Telecom Review continued its dedication & commitment to the ICT industry and exceeded all expectations with holding the best and largest high level executives of ICT gathering. These awards recognize industry leaders for their efficiency and hard work in 2016, and are a special way for Telecom Review to help celebrate the winner’s success.

This year there were 167 nominations for the Telecom Review Excellence Awards. We want to thank all of the judges who worked tirelessly on reviewing and judging the nominees.

Winners were chosen based on recognized and demonstrated capabilities in their specific sector by an independent panel of 15 experienced industry veterans.

“This year’s award winners represent the absolute best in our industry and we are very proud to honor these winners with such a distinguished award,” said Toni Eid, CEO of Trace Media International.

Etisalat, winners of the ‘Best Middle Eastern Operator’ currently has operations in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, providing 162m customers with high quality services and is the largest operator in the Middle East, by market cap. 4G services are already available in 11 of the countries where it operates, enabling 790 million people potential access to its latest network services, while in 2016 Etisalat was the first in the region to run live trials of the next gen 5G network. Investment in an advanced network infrastructure has enabled the UAE to remain a global leader in fiber optic connectivity.

Commenting on the gathering of Industry Leaders, Jeff Seal, Managing Partner of Telecom Review North America noted: “Once again Telecom Review has brought together the leaders of the ICT/telecom industry.”

About Telecom REVIEW

Telecom Review is a leading publisher of English, Arabic and French magazines that cover a broad spectrum of issues that interest the modern and educated reader. Building on the expertise and skills of its management team, reporters, contributors and media professionals, Telecom Review strives to provide its readers with quality reporting through research, analysis and insightful articles rich in content and style.

ITU Telecom World 2016 launched proceedings, welcoming influential participants from public and private sectors and across the ICT industry, including SMEs, from around the world.

Proceedings began with the Opening Ceremony, in the presence of H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Kingdom of Thailand, Chan-o-cha Prayut, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Thailand and Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union.

Addressing an audience of event participants and special guests which included Heads of State and Ministers, Heads of UN Agencies, Regulators and industry leaders (in order of speaking), Chan-o-cha Prayut, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Thailand outlined key components of the event, including highlights of the Thailand Pavilion and the Event's core focus on collaboration, the digital economy and SMEs, noting the "Thai government and ITU have placed emphasis on the cooperation of entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-up groups."

Acknowledging his appreciation for H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's most valuable and committed support for ICTs, in particular for social development, ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao noted Thailand's remarkable progress in ICT developments. Mr. Zhao extended his sincere condolences to the Royal family and the Thai people and voiced his hope that the event, with its focus on development through the digital economy, will in some small way be able to contribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's work and legacy.

H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn officially opened the Event, noting how it offers "investment opportunities for SMEs and start-ups which help accelerate economic growth in many countries."

Forum Opening
Collaborating in the digital economy with a specific focus on the key role of SMEs in the digital ecosystem was the theme that kicked of the ITU Telecom World Forum Debate. The opening session provided unique and powerful perspectives from heads of state, government and international organizations worldwide.

Taking to the floor first, Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union, spoke of the importance of ICTs as enablers, noting that "Within the ICT industry, it is the innovative small and medium enterprises - tech SMEs - that are key to industry disruption, to job creation, and to the technological innovations that are taking the industry forward."

Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, Luxembourg, spoke of the transformation currently underway in this digital era, and the tremendous potential impact which we cannot afford to miss. "None of us can afford to miss the train. In Luxembourg we consider impact of digital as a huge opportunity to create value and make the world a better place."

Speaking of the opportunities and challenges the fast-changing and evolving ICT ecosystem holds for Vanuatu, Mr. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister and Minister responsible for ICT and Telecommunications added "We value learning from experiences of other countries, and note synergies and cost efficiencies that could be achieved in designing, implementing, or advocating certain initiatives on a regional or international level."

Crown Prince Tupouto'a' Ulukalala of the Kingdom of Tonga outlined the importance of inspiring collaboration, explaining how ITU Telecom World itself, "This annual flagship event has inspired Tonga as the first Pacific country to liberalize its telecoms sector in 2002. In a short time the benefits were realized."

Prajin Juntong, Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Kingdom of Thailand, spoke of taking inspiration from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's many innovative ICT projects and legacy, ensuring that "ICT is not for those who can afford it but we must allow those who are most in need to benefit from it to not be left behind."

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) commended the unique strengths of the event, providing dialogue between international organizations and the private sector to "collectively identify opportunities and challenges." He also took the opportunity to inform delegates that UNCTAD was today joining the EQUALS initiative, which aims to tackle the gender digital divide.

Commending ITU as a "platform to manage the emerging digital ecosystem," Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates, challenged delegates, as they began the week's debates, with topical questions such as "Can we ignore the value of collaboration?" or "Are we making sure we are applying enough innovation?"

Following the Forum Opening, debates began in earnest with the Leadership Summit, which convened highest-level experts from public and private sectors to explore why working together is so important for growing the digital economy.

During the 4 days of the event, Forum sessions will delve into an exciting set of topics such as artificial intelligence, how ICTs can meet the UN's Sustainable development goals (SDGs), intelligent transport systems and autonomous (driverless) vehicles, digital financial inclusion and fintech and financial incentives to invest in the global roll out of ICT infrastructure, collaborative innovation and the tech-SME ecosystem.

Parallel to the Forum, the Exhibition will showcase digital solutions and investment opportunities from governments and industry from both emerging and developed markets, including tech-SMEs.

During the week, participants will be able to learn more on the ITU Telecom World Awards,recognizing excellence and innovation in ICT solutions with social impact from SMEs and corporates alike. Winners will be announced during the closing ceremony on 17 November.

ITU Telecom World 2016 will also provide perspectives from across ITU and its membership and partners, with a host of exciting co-hosted events from across the ITU community.

It will also include a number of important agreements and contracts signed between Governments, Regulatory bodies and the private sector.

Public and private sectors across the ICT industry gathered here in Bangkok to talk about collaboration while Chinese ICT giant Huawei asks for a better connected world during the ITU Telecom World 2016.

In the forum section followed by an opening ceremony on Monday morning, participants expressed their opinions about the ICT industry development.

"Within the ICT industry, it is the innovative small and medium enterprises tech SMEs that are key to industry disruption, to job creation, and to the technological innovations that are taking the industry forward," said Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of International Telecommunication Union.

Prajin Juntong, Thai deputy prime Minister and acting minister of Digital Economy and Society emphasized that "ICT is not for those who can afford it but we must allow those who are most in need to benefit from it to not be left behind."

Besides these forums, many telecom carriers and ICT enterprises set up pavilions to show their latest technology and ideas during the 5-day event.

Chinese ICT giant Huawei pavilion shows its latest ideas and experiences in cloud, national broadband networks, ultra-fast wireless communications, and smart devices.

In the pavilion, Huawei showed how cloud can make our world connected in the future.

People can unlock the door of their house with a click on smartphones and control other furnitures and equipments at home in the same way, governments can be connected with their people and thus service their people better, patients health data from birth are all in a cloud for doctors to refer to, data of every motor vehicle is in a cloud for traffic police and hospitals to follow in case of an emergency, and for insurance companies to check In order to achieve such a connected digital society, the company suggests countries around the world to make their ICT regulation less restrictive, but more comprehensive.

The company says every country should be building more digital infrastructure to fuel a high quality economic transformation and long-term, sustainable growth.

"Data centers and broadband networks are a vital part of the national information infrastructure. Huawei is committed to building a better connected world, and we believe that for any developing nation or region seeking dramatic development, it is vital for them to use the levers of policy, to coordinate on standards and to accelerate infrastructure developments," said Zou Zhilei, president of Huawei's Carrier Business Group.

Zou added that "Huawei is now a leading provider of global ICT solutions and the company is ready to work with all nations to develop their broadband capacity."

With a developed broadband capacity, the future society that Huawei described is a one with ubiquitous sensors, ubiquitous connectivity, and ubiquitous intelligence.

Ericsson's Group chief technology officer, Ulf Ewaldsson, has identified five key technology trends that will stimulate innovation within the ICT industry in 2017, creating new value streams for consumers, industries and society.

Keeping up with the relentless pace of change in the ICT industry is a daily challenge for modern tech companies. The key to long-term success lies in the ability to understand change almost before it occurs and seize the opportunity to shape evolving technologies.

"Tech companies often gain competitive advantage by causing market disruption through their ability to understand and act on technology trends. Like waves in the ocean, it's much easier to ride these trends if you can see them coming and read them right. But of course, true technology leadership happens when you start making your own waves. As I see it, there are five key technology trends that will stimulate innovation within the ICT industry in the coming year, creating new value streams for consumers, industries and society. All five pivots around a technology-enabled business ecosystem made possible through a universal, horizontal and multipurpose communications platform," said Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson group technology officer.

"Operators have digital transformation as part of their business agenda whether as network enablers, service creators or even service enablers. Throughout the transformation, they are always looking for ways that could help them best optimize their business, acquire licenses in some countries, divest or consolidate. We need to see what fits them better. We need to be sensitive to their needs and plans. Second, understanding our customers' culture is very critical. In different parts of the world, operators conduct business in different ways. We need to understand that, and we respect the sensitivity of that issue. Our jobs are to share our experiences and be the advisor of the Digital Transformation agenda, make sure that there are synergies, they feel comfortable and that they can talk to us and trust us. This is something that we have to learn and build," said Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa.

According to Ewaldsson, the five key technology trends that will stimulate innovation within the ICT industry in 2017 are:

#1: Spreading intelligence throughout the cloud
Connected smart machines, such as robots and autonomous vehicles, are fundamental to the evolving Networked Society. Enhanced cloud architecture that can distribute and share machine intelligence will enable smart connected machines to work on an increasingly higher level.

#2: Self-managing devices
Combining sensory data with AI techniques enables the data from massive numbers of sensors to be merged and processed to create a higher-level view of a system.

#3: Communication beyond sight and sound
Communication will evolve in a highly remarkable way over the coming years, as interaction between human beings and machines evolves to include additional experiences and senses. The internet you can feel is on the horizon.

#4: Fundamental technologies reshaping what networks can do
The laws of physics are the only real restriction on the development of communication networks. Ericsson is firmly committed to pursuing innovations that challenge present system limitations to help us reach beyond what is possible today.

#5: Weaving security and privacy into the IoT fabric
In a world where everyone's personal and financial information is available online, cyber security and privacy are very serious issues for consumers, corporations and governments alike. And the rapid rise of wearables, smart meters, and connected homes and vehicles makes security and privacy more vital than ever.

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Digital Magazine

Dec 2016

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