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As ITU Council 2017 gathers steam, here are your key ICT trends this week: Experts warn of more cyberattacks in the wake of 'WannaCrypt', China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative could improve lives on a massive scale through ICT infrastructure investments -- and can the Thai government help deliver low-cost broadband for every village in Thailand by the end of 2018? Read on.


ITU Newsletter
ITU Council 2017 launched this week with new ITU Council Chair Eva Spina presiding. Keep up to date on all the goings-on - including webcasts, documents and photos - here

ICT Trends

Global cyberattack: Experts warn more attacks could follow the global ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware attack that has already infected over 200,000 people in over 150 countries, including the UK’s NHS infrastructure.The attack caused Microsoft President Brad Smith to renew calls for a digital version of the Geneva Convention. But will this act as a wake-up call for government IT infrastructures, and how can businesses better protect themselves? Meanwhile, the attack has seen shares in cybersecurity firms soar.

Investments in content: Social media music company Smule raised USD 54 million in a financing round led by China’s Tencent, to expand its foothold in Southeast Asia, a region Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith says  “is very important to the future of the internet.” Tencent’s increasingly diverse portfolio highlights a global investment strategy that responds to big trends, as global tech companies push to benefit from a growth in multimedia mobile content. [ITU News recently met up with a local-content entrepreneur who is expanding his mobile services in Southeast Asia.]


Infrastructure: As China embarks on its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade initiative, major investments in ICT infrastructure will be a key driver for both business growth and sustainable development, says ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao. Meanwhile, Silk Ventures launched a new USD 500 million ‘digital accelerator’ venture capital fund, backed 50% by the Chinese government. It will largely focus on deep tech and science, and “industry 4.0 technologies”. [ITU News recently saw how investment in tech can help save young lives in a rural hospital in India.]  


  • Digital Finance: Alipay is now accepted in 4 million stores across the US with broader international expansion plans underway. Meanwhile, ITU has just created a new focus group to investigate digital currency, including digital fiat currency. [Watch the new ITU News video of how digital payments are changing millions of lives in rural India.]
  • Competition: Idea Cellular, India’s third-largest mobile operator, had its first annual loss since its IPO in 2007. The company is facing tough competition from disruptive newcomer, Reliance Jio Infocomm.
  • Connectivity: The Thai government plans to extend low-cost broadband access to every village in Thailand by the end of 2018, concentrating on areas where there is no commercial potential for private companies to roll out networks.
  • Google: I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, will take place from Wednesday to Friday. Here is a run-down of what to expect
  • Auto: Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.25 million trucks due to a software error that could potentially disable the side airbag and seat belt locking mechanism when a vehicle rolls over during a crash. [Learn more about ITU-T’s new work stream to coordinate the development of security standards for intelligent transport systems.]
  • AI: Facebook’s new AI translation tech could connect more people to relevant content. Facebook claims the tech is nine times faster than current AI-powered translation systems. Meanwhile, chatbots are projected to help service industries - especially healthcare and banking - save over USD 8 billion a year by 2022. [Register now for the AI for Social Good Global Summit.]
  • Don’t miss! ITU celebrates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on May 17. This year, we look at ‘Big Data for Big Impact’, focusing on how to turn complex data into actionable information for development. You can find expert insights on our blog.


What is the key to Elon Musk’s success? Maths. That is the conclusion that Michael J. Coren drew recently.

How home tech can empower People with Disabilities Assistive technology such as Apple’s ‘HomeKit’ can control a variety of smart accessories in the home, all controlled through Siri. Chiara Sottile explored what this meant for a quadriplegic and his family.  

Keep up to date with ITU


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

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

- WSIS Forum 2017; Geneva, Switzerland​, ​​​12-16 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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