At the ITU Digital World 2021, Vietnam will bring concerns related to its digital transformation for discussion at the Ministerial Roundtable.
Relating to the ITU Digital World 2021, General Secretary of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) told VietNamNet that ITU Digital World has expanded a new space for ITU. “In the past, when we talked about telecommunications, it was still the old image of the fixed phone, but when it comes to the ICT field, it means the new development of technology and application businesses. This is also a growing trend in the world.
"In 2019, the event was held in Hungary and we still called it the ITU Telecom World. Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung proposed to change the name to ITU Digital World. Changing the name of the event from ITU Telecom into ITU Digital World is a great initiative of Vietnam, to reflect the importance of digital technology in the communication ecosystem," said Mr. Houlin Zhao.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Phan Tam said that the forerunner of the ITU Ministerial Roundtable and ITU Digital World are the ITU Telecom World, which was organized for the first time by ITU in 1971. This event was officially renamed to ITU Digital World in 2020 at the initiative of Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.
At the previous ITU Ministerial Conferences, the phrase “digital transformation” was never mentioned, just traditional fields such as: 5G, broadband, bringing the Internet and universalizing telecom services to everyone.
This year, Vietnam is hosting the ITU Digital World, which will focus on digital transformation. With the new space, the ITU Digital World will discuss the popularization of telecom and digital services through infrastructure development, promotion of digital transformation, narrowing the digital gap, bringing digital services to everyone at a cheaper price. In particular, ITU has mentioned the issue of online public services, content services aiming to bring the best value to people to develop the digital economy and digital society.
"At the ITU Digital World 2021, Vietnam will bring its digital transformation issue to the discussion of ICT Ministers and experts. At the event, ICT ministers, experts and ICT businesses will share initiatives and propose ideas to solve problems that Vietnam is facing during its digital transformation process. Thus, Vietnam will learn knowledge and experience of the world to solve its own problems,” said Deputy Minister Phan Tam.
In the context of the complicated development of the Covid-19 epidemic, it is very meaningful for Vietnam to host the event. Through this event, Vietnam and the ITU expect to affirm the role and significance of digital technology in improving the resilience and adaptability of countries to global fluctuations and challenges.
Digital transformation a hot issue
As planned, the online ITU Ministerial Roundtables will take place from October 12 to 14, 2021, on a digital platform developed by Vietnam. The theme of this event will be: Cutting access network costs to accelerate digital transformation; Accelerating infrastructure development: the role of the Government in digital transformation; Digitizing daily life: public services and digital transformation-driven content.
Focusing on the topic "Affordable Internet Access Expenses Can Accelerate Digital Transformation", participants will discuss universal access of Internet, which is rapidly becoming the issue of affordability and capacity rather than infrastructure or technology.
According to ITU's data, more than 90% of the urban population and more than 70% of the rural population globally have access to 4G, satellite or other technologies by 2020 – but only 51% of the world’s population is using Internet. Barriers to Internet use include affordability, digital capabilities, public awareness, and availability of content in local languages.
This roundtable will raise the big question of how can governments deal with affordability. Can businesses sufficiently manufacture affordable devices that allow people to connect and use the Internet? How can governments work with manufacturers to encourage plans to reduce prices or increase the availability of low-cost equipment? Should the government support access or even provide free connectivity for everyone?
By answering these questions, solutions to the problem of universalizing Internet services to everyone in order to promote digital society and digital economy will be found.
In addition, the ICT Ministers will discuss the issue “Promoting Infrastructure Development: Rethinking the Government’s Role in Digital Transformation”.
Digital technology is transforming all areas of life. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this process, including working from home, Government information and healthcare programmes, testing and tracing apps, and digital vaccination certificates.
The ICT Ministers will also discuss how the pandemic has affected the use of digital content and services. What is the role of government services in general in promoting digital transformation? How can citizens best be equipped with the right digital skills for a true digital future? Are we at risk of a new digital divide in society, where vulnerable groups like the elderly cannot access health care services and essential information without digital devices and digital skills?
With new content about digital transformation, for the first time the ITU Digital World has expanded into a new space and made a qualitative change. Technology is entering every corner of life and making life better. The ITU Digital World 2021 is expected to find breakthrough solutions for a digital future.
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