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ITU Telecom World 2015 accelerates global ICT innovation to help improve lives

Event provided unique international platform to hold dialogue, exchange
and exhibit ideas, forge partnerships between government, industry and SMEs

Budapest, 15 October 2015 – ITU Telecom World 2015 closed its doors today at Hungexpo, Budapest following an exceptional week of dialogue, debate, networking and showcasing. The event, which welcomed over 4,000 participants from 129 countries this week, brought together an impressive line-up of top-level government representatives, leaders of industry –  from established players to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and young start-ups, from emerging and developed markets – along with high-level representatives of international organizations, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and academia. Among these were over 235 ICT leaders from around the world.

The exhibition included big names, countries and SMEs from across the world. Some 50 countries, regions and their SMEs were represented including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Indonesia, Kenya, Republic of Korea, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, and Zimbabwe. Gabon, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda came together within the Smart Africa zone on the show floor.

Top global exhibitors and sponsors participating included Airtel, Alibaba, ATDI, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Ericsson, Etisalat Nigeria, GEW Technologies, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, KT, LS telcom, Magyar Telekom, Microwave Vision Group, Rohde and Schwarz, Sonatel-Orange, TDIA, UPC and ZTE.

The Event Opening day, which took place in the presence of H.E János Áder, President of Hungary and H.E Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s Prime Minister, was preceded by the launch of a special commemorative stamp issued by Magyar Posta, on the occasion of ITU’s 150th anniversary.

“This week we have marked the 150th anniversary of the foundation of ITU, hosted by Hungary – one of our original 20 founding members. We have also marked the first step in ITU’s new focus; to provide an international platform for SMEs, governments and major industry players to connect, share views, challenges and experiences and hold meaningful dialogues,” said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao. “Together, with all these stakeholders, we have explored how SMEs are the engine for much innovation, where their ability to take risks and move fast can be key. We hope that now this will lead to a greater cross-pollination of ideas and forging of new relationships between SMEs, governments and established ICT players to help scale and deliver innovative solutions globally, and improve lives.”

"ICT and telecommunication play a crucial role in Hungary's economy, thus hosting ITU Telecom World this year was a great opportunity for our domestic companies. Innovation is the bridge to the future, and due to this event the Hungarian start-ups and relevant corporations have been linked more intensively into the global ecosystem. The Next Generation Day provided an astonishing example of the creativity of the experts of the future,” said H.E. Miklós Seszták, Hungary’s Minister of National Development.

Spotlight on global innovation

The event’s core themes of accelerating innovation for social impact and they ways in which SMEs are driving this innovation were in evidence throughout the event.

A total of 238 exhibitors made their mark at ITU Telecom World’s exhibition space. National Pavilions and world-famous technology brands demonstrated their innovation and talents alongside start-ups and SMEs from across the world. 

“Intel believes that driving innovation is an essential goal for government and businesses from all around the world. Solving global problems starts with affordable access, active use of technology and capacity building. Therefore we are supporting great ideas and programmes – such as the Young Innovators Competition – that bring together young innovators and give them the chance to present themselves to the international audience at this event,” said Gordon Graylish, Vice President and General Manager, Governments and World Ahead, Intel Corporation and a key ITU Telecom World 2015 participant and speaker.

The event showcased sponsored sessions from KT, GTI, China Mobile and TDIA, Japan’s MIAC, Huawei and Intel, covering a range of different areas from 5G-enabled applications to TD-LTE, the future potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), industry policy hotspots and trends and technological innovation, as well as tackling the global challenge of youth unemployment.

A number of activities and social events helped participants meet, network and connect throughout the week, including the Opening Ceremony, the Leaders Lunch, a vibrant Welcome Reception, the Smart Africa Panel Lunch discussion hosted by Uganda on behalf of the SMART Africa countries, Nigeria Night, the Gabon networking lunch and the Enterprise Europe Networking matchmaking event.

Over 140 media accredited from 21 countries to learn more and speak to the Heads of State, entrepreneurs and industry figureheads representing the ICT community. Press announcements kept the focus on innovation, an example being Argentina’s ARSAT and AFTIC space satellite programme, which reached a milestone as it moved its second satellite into position 36,000 kilometres from the earth during the event. Workshops, cocktails and on-stand demonstrations kept a flow of visitors involved and entertained on the lively show floor.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to be present with such a great number of like-minded individuals, and for an SME like us, it gives us a wonderful insight to see what our counterparts and peers are coming up with, and of course the main value is to network and gather as much experience and knowledge as we can in these few days,” said Maté Toth, business developer with the company Personal Video, and showfloor participant at the event.

Smart ICTs for Sustainable Development

ITU’s own Smart ICTs for Sustainable Development Pavilion, led by the organization’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, was one of the hubs of the showfloor, with a packed programme of activities. Daily presentations were held at the Pavilion’s Speaker’s Corner on diverse subjects such as drones and innovation for agriculture; healthy lives and well-being through e-health; ‘smart cities’; the power of mobile technologies for sustainable development; and how e-commerce requires new flexible, secure and user friendly solutions for digital financial services. At the country level, Estonia shared its success in e-governance, explaining how its government Cabinet is now working 100% digital and paperless, while Egypt highlighted its efforts to use ICT for empowering persons with disabilities.

In parallel, the Pavilion featured more than 20 Exhibition Pods from a wide range of stakeholders including Bupa health care, Kyushu University in Japan, Grameen Intel Social Business Ltd, Inmarsat and Intervale. A number of Co-creation Sessions were held for show participants, who had the chance to join in-depth discussions on new ideas for harnessing ICTs for sustainable development.

Leadership Summit and Forum

Some 247 speakers from 62 countries took part in plenaries, panel debates, workshops, high-level roundtables and networking sessions in the Forum and at the Leadership Summit. Speakers, who spanned leaders of government, industry, SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators, the initiatives supporting them, international organizations and academia, provided truly global perspectives and viewpoints, from developed and developing countries.

Discussions launched with the Leadership Summit, on 12 October, which brought highly influential participants together to share views and debate how best to accelerate ICT innovation, open up the digital economy to all the world’s citizens, and work together to enable digital entrepreneurship as a driving force for socio-economic development.

Sessions moderated by leading media included the Leadership Summit Opening, moderated by Jeremy Wilks of Euronews, and the Forum plenary on Bridging the innovation divide: accelerators, incubators and fostering national technology champions, moderated by BBC’s Dan Simmons. World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Alex Wong moderated a plenary session on Reaching the last mile: innovative solutions to remaining connectivity issues, and WEF also took the occasion to hold a high-level meeting at the event.

Forum discussions covered hot topics such as 5G, IoT, reaching the last mile, optimal spectrum usage, redesigning public service, scaling ICT entrepreneurship, big data and trust. Conversations at the event extended around the world with over 2,255 tweets by 839 contributors reaching over eight million people.

Crucial dialogue

Dialogue between government and start-ups, and between established industry players and SMEs, took centre stage at the event, with dedicated sessions enabling these players to connect and examine issues in-depth. SMEs from Ghana, Nigeria and the Middle East spoke with Minsters and international organizations from around the world about the challenges they each face, and how to best create a fertile environment where entrepreneurship can flourish. The SME and Industry dialogue saw an interactive exchange between on how both sides of the industry can work together and the best steps to help foster innovation.

The Business-to-Government (B2G) dialogue wrapped up with the launch by ITU Secretary-General of the Emerge Partnership, designed to facilitate public-private collaboration. Large multinationals, start-ups and SMEs outlined key priorities and requirements for government policy-makers to provide a vital enabling environment for innovation and private enterprise.

The Ministerial Roundtable, which convened representatives from around the world, closed with the endorsement of the Budapest Call for Action emphasizing the importance of fostering innovation entrepreneurship and inviting all stakeholders to implement innovative solutions, technologies and partnerships aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring global connectivity for all.

Young Innovators Competition

The inspirational Young Innovators Competition winners showcased their technologies, pitched ideas and took part in an action-packed programme of activities, workshops and collaborations aimed at accelerating innovation. They also took part in the Acceleration Platform, a specially-designed day of dialogues between government, industry and SMEs, including capacity-building, networking and pitching sessions for competition winners and SMEs participating at the event.

“The skills we are learning, and connections we are making at ITU Telecom World 2015 this week are going to change how I work. I always knew what I was looking to do as an entrepreneur, but this has shown me the best ways of how to do it. After this, I'm sure that we will be able to make an even bigger change for the young people we work with,” said Silvia Dusa, CEO RandomStartup, 2015 Young Innovators Competition Winner.

Next steps for the Young Innovators Programme include a challenge on applying technology to improve lives of refugees, launched in cooperation with GIZ and a challenge with SAP acting on the mandate of the SAP University Alliances programme, which was announced at the event.

Next Generation Day

On the closing day of the event, ITU, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of National Development of Hungary jointly organized an open day entitled Next Generation Day for university students, young entrepreneurs and ICT professionals.

From short presentations through guided tours of ITU Telecom World 2015 to interactive workshops, the young visitors enjoyed a wide range of activities. The Hungarian Pavilion was bustling with activity, showcasing some of the best Hungarian entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves not only nationally, but also all around the world. In the workshop area the Global Shapers and NESsT organised a World Café and panel discussion on the possible role of technology in social change. MMCluster organized a string of workshops covering a range of topics and formats at its HITS@ITU Pavilion. The Programme also included a ‘town-hall meeting’ with keynote speech from H.E. Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

Inaugural ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Awards 2015

The Closing Ceremony of the event also saw the much-awaited announcement of the winners of the ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Awards 2015. In keeping with ITU Telecom World’s focus on fostering ICT-based SMEs and digital entrepreneurship, this year’s event introduced these awards, recognizing the most innovative and promising SMEs and initiatives using ICTs for social impact.

Three awards were presented: the People’s Choice Award, as voted by event participants via the Event App; the National Award celebrating Hungarian innovation and ingenuity; and the ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Award for the best SMEs and initiatives exhibiting at the Event as selected by an expert jury.

This year’s award winners were:

People’s Choice Award

  • SonicTier Inc.

National Award

  • Codie Labs
  • Shiwaforce.com
  • Exuberant Group

ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Award

  • Dot Incorporation
  • M-Shamba
  • Practech LLC
  • Totohealth

Speaking on winning the ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Award, Khalid Al Nasser, Founder & CEO, Practech said: “It gives us a sense of validation, knowing how to benchmark yourself, knowing how we can build on what happens after. It is great for us and our team as well so we know that we are on the right track. This is important for us, we are open to new ideas and opinions and seeing that being validated is huge.”

A recognition of excellence was awarded to the very best of the SMEs and Pavilions exhibiting at the event:

  • Federal Authority for Information and Communication Technologies (AFTIC), Argentina Pavilion
  • Bethclip, Azerbaijan Pavilion
  • Aliyun Computing Co. Ltd, China Pavilion
  • Iroley Smart City, Djibouti Pavilion
  • Logiscool, Hungary Pavilion
  • GyanSetu - Centre for Development of Telematics, India Pavilion
  • Japan Battery Regeneration, Inc, Japan Pavilion
  • Toto Health, Kenya Pavilion
  • Irience, Korea Pavilion
  • Padoko Technologies, Malawi Pavilion
  • Cooltoon Ltd, Rwanda Pavilion
  • The Centennial Fund, Saudi Arabia Pavilion
  • Jokko$ante, Senegal Pavilion
  • Carl TV project /DBTI, Tanzania Pavilion
  • Jaguza Livestock App, Uganda Pavilion

The awards were presented at the event’s closing ceremony in the presence of H.E. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, H.E. István Mikola, Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and H.E. Mr. Ákos Kara, Minister of State for Info-communication and Consumer Protection of the Ministry of National Development.

m-powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model

As part of the pre-event programme, the Third Advisory Board Meetings of the m-Powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) Initiatives* were held on the eve of ITU Telecom World 2015 on 11 October. The Advisory Boards reviewed the reports prepared by the SSDM Task Forces and the m-Powering Working groups during the past year. The reports focus on advocacy efforts, global dialogue, innovation and resource mobilization. The boards also discussed future activities, which will be based around promoting the benefits of mobile technology for sustainable development and strengthening the relation between ICT for development (ICT4D) and ICT for disaster management (ICT4DM).  The meetings marked the end of the first cycle of the Advisory Boards, with the composition of the new boards to be announced soon.  

ITU Telecom 2015 numbers at a glance

  • Over 4,000 total participants from 129 countries
  • 239 leaders
  • 247 speakers from 62 countries
  • 142 accredited media from 21 countries
  • 238 exhibitors from 54 countries
  • 23 Pavilions
  • 49 partners and sponsors

* Note to editors:

The m-Powering Development Initiative is designed to create a resource and an action plan to deploy ICT services, from m-Health, m-Learning, m-Governance to m-Commerce and m-Sport. The Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative (SSDM) seeks to ensure that information and communication technologies are used for both development and for disaster management with the aim of improving the lives of millions of people across the globe.

For more information, please contact:

Lucy George
Media Coordinator,
ITU Telecom World 2015
mobile +36 70 683 1434
email lucy.george@itu.int 
Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
tel +41 22 730 6135
mobile +41 79 599 1439
mobile +36 70 683 1433 Local Mobile
email sarah.parkes@itu.int   
Alfons Pich
Media Coordinator,
ITU Telecom World 2015
mobile +36 70 683 1454
email alfons.pich@itu.int  

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