Emerging Trends | SMEs/Entrepreneurship | Standards
June 27, 2019

Here’s how SMEs are contributing to ITU’s work

By Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

Small businesses have always driven economic growth worldwide, but in today’s digital economy, startups and micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) are more important than ever.

The ability of MSMEs to nimbly serve the precise needs of local populations is critical to driving the innovation needed to meet rapidly shifting market demands. They are also essential pa​rtners in the global effort to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), we are pleased to join the celebrations for MSME Day today. And we fully support the goal to encourage Member States to facilitate observance of the day by increasing awareness and actions to support small business.

MSMEs are a source of new ideas and innovation, and often account for a significant proportion of the economy in developing countries.

Now more than ever, we need the expertise, innovation and investment of SMEs.

That’s why ITU Member States recently decided to encourage SMEs to participate as Associates in the Sectors of the ITU, with reduced fees.

The reduced fee option for SMEs will be made available as of January 2020. In addition, an ongoing SME pilot project will continue until this time.

ITU’s pilot project for SMEs

As part of a the pilot project, SMEs have been invited to participate in several ITU Study Groups on a range of issues from building smart cities to leveraging tech to improve the environment to creating an enabling environment for ICT development.

More than 20 entities participated in the SMEs pilot project. The complete list is available here. And the list of Study Groups as a part of SMEs pilot is here.

Here are examples of the valuable input by SMEs so far:

  • In ITU-T SG16, ASTEM (Japan) contributed significant specifications for standards on accessible IPTV terminals and their testing, which are now found in Recommendation ITU-T H.702 and Technical Paper ITU-T HSTP-CONF-H702.
  • In ITU-T SG16,  Wayfin​dr (UK) brought specifications for audio-based network navigation system for persons with vision impairment and its conformance testing. (Recommendation ITU-T F.921 and Technical Paper ITU-T HSTP-CONF-F921). Wayfindr also developed an associated online training material that is available from the ITU Academy platform.
  • In ITU-T SG11, Vaulto Technologies contributed a technical report on the abuse of SS7 vulnerabilities to commit financial fraud. According to the report there is significant abuse of these vulnerabilities especially in developing countries. Vaulto’s work in SG11 promoted a new work item to raise awareness and advance the adoption of mitigation measures among telecom operators and financial institutions around the world.
  • Telemedicine company Melody International, an SME participating in ITU-D Study Group 2, develops prenatal devices and telemedicine platforms for pregnant women worldwide. Their mobile cardiotocograph (CTG) consists of a monitor that checks a fetus’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions and then transmits data to doctors to allow them to remotely check a baby’s condition.

Given that so much technological innovation comes from MSMEs, it’s worth noting that ITU’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy allows for the possibility of member’s technology to be included in an ITU standard even if the member has a related patent on it, provided the member declares that it would be licenced on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

We look forward to continued valuable input from SMEs as they become ever more ingrained in the work of ITU.

  • Was this article Helpful ?
  • yes   no
© International Telecommunication Union 1865-2018 All Rights Reserved.
ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

Here's how SMEs are contributing to ITU's work

Send this to a friend