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Confronting the future – together

Welcome to the launch of ITU Telecom World 2014 – and welcome to the new event website!

World 2014 will be held in Doha, Qatar, this December, a city committed to the future and the ideal location for an event focused on confronting that future and its implications – for the ICT industry, for society and for us all as global citizens.

The future is of course always uncertain. Anything and many things can happen to take plans off course, disrupt ideas, and alter directions. Ours is an industry that has always by its nature been about the future.  We have talked over the past two or three years at ITU Telecom World events of a time of great transition, an industry in the throes of dramatic transformation. Now is the time to consider what the future might look like, the post-transition future.

Maybe it will continue in transition for months and years to come. Maybe it will shake down to one or two main competitors, an oligopolistic vision of back to the seventies. Maybe it will break down completely, to many thousands of service providers, to an end to the universal, global certainty of one system of telephony. One completely discrete communication system to speak to your bank, one button connecting directly to your dentist, one tool for talking to your mother, and so on.

But one thing is certain. The very human need to communicate will remain. Hyper personalization, hyper connectivity, multiple suppliers, services and identities all drill down to this: our need to talk, write, exchange images, share ideas and communicate with each other. The end user has been unleashed at the edge of the system driving the news and the debate. Social media as we currently know it rules, and its potential successors, too. There is no end to our need to communicate, and no ending it. Someone somewhere will make money from that, whether alone or in partnership.

Add to that the billions of unconnected devices coming online in the Internet of Things across multiple sectors and situations, and the explosive potential of communication – whether machine to machine or machine to person or person to machine to person – is clear.

That’s as near to a forecast on the future of the industry as you will get from me. Or indeed from ITU Telecom World 2014 :we will not be forecasting the future, but visions, scenarios, potential developments, important trends to shape the strategies and policies of the future, futurists, ideas and innovations – those we’ll be sharing a plenty!

In the months leading up to the event, I hope you will be able to enjoy the website, explore The Outcomes as background reading for Doha, read the details on the important and exciting Leadership Summit, discover how to gain invaluable visibility on our showfloor and network with fellow leaders from across the entire industry spectrum, public and private sectors, emerging and developed markets alike. Because sharing insight and increasing awareness and understanding of the new realities is the best way to confront the future –  and ensure we all stand to benefit, wherever and whoever we are.

Blaise Judja-Sato