GVF Online Events

Global Transitions: Digital Economy, Digital Infrastructure, Connected Communities, Digital Planet

Thursday, 24 September 2020

3:00 pm UK time / 10:00 am US Eastern time

The GVF-Satellite Evolution Group series, of which this webinar is number 10, is an example of a digital transition (albeit driven by the external factor of the COVID-19 pandemic), which is made possible only by the enabling communications technology. Now, to take just one example, the full potential of “virtual” business meetings – promoting greater inclusiveness, leading to less international travel and therefore fewer greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient utilisation of working time and associated improved work-life balance – has been realised. These elements of change in the human experience are not just incidental consequences, they are of deeply rooted strategic significance.

Whilst “lockdown” necessitated new (digitised) ways of working to enable many people still to do their jobs, digitisation will necessarily facilitate recovery from the economic recession consequent of the pandemic. The global socio-economic crisis brought about by the pandemic has most certainly energised debate about the necessity, and the advantages, of greater changes than were previously conceived.

Economies and communities will all be more deeply and widely “enabled” by the growing digital infrastructure and this infrastructure will be built on the integration of 5G and satellite technologies into a single network of networks. Industries, businesses, people and governments worldwide, facing unprecedented challenge, will accelerate in their adoption of digitisation to both adjust to the new normal and to improve preparedness to minimise the impact of the next crisis – an impact that may again be equally as serious for, and equally intertwining of, people’s economic well-being and their health.

Digitisation is not an end in itself. What matters is the mechanism and process by which it is turned into what is today commonly called “Actionable Intelligence”. The data will flow in great volumes (at least hundreds of zettabytes a year), encompassing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), but data is only of use when it is determined exactly what it is for. Data may be just measurement, quanta, of things, but when data is analysed it becomes information, and information is the building block of the knowledge that enables effective, positive and productive action.

Equally, going beyond that which sits comfortably under the umbrella of the socio-economic, a digital infrastructure comprising, in 5G terminology, Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), may be expanded into not just a global digital ecosystem, but a global digital ecosystem, as has been suggested through dialogues of the United Nations Development and Environment Programmes. In this we will potentially see a world wherein data is gathered from all conceivable sources by all available technologies and processed by all available tools, so: satellites, drones & sensors; artificial & virtual reality; mobile phone apps; open source software; blockchain & distributed databases; social media feeds; IoT; AI & machine learning; cloud & edge computing; and, other!

A moderator and three panellists, coming from various positions with reference to digitisation processes and systems, will provide their invaluable insights to the webinar dialogue. Satellite Applications Catapult is a technology and innovation company which helps organisations harness the power of satellite-based services, bringing new services to market by connecting industry and academia. Isotropic Networks, and Telstra each have their perspectives arising from also operating within the space industry – Isotropic Networks as a global provider of satellite communications services and solutions to the aero, disaster recovery, enterprise, maritime, and oil & gas industries; and, Telstra as a service provider to thousands of business, government, carrier and OTT customers, using its access to over 60 satellites to support voice, video and data services with interconnectivity into the company’s extensive terrestrial networks globally. The third panellist represents the United Nations Environment Programme and comes from the perspective of arguing for accelerated digital transformation strategies in the work of the UNEP and increased uptake of digital technologies with particular reference to development of a global digital ecosystem for the environment.

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