Launching “Open Talks” with ITU Secretary-General

The ITU Blog

SG Open Talks

I am proud of ITU’s substantial and diverse membership – 193 Member States and around 700 Sector Members, including members of the Internet community, industry, civil society and academia. ITU members from different regions and different perspectives continue to work together for the common good and in the public interest to resolve complex and challenging issues.

It’s also important to acknowledge that not everyone may have the opportunity to participate in discussions at ITU. That’s why, as the ITU Secretary-General, I constantly seek different means to reach out and to engage all those whose ideas could make a difference. No one person, no single group or institution, no one country has a monopoly over good ideas. As history has reminded us time and again, the brightest minds can be found anywhere.

If international policy-making is to be effective and to achieve the desired impact, it is clear to me that…

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By techselection Posted in ITU

ITU, Facebook and ACOPEA launch online safety project in Ethiopia

The ITU Blog

Blog-copITU has teamed up with Facebook to develop a pilot program to promote child online safety in Africa as part of its Child Online Protection (COP) initiative. The collaboration will enable the African Child Online Protection Education & Awareness Centre (ACOPEA), an NGO focused on African child online welfare, to implement a six-month pan-African e-safety awareness pilot program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The COP initiative at ITU has been collaborating with partners around the world to establish an international collaborative network for action to promote the online protection of children worldwide; to encourage the development of national Child Online Protection centers; and to organize awareness campaigns and community forums to create a safe environment for young users around the world.

The initiative is also counting on the efforts of global advocates that thanks to their tireless support and commitment are promoting the importance of a safer online world for…

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Bringing the power of technology to rural agricultural communities

The ITU Blog

macedonia-blogAt the recent UN Broadband Commission meeting in New York, Intel, Grameen and the Minister of Communications of Macedonia signed an MOU that will bring the power of state-of-the art computing technology to agricultural communities in Macedonia. The agreement was signed by two UN Broadband commissioners – Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of Information Society and Administration, Republic of Macedonia (@iivanovski) and John Davies, Vice President of Intel.

A few years ago, Grameen Trust and Intel formed a separate standalone company modeled after the concept of a social business promoted by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, who is also a UN Broadband Commissioner. For Intel, this was an opportunity to alleviate social and economic problems using the power of microprocessors. The software being developed by Grameen Intel Social Business Ltd. enables rural micro entrepreneurs to offer services to farmers in rural communities using computing devices.

One such useful service…

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Connected cities: Smart Sustainable Cities

The ITU Blog

13 September blog piece photo

If we compare an aerial photo of the world today with the same image from 20 years ago, we can see from light distribution that urban centres are now a significantly more prominent feature. More and more people are choosing to live in cities, in search of new opportunities and to improve their quality of life. However, in many cases poor or absent urban development planning has not accompanied this growth in urban population.

Each one of these clusters of light represents a different set of challenges. There is a clear need to seek out new, efficient solutions, which help to “order and regulate” life in cities, optimising the use of the natural resources and guaranteeing long-term sustainability. In this context, the concept of the “Smart City” is born, with citizen commitment at its core, around which a complex system of smart networks and platforms revolves, collaborating to achieve efficient…

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First they came for the mugshot websites, but I said nothing…

Gigaom

As described in a New York Times story on the weekend — one that for some reason chose to save this information until the end — Google (s goog) has tweaked its search algorithm and downgraded the Page Rank of so-called “mugshot” websites, which post police snapshots of random people and in some cases charge to have them removed. MasterCard has also taken steps to cut such sites off from using its online payment systems.

Everyone seems pretty happy about this turn of events so far (except the mugshot site operators, of course), but I confess that I find the whole thing a little disturbing.

Obviously, Google tweaks its algorithms all the time to boost or lower the ranking of different types of content. And both it and MasterCard are private corporations that can do whatever they wish — within reason — when it comes to their business. We may…

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Another California data center turns to fuel cells

Gigaom

A small, but growing, amount of data centers in California are having fuel cells installed onsite, offering a cleaner and more direct way to access electricity compared to the power grid. The latest came on Monday, when telecommunications company CenturyLink (s CTL) announced that it’s bought a couple fuel cells from startup Bloom Energy to help power a data center in Irvine, California.

Fuel cells are devices that combine a fuel like natural gas with air and turn it into electricity through a chemical reaction. Bloom Energy’s fuel cells are “solid oxide fuel cells” that use a solid ceramic material as the electrolyte part of the fuel cell (if you think of it like a battery that has an electrolyte, an anode and a cathode).

Bloom EnergyCenturyLink’s data center in Irvine is operated by Savvis and the data center powers cloud, managed hosting and colocation services. Bloom Energy has…

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Look closely: It’s a macro LensMag for your iPhone 5, iPhone 5s or Galaxy S 4

Gigaom

I’ve seen a number of camera add-ons for mobile phones over the years but never invested in one. I am thinking about this one from Carson Optical though, after watching a demonstration video of its 10x and 15x macro lenses for the Samsung Galaxy S 4.

I like how small the product is and how it “clips” onto a phone: It uses a magnet. Provided that’s not going to wipe my phone’s data (on no!), I love the implementation because it’s quick and easy. Take a peek the product demo and its usage on a Galaxy S 4.

I don’t see pricing for the Galaxy S 4 version of this but the model for the iPhone 5(s aapl) and iPhone 5s has an MSRP of $15.00 according to Amazon(s amzn), which currently sells it for $10.58. That’s a small price to pay to see tiny objects up close…

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By techselection Posted in Apple

Moto X review: The Android phone that does surprisingly more with less

Gigaom

By now you’ve likely heard of the Moto X: The first smartphone available with direct design input from Motorola’s parent company, Google(s goog). So far, it’s priced like a flagship phone — starting at $199 with 16 GB and $249 with 32 GB from AT&T(s t) on contract, but no pricing has been announced from other carriers — and has some mid-range hardware components along with some interesting new features. You can customize the phone in your choice of colors and even add an engraving: Motorola will assemble your handset and ship it to you in four days or less.

So how is the Moto X and does it live up to expectations? I’ve used a review unit for the past several days and have answers to that and other questions.

Concept: Smart compromises and the “best of Android” for the masses

It makes sense to understand what Motorola —…

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mHealth: the Opportunity for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

The ITU Blog

m-healthMobile phones are the most rapidly adopted technology in the world: next year, there will be more mobile phones than human beings on this planet.

For all of us who work in global health the question is how can we leverage the power of these billions of mobile phones to advance global health goals? This question becomes more tangible when we look at the potential use of mobile technology to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). As IFPMA’s latest report Health at your fingertips shows, this is already happening in a number of countries where pilot projects have been implemented. We now need to bring these pilots to scale.

Recently, I had the pleasure to discuss these issues during a roundtable we organized together with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO) are already working on an intersectoral mHealth initiative

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1984, Steve Jobs, Apple Phone

Former Apple CEO John Sculley said that the late Steve Jobs was considering a Mac phone as early as 1984. That was the same year that Apple released its first Macintosh computer. Sculley left Apple in 1993 and now runs Sculley Brothers, a firm that invests in entrepreneurs. He was asked during a television interview whether the rumored low-cost Apple iPhone would “compromise” the vision that Jobs had for his iconic smartphone.

While Sculley answered that it would not be a compromise to broaden the product line, he also doesn’t see Apple offering a $100 phone. Instead, he envisions the company instead working to improve its top-shelf model. Comparing Apple to car maker BMW, Sculley says that Apple doesn’t go after low-price buyers. The former Pepsi executive says that Apple’s installed base would buy a higher-priced phone with a bigger screen.

While pointing out that he doesn’t have inside information, Apple’s former CEO said that with the smartphone industry maturing, we could see a wearable device from Apple.Image