Good morning everyone, selamat bagi
On behalf of ITU, it is a great pleasure for me to be here today to welcome you to this ITU-T Workshop on Bridging the Standardization Gap as well as the following Interactive Training Session.
I wish to express deep gratitude to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for agreeing to host this event, here, in this great hub of ICTs - Cyberjaya.
Malaysia is putting itself firmly on the map as a regional political and economic centre, due to its pro-active response to the challenges of globalization and its embrace of the fast evolution of information and communications technologies (ICTs). Cyberjaya is an excellent example of what can be achieved with political will and private enterprise.
The spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that is embodied here is reflected in the belief that ICTs can lead to a better life for all.
ICTs are seen as a key way to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Asia-Pacific region spans some of the world’s most sophisticated telecommunications and ICT markets with some of the highest levels of ICT penetration in the world.
Penetration of ICTs continues to increase rapidly across the region.
However we must also meet the challenge of providing connectivity to some of the less developed and less populated areas, to bridge the digital divide in this most geographically and culturally diverse region.
Standards are one of the most important tools that we have to address the digital divide. Global standards avoid costly market battles over preferred technologies, and for companies from emerging markets, they create a level playing field which provides access to new markets.
They are an essential aid to developing countries in building their infrastructure and encouraging economic development. Through economies of scale, they can reduce costs for all: manufacturers, operators and consumers.
Increasing the participation of developing countries in the standardization process - bridging the standardization gap - will help to reduce the wider digital divide. One of the key causes of the digital divide is unequal access to technologies. Participation in the standardization process ensures that developing countries’ voices are heard and that their requirements are taken into account in the development of new technologies.
Over the last few years we have introduced a number of new initiatives to encourage participation, Forums such as this being one example. We have also been encouraging members to host meetings in the regions, and have established a fund to assist hosts with the cost of doing so, as well as to provide eligible members with fellowships to attend the meetings.
For some time now we have also been using new collaboration tools allowing remote participation in our meetings. Also, many regional groups have now been established that follow the work of a particular study group.
A significant development in closing the standardization gap was the agreement in 2007 to make available ITU-T Recommendations for downloading free of charge.
Before we made standards free we could count the number of downloads in the thousands. Today we count them in the millions.
Clearly this makes a significant contribution to bridging the standardization gap.
As for implementation of ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations), a complaint I hear often, especially from developing countries, is that there is no way of being sure that a vendor’s equipment follows the ITU Recommendations.
To this end, I am pleased to report that we now have a pilot version of a conformity database. The database will record information provided by companies on conformity of their products to ITU-T Recommendations.
In addition we have established a calendar of “informal” interoperability events. The first such interoperability event is to take place on 20-23 July 2010, in Geneva to test ITU-T’s standards for IPTV.
We are also working on the implementation of human resources capacity building events. Events are planned for Quito (Ecuador) and Nairobi (Kenya).
And finally we are assisting in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted in Tanzania.
Here in Cyberjaya, we will open the platform to discuss and share our goals and needs, trends and challenges, related to challenges in global standardization. I am sure we will hear more on this topic of conformity and interoperability.
We will also discuss the framework and implementation of standards; how to participate in ITU-T activity and crucially three sessions will examine real life experiences of standards implementations.
And so you can really get a feel of what it’s like to participate in an ITU-T meeting Gary Fishman a former chair of ITU-T’s Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) will host a simulated Study Group meeting.
This should be an excellent opportunity to see how a meeting operates, and how to use the tools and techniques available for participants and chairmen.
Once more, I wish to thank the MCMC, and wish everyone a successful and fruitful outcome of this workshop.
Thank you for your attention