVID-19 – Using mobile phones & AI for contact tracing while respecting privacy.

One central goal of contact tracing is to identify people who have come into close contact with people who have the virus, explained Reinhard Scholl, Deputy Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), as he kicked off the webinar.

“Is it possible to have both privacy and health?” asked Scholl. “The fear is that the short-term emergency measures that have been taken right now will stay long after the madness has passed.”

Indeed, many countries have felt the need to relax privacy laws during the crisis in order to use data to prevent the spread of COVID-19. more>

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Updates from ITU

UNESCO rallies international organizations, civil society and private sector partners in a broad Coalition to ensure #LearningNeverStops
By Clare O’Hagan – At a time of when 87% of the world’s student population is affected by COVID-19 school closures, UNESCO is launching a global education coalition to support countries in scaling up their best distance learning practices and reaching children and youth who are most at risk.

Over 1.5 billion learners in 165 countries are affected by COVID-19 school closures.

“Never before have we witnessed educational disruption on such a scale,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Partnership is the only way forward. This Coalition is a call for coordinated and innovative action to unlock solutions that will not only support learners and teachers now, but through the recovery process, with a principle focus on inclusion and equity.”

Since closing schools to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have been deploying distance learning solutions and grappling with the complexity of provisioning education remotely, from delivering content and supporting teachers to providing guidance to families and addressing connectivity challenges. Equity is the paramount concern because closures disproportionately hurt vulnerable and disadvantaged students who rely on schools for a range of social services, including health and nutrition.

“We must speed up the ways we share experience, and help the most vulnerable, whether or not they have internet access”, said Angelina Jolie, UN High Commission for Refugees Special Envoy, who partnered with UNESCO in the establishment of the Coalition. more>

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Updates from ITU

How can we ensure safety and public trust​ in AI for automated and assisted driving?
ITU News – Cars are becoming increasingly automated. Drivers already benefit from a wide range of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), such as lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and blind spot warning, which are gradually becoming standard features on most vehicles.

Today’s automated systems are taking over an increasing amount of responsibility for the driving task. It is expected that soon, sensors will take the place of human impulse, and artificial intelligence (AI) will substitute for human intelligence.

This process is defined through various level steps, from low levels of automation where the driver retains overall control of the vehicle in level 1, to a fully-autonomous system in level 5.

10 years ago, manufacturers predicted many cars on today’s roads would be fully automated, but it still remains a distant future for the automotive industry. At the recent Future Networked Car Symposium 2020 at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, top experts joined a panel entitled ‘AI for autonomous and assisted driving – how to ensure safety and public trust’ to discuss the progress and the prospects for vehicles that drive themselves – and how we might achieve this future. more>

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Updates from ITU

Transforming the driver experience: The connected technology under the hood of intelligent cars
By Amit Sachdeva – There was a time when any talk of a new car among enthusiasts or potential buyers revolved around engine power, fuel efficiency and the sleek design and finish.

Today, that same conversation has expanded to include sustainability and a connected experience.

Consumers expect every aspect of their life to be connected to the internet, so why should one’s car be any different? Automakers are aware of this and are responding by partnering with technology and B2B companies to find innovative ways to satisfy the demands of customers, and avoid being disrupted.

As a result, newer models with embedded Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and intelligent applications built-in are redefining the manufacturing landscape and the driving experience for consumers.

The surge in the global connected cars market not only impacts the auto industry, it also offers several opportunities for businesses – retailers, insurers, entertainment businesses and of course, the car makers themselves – to leverage the huge volumes of data generated and captured by connected cars to achieve new levels of customer loyalty and open up new revenue streams. more>

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Updates from ITU

How Mexico seeks to connect its rural citizens better: Arturo Robles
ITU News – In Mexico, 95.23 per cent of the population have a mobile-cellular subscription and 65.77 per cent of the population use the internet, according to ITU statistics.

Connecting the remaining population to the power of the internet, however, has been a challenge as many of the people who remain offline live in very isolated rural areas.

But thanks to successful connections with K-band satellites, commercial satellite operators are now finding profitable and feasible opportunities to provide connectivity in these remote villages, says Arturo Robles, Commissioner of Mexico’s Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT).

During an interview with ITU at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Mr. Robles also shared his hope that innovative services could help provide affordable rural connectivity solutions. more>

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Updates from ITU

Addressing challenges for teaching the Internet of Things
By Anna Forster – The Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the fastest growing fields and an increasing number of jobs require expertise in this field. Yet very few academic institutions offer targeted degrees in the field of IoT.

The Internet of Things is changing how we interact with the world around us. Connected smart watches can provide real-time insights into our health and wellbeing; smart home devices such as connected refrigerators and lights can increase energy efficiency; and connected streetlights can help to manage traffic flow during peak rush-hour.

As more devices become connected, we need to ensure that today’s students have the right skills to drive this technology forward.

Designing a curriculum to teach IoT can be a challenge, in part because IoT is not a stand-alone technology, scientific discipline or paradigm. Rather, it is a combination of existing and well-established fields, including communication networks, embedded programming, artificial intelligence and computer security.

Education professionals must find a way to combine these rather isolated fields together into a meaningful program, and to explore and teach their interactions. Additionally, students need to obtain practical experience.

Students must be equipped with the right tools and skills to keep up-to-date with the extremely fast pace of their field. The market is nowadays exploding with new products, technologies and standards; what they learn during their studies will surely be outdated by the time of their graduation.

Therefore, a successful IoT curriculum is built on three dimensions: technical content, soft skills and teaching paradigms. more>

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Updates from ITU

At Davos, UN Broadband Commission advocates for financing inclusive meaningful connectivity for sustainable impact

ITU – The ITU UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development examined new financing models that would help accelerate ‘meaningful universal connectivity’ on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Today, an estimated 3.6 billion people remain offline. The majority of the unconnected live in least developed countries, where an average of just two out of every ten people are online.

The Commissioners agreed that targeted efforts are needed to lower the cost of broadband, as well as innovative policies to finance the rollout of broadband infrastructure to unconnected populations. Collaboration among diverse stakeholders will be key to making universal and meaningful connectivity a reality for all.

“We are on the verge of a new era that requires quick, effective and innovative financing instruments to connect the remaining unconnected. The old ways can no longer work in this era and we can no longer afford having anyone left behind,” said Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, Republic of Rwanda, representing President Paul Kagame, who Co-Chairs the Commission. more>

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Updates from ITU

Mapping schools worldwide to bring Internet connectivity: the ‘GIGA’ initiative gets going
By Martin Schaaper – Recently, I participated in a training programme to learn ways to identify and map the location of a learning institution and the level of internet connectivity available.

Held in Jolly Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda, the training provided a great learning experience to understand what it takes to put schools on a map, from a technical perspective, and the available tools and software.

The ProjectConnect training was part of GIGA, a unique partnership launched by ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology and UNICEF, the UN Children’s agency. The project aims at mapping the connectivity of all existing schools as a step towards ensuring that every school is connected to fast and reliable internet.

Announced during the UN General Assembly meetings in September 2019, it is the vision of this initiative to ensure that every child is equipped with the information, skills and services they need to shape the future they want in the digital era.

Latest data from ITU indicate that up to 3.6 billion people remain offline, with the majority of the unconnected living in least developed countries where just two out of ten people are online. more>

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Updates from ITU

Futurecasters’ Summit – bringing the voice of youth to the global technology debate
By Doreen Bogdan-Martin – Involving young people is particularly important to the work of ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

Youth are natural adopters of technology. They are the ones who will inherit the world that technology is now shaping.

It is vital that we listen to their voices and to what they want from technology. It is vital that they become part of the solution to the challenges the world is facing.

The Futurecasters Global Young Visionaries Summit is hosted and co-organized by ITU and the Model UN program of Ferney-Voltaire, France.

The event is a program of youth-oriented consultations aimed at bringing the voices of young people to all major ITU development discussions and activities.

The Summit is built around the global success of the FerMUN Model UN led by the Lycée International Ferney Voltaire.

One of the very first bilingual Model UN programs in the world, FerMUN now regularly welcomes students and teachers from over 25 countries worldwide. more>

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Updates from ITU

WRC‑19: Enabling global radiocommunications for a better tomorrow
By Mario Maniewicz – ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC‑19) is playing a key role in shaping the technical and regulatory framework for the provision of radiocommunication services in all countries, in space, air, at sea and on land. It will help accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is providing a solid foundation to support a variety of emerging technologies that are set to revolutionize the digital economy, including the use of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services.

Every three to four years the conference revises the Radio Regulations (RR), the only international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The treaty’s provisions regulate the use of telecommunication services and, where necessary, also regulate new applications of radiocommunication technologies.

The aim of the regulation is to facilitate equitable access and rational use of the limited natural resources of the radio-frequency spectrum and the satellite orbits, and to enable the efficient and effective operation of all radiocommunication services. more>

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