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Here are your key ICT trends this week: New 'Industrial IoT' partnerships aim to boost 'smart manufacturing,' Facebook prepares for a foray into TV and can SpaceX get its satellite-for-broadband plans off the ground?


ITU Newsletter
Dubai-based 'edtech' entrepreneurs meet local needs Local startups, such as Asafeer Education Technologies, are providing online learning resources focusing on enhancing Arabic literacy skills. ITU News learns more.

ICT Trends

Satellites: SpaceX will begin on-orbit tests later this year for plans to launch 4,000 LEO satellites to provide broadband services to underserved communities in the USA and beyond, but several regulatory and engineering hurdles remain.

IoT & 'smart manufacturing': Consumer IoT (Internet of Things) tends to dominate headlines, but 'Industrial IoT' is gathering steam with more new partnerships, including an MoU between the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI) a 'Smart Factory' collaboration between Huawei and Toshiba


The new TV: Facebook is reportedly now scouting Hollywood producers ahead of its expected foray into original TV content. This follows moves by Apple, which has similar plans for original content, and Twitter, which just announced new content partnerships. Local players are also hoping to compete with Netflix, such as South African-based Discover Digital, and China-based, which just raised USD 60 million to challenge Facebook Live.

AI: Singapore just launched AI.SG, backed with USD 107 million, to invest in the next wave of innovation to solve ‘real-world’ problems. Meanwhile, Microsoft Ventures added to its growing AI portfolio, investing in two AI startups, Agolo and Bonsai. And Facebook and NVIDIA will work to advance AI through Caffe2, a new open-source AI deep learning framework. [In the lead up to ITU’s AI for Good Global Summit from 7 - 9 June, Amir Banifatemi looks at how we can prepare for an AI-driven society.]  


  • Digital finance: Transactions via ApplePay grew by 450% over the past year due, in part, to expansion into 15 new international markets. [ITU News recently chronicled how India's low-cost, scalable model for financial inclusion is changing lives on a massive scale.]
  • WiFi: Facebook will launch 20,000 ‘Express WiFi’ hotspots across India in partnership with Bharti Airtel. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R. S. Sharma recently told ITU News that the country needs “at least a million, so I think there is huge scope for increasing these WiFi hotspots.”
  • Digital transformation: Mexico commissioned Cisco develop an analytics tool to ensure that citizens have access to broadband through the Mexico Conectado project, which aims to bring free Internet to low income populations. The tool aims to help the government “with intelligent decision-taking according to the real needs of the users”. 
  • 5G: Ooredo Qatar CEO says ‘5G speeds’ will be ready by 2018, adding that the company has already started reducing network latency to 1ms, the baseline 5G standard specified by ITU. [Stay tuned for the next ITU News Magazine issue on 5G!]
  • Robots in space: Made In Space revealed a video rendering of its larger Archinaut system, a factory in the sky operated by autonomous robots! Could this usher in the era of true commercial space utilization, as the company hopes?
  • And finally, seed-funding for 'baby tech' Startups with baby- and toddler-focused business models have produced some high-return exits and attracted active seed investment, raising over USD 260 million in the past two years. 


Rebooting antitrust for the information age The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. A new approach to competition and antitrust is needed in the ‘data economy’ before it becomes dominated by a few giants, argues The Economist.

Innovation and success: lessons from Netflix In 2007, Netflix completely reinvented its business model to become the dominant player in video-on-demand streaming services worldwide. Joel Ko Hyun Sik looks at how Chinese electronics company, Xiaomi, could replicate this success to recover from falling sales growth. 

Keep up to date with ITU


- 22nd Meeting of TDAG; Geneva, Switzerland, 9-12 May 2017 

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day; Global, 17 May 2017

AI for Good Global Summit; Geneva, Switzerland, 7-9 June 2017  


- New blogs! Read interviews with industry leaders, insights into the latest tech news and other ICT stories from around the world on the ITU Blog

- New videos! On ITU’s YouTube channel

- Read the latest ITU News Magazine here

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