Emerging Trends
July 29, 2019

ITU in the news this week

By ITU News

ITU and the FAO have released E-agriculture in action: Big data for agriculture. The publication is the fourth and latest edition in a series of publications jointly produced by ITU and the FAO to promote knowledge-sharing for the sustainable use of ICTs for agriculture.

“Agriculture is increasingly knowledge-intensive. Knowledge derived from combining data from various sources can be used to derive valuable actionable insights.”

The shift toward digital agriculture provides opportunities to address hunger and food security as smart and precision agriculture look set to increase crop yields, reduce food losses and improve the efficiency of agricultural supply chains. The advent of 5G will help support large-scale sensor network infrastructures, reliable low-latency mobile networks and broadband access – while generating enormous amounts of data in the process. Transforming data at this scale into accurate and actionable insights will require investment into efficient processes and infrastructure.

“Big data capabilities and a well-developed ecosystem underpin digital agriculture. Standardization is a key driver to enable this collaborative environment and develop the economies of scale and scope envisioned.”

Big data for agriculture highlights the need for an organizational data ecosystem and brings together case studies from leading organizations that illustrate how a number of initiatives are leveraging data to support informed decision-making and efficient service delivery. The publication explores themes such as interoperability, standardization efforts and data security—and the policies and regulations needed to support the big data ecosystem.

International collaboration for the digital economy

On July 24th, representatives from 20 international organizations convened at a forum organized by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) to share best practices in promoting the development of the global digital economy.

ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson highlighted the importance of international collaboration and standards, stating that “international collaboration, co-operation and coordination is essential for the development the digital economy across the world. And this includes the need for the implementation of international standards, especially those related to cybersecurity.”

“International multi-lateral organisations must continue to work more closely to help combat the digital divide that exists in the world today,” said Mats Granryd, Director-General of GSMA and a member of the UN Broadband Commission. “This digital divide exists in all countries in the world but sadly it exists to a greater extent in some countries than in others. Governments must learn from one another in terms of the initiatives that need to be taken so that this digital divide can be comprehensively tackled.”

Audio Definition Model renderer for advanced sound systems

The European Broadcasting Union congratulates ITU-R on clearing the path for a faster roll-out of Next Generation Audio (NGA) services and applauds the work of the leading sound experts and organizations that have collaborated to define the technology. More than 5,000 specialists from administrations, the telecommunications industry and academic organizations participate in the work of the ITU-R Study Groups. With NGA technology specification agreed at the ITU Level, Chairman of Working Party 6C and the European Broadcasting Union’s Strategic Programme on Production Andy Quested expects progress to be made in the uptake of Next Generation Audio production and distribution systems.

Keeping children and young people safe online

The Polish and German Safer Internet Centres, in cooperation ITU, are organizing the Keeping children and young people safe online conference in Warsaw, Poland in September. International child protection experts will convene to discuss internet safety threats and potential countermeasures, as well as new developments regarding new technologies used by children and young people. The conference targets education sector representatives, NGOs, law enforcement and judiciary agencies, as well as internet service and content providers.

Better poverty mapping

New technologies are changing the way data is collected, process and utilized for evidence-based decision-making. Traditional development data complemented by big data sources are bringing meaningful applications for poverty-mapping in data-scarce environments. Promising new methods that blend traditional household surveys with non-traditional data sources are forging new pathways to map poverty with greater accuracy at less cost.

Netherlands for the World Bank shares insights discussed during the 2019 AI for Good Global Summit at ITU, where the World Bank, Dalberg Data Insights and the Qatar Computing Research Institute brought together experts for a Poverty Mapping workshop to explore next steps in ensuring greater accessibility and responsible use of machine learning and data sources to map poverty.

“The careful combination of ground truth surveys with an abundance of big data increases—not decreases—the value of surveys,” says Marshall Burke, Earth System Science Assistant Professor at Stanford University.

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ITU in the news this week

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