021_G18_InSight_GlobalSociety

Global_18

Global Insight Information Society Cyber crime is a cat and mouse game, with criminals and software developers constantly trying to gain the upper hand The MDG on ensuring environmental sustainability spans a wide range of targets, from the provision of safe drinking water and basic sanitation, to protecting biodiversity and improving the lives of slum-dwellers. In many of these areas, broadband networks are a vital link. For example, so-called ‘smart’ electricity grids make it easier for locally-generated electricity – including that from renewable sources – to be integrated, stored and shared as demand fluctuates. Broadband can also help local farmers and fishermen by delivering weather forecasts directly to their mobile phones and providing information on sustainable farming techniques. Working lives are being changed by broadband. The need to travel to an office, and the pollution caused by transport, is reduced by videoconferencing or tele-working. Innovative projects are also improving the lives of slum-dwellers – for example in Brazil, India and Kenya – through providing access to employment and training. Broadband gives small businesses the opportunity to participate in e-commerce, and can also give a voice to less wealthy communities, helping empower people to improve their own lives. The eighth and final MDG is to “develop a global partnership for development”. It is, perhaps, the most fundamental of all the goals, because it enables progress towards all the other goals. Developing such a global partnership is a basic element of our work at ITU. Because we understand the incredible potential of broadband, in 2010 we launched the Broadband Commission for Digital Development to help move broadband to the top of the political agenda. The commission comprises 60 top-level leaders in their field, representing governments, industry, academia and international agencies. It is co-chaired by Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Carlos Slim Helú, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, with Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, and myself serving as co-vice-chairs.The commission has defined a vision for accelerating the deployment of broadband networks worldwide, with the aim of improving the delivery of services across a huge range of social and business sectors, and accelerating progress towards the MDGs. Part of ITU’s remit is to develop technical standards to ensure that networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect. Can you tell us how that work is progressing? ITU remains the key global developer of the technical standards that support universal interoperability across networks, devices and applications. Recent milestones include approval of a new standard for online video, called ITU-T (ITU Telecommunications Standardization Sector) Recommendation H.265. The successor to ITU-T H.264, the standard that is already used for 80 per cent of video online, H.265 for video codecs uses 50 per cent less bandwidth to provide comparable quality. Another major achievement – this time in the area of broadband – is the imminent global approval of ITU-T Recommendations for G.fast, creating a new broadband standard that can deliver 1 Gbps over copper cabling, enabling operators to make the most use of existing networks. ITU-T’s continued work on technologies that bring fibre closer to the home is helping drive the accelerated rollout of superfast broadband around the world. A key milestone for global e-health standardisation was achieved in December last year with the publication of ITU-T H.810, a standard that gives interoperability design guidelines for personal health systems. In response to the growing challenge of climate change, ITU is also leading work on a set of standardised methodologies for monitoring, highlighting and – ultimately – reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of ICT devices. One example is ITU’s standard for a one-size-fits-all universal mobile phone charger – new versions are now being published that extend the concept to tablets, static ICT devices and laptops. And, finally, in the fast-growing area of mobile, the radio-interface specifications for IMT-Advanced and satellite IMT-Advanced have now been approved, paving the way for the mobile and satellite industries to roll out 4G and 5G. global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 21


Global_18
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