Targeted marketing is not new, but the scale is now vast
Privacy and money are two of the more highly prized assets in society, although not always in equal measure. Many people in celebrity-obsessed societies world be happy to sacrifice the former if it led to more of the latter. Financial wealth, though, is nothing without individual personal freedom. There are a number of paradoxes at work in the world of social networking, explored during the Social Networks-Privacy & Money session on day three of ITU Telecom World 2011.
Privacy is highly prized, yet people are willing to supply and post intimate details, and broadcast their views to often wide audiences without serious consideration for those actions. But concerns are building among consumers that they are giving away more then they think when sign up to 'free' social networks. Since monetising social networks relies almost exclusively on advertising it would appear you must sacrifice one thing to gain access to another.
US privacy attorney Christina Gagnier, joint partner of legal specialist Gagnier Margossian, who chaired the session, raised the point that consumers do not have a problem with data being collected, but they do feel social networks are changing the rules of the game, "consumers are very concerned about data control, who is collecting it and sharing it, what happens to it and how is it used," she said.
The fact that brands are using individual personal data for targeted marketing is not new pointed out panellist Barry Greene, president of NGO, Internet Systems Consortium. "I remember back in 1994, we were doing that at SingTel. We did targeted advertising campaigns based on customer data. This was not social media or the Internet, it was telecoms marketing."
Dana Al Salem, founder and CEO FanFactory echoed those views: "There is a sudden realisation [among consumers] where there wasn't before. They knowingly sign up for social media sites and supply personal data freely. In the background though, targeted marketing has been around for a long time, but consumers are only just realising."
Just because things have always happened a certain way, it does not mean they should continue unchecked. The last generation of personal targeted marketing was less invasive and more costly for marketers. Marketers now talk of a consumer utopia where sophisticated segmented marketing will provide audiences with adverts according to integrated contextual events such as previous spending patterns, social demographic and location.
As anyone who takes notice of the 'targeted' ads in Facebook will likely confirm, marketing still more often than not falls well wide of the mark. A lot of the objection to this type of data manipulation, particularly in 'Western' markets of Europe and North America, stems from a cultural belief that an invasion of privacy is unethical. In the UK, which is reputedly the most 'watched' society in the world according to the volume of CCTV cameras (one for every 32 citizens) the fear of an Orwellian Big Brother analysing our every move often overrides the banal reality of surveillance and targeted marketing.
Governments have a civic duty to protect citizens and many people throughout the world place the importance of privacy as a low priority concern. "This also raises the issue about who is complaining, different people have different levels of privacy," pointed out Barry Greene. "When people complain about social media, I always ask who and why complain"
In the world of social media, everything comes at a cost. Perhaps people are waking up to the fact that they are not the customer, they are the product.
Ministerial Roundtable on Cybersecurity
The key issue of how to build a safe and secure cyberworld was debated today at the Ministerial Roundtable on Cybersecurity at ITU Telecom World 2011. The session brought together Ministers from around the world, including from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, India, Ivory Coast, Mali, South Africa, Uganda and Italy,with representatives of key industry players Microsoft and Symantec, ITU Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun Touré, IMPACT and AICTO (Arab Information and Communication Technology Organization).
Drawing on the experience of their own countries in tackling the problem of cybercrime, Ministers outlined core issues such as the importance of cooperation. This means starting right from a national level upwards, regionally and also internationally. H.E. Mr Alejandro Cruz, Minister of Science and Technology, Costa Rica outlined how the government was coordinating stakeholders from its police, security and science services to work together, to develop ways to coordinate on cybercrime. H.E. Mr Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Uganda, and H.E. Mr Elmir Velizadeh, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, Azerbaijan, both stressed the need for cooperation on a regional level also, citing the key role of organizations such as ECOWAS as well as international bodies such as ITU and IMPACT, which all have a vital role in the fight against cybercrime as an issue that must be tackled "on a global scale," in the words of Dr Touré.
Ministers shared best practices and experiences of how they were tackling specific cybercrime threats in core areas such as child online protection, economic fraud and cyberterrorism. H.E. Mr Bruno Kone Nabanie, Minister of New Technologies, Information and Communications, Cote d'Ivoire, noted the need for laws to enforce user identification in cyber cafes and over mobile networks, H.E. Mrs Laura Mirachian, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission and Algeria's H.E. Mr Moussa Benhamadi, Minister of Post and Information Technologies and Communication called for legislation to defend against terrorism and stop unauthorized use of ICTs . H.E. Mr Bruno Kone Nabanie, Minister of New Technologies, Information and Communications, Ivory Coast, outlined how cybercrime is "basically a monetary crime, which endangers the image of a country, so the fight has become a priority issue for governments." Developing the right legislation to deal with cybercrime can be a major challenge, according to Benin, as their criminal code does not have sufficient provisions for "intangible cross border cybercrime." Assistance from global and regional bodies in developing the right legislation would be critical in order to prevent them becoming a haven for cybercrime.
Participants praised ITU's cybersecurity agenda and the work it undertakes in fighting cybercrime. IMPACT, the executing arm of ITU in the area of cybersecurity, noted how their role is to "translate ideas into action," highlighting areas of focus over the last 12 months such as developing mechanisms and tools to help mitigate threats, and promoting collaboration amongst all stakeholders. Speaking on behalf of AICTO (Arab Information and Communication Technology Organization) Secretary-General Ms Khédija Ghariani took the opportunity to call for international collaboration, given that everything relating to cybersecurity transcends borders. Developing countries, she noted, have specific legislative needs in terms of mbanking, for example. Public-private sector partnerships are also critical, as governments can devise policies, but if there is no cooperation with the private sector these policies cannot be implemented.
Presenting viewpoints from the industry, Mr Illias Chantzos of Symantec highlighted areas such as the need to protect mobile infrastructure, whilst Mr David Pollington of Security Europe Microsoft Corp took the occasion to draw the panel's attention to the issue of "defence of critical infrastructure" and the vital need to also protect essential infrastructure such as utilities against attack. Wrapping up the session, ITU Secretary-General Dr Touré reminded participants that, despite the potential threats to cyberspace, they should not lose sight of the tremendous opportunity it also offere
The future's cloudy
Attempting to define and imagine the future of cloud computing in this morning's Forum session, a panel of industry experts had their Heads - and those of an audience participating onsite in Geneva, online through the live webcasts, via the metaconference and a very lively twitter feed - firmly in the Clouds.
Acknowledging that the very definition of cloud computing is contentious, Joe Baguely, Chief Cloud Technologist in EMEA, VMWare pointed out that applying the general term "hybrid cloud" to all services would leave aside individual combinations of public, private or shared models or on- or off-site hosting to focus instead on the "scale of efficiency and agility" which is the principle advantage of cloud computing in whatever variable.
Joe Weinman Hewlett-Packard's global Communications, Media, and Entertainment Industry Solutions lead offered another angle - and a popular neologism - by discussing "cloudonomics" or the economics and financial viability of cloud computing as not necessarily delivering compelling economies of scale, but rather of accessibility, communication, collaboration and competition - value, in one word." It is a classic business model of pay-per-use, on-demand access to a shared pool of resources," he said, comparing it traditional models in hotels or taxis.
In a further taxi analogy popular with the tweeters, Joe Baguely highlighted unprecedented business agility as the one defining take-out benefit of cloud computing. Using services on the cloud is like being driven in a taxi, he said, which can at any given moment respond to changes in demand (such as a sudden increase in passenger numbers) by expanding to the size of a bus, without any loss of quality of service for the original passenger. This "scalability at will" enables cloud computing models to cope with the next-generation data of a complexity and scale never before envisaged.
Central to this forthcoming deluge of data, and forming the next level of communications, is video, which Mr Weinman saw as creating a "massive transformation and disruption" in the near future. Daniel Reed Corporate VP Technology Strategy and Policy (TS&P) and Extreme Computing Group (XCG) Microsoft, echoed the importance of video, and other media content, along with the software and telecommunications industries, as being the three principle factors or "cultures talking to one another" driving the success of cloud computing to create a "really transformative effect going forward".
For Mr Reed, cloud computing and broadband access enable an unprecedented "democratization of access", where new applications and services that we cannot yet imagine will allow "the world's digital knowledge base to be projected into the palm of anyone's hand by virtue of the scale and access to cloud computing". Panellists, the audience and tweeters alike, agreed that the next generation will be key to shaping the near future uses of next-generation networks, with Mr Reed reminding us that "each of us has in our hand more computing than nations had a relatively few years ago" - reflecting the scale and accelerating pace of change which cloud computing supports and enables.
The elasticity inherent in cloud models allows it to expand to meet demand and to reallocate otherwise redundant resources efficiently. The downsides to sharing infrastructure, and to ubiquitous access over any web-enabled device, were touched on by the panel's chair, regulatory lawyer Mr Michael Wigley. Issues of data privacy and security, uncertainties over legal jurisdiction and the question of establishing multi-platform, multi-device interoperability remain as yet unanswered.
But the panel were unanimous in warning that implementing standards too early in such a rapidly-developing and relatively young market may risk limiting innovation, stifling creativity and strangling some of the very agility and ability to support the diverse needs and capabilities of customers that characterises cloud computing. "We may well then lock onto one form or standard too soon", said Mr. Wigley.
The results of the simultaneous online and on-site poll into the main perceived benefits for organisations of migrating to the cloud were evenly balanced between agility and innovation, and cost savings, scalability and flexibility. The cloud is already with us, panellists agreed, in whatever form we choose to define it; and it is through cloud computing models that we - and the decision makers of the next generation - will be able to benefit from "the huge rise of data and its truly transformative effect."
The Internet of Things
Machine to machine and embedded devices provide for a future with an almost limitless number of interconnections. Indeed, Ericsson has stated that by the year 2020 we will have 50 billion connected devices rising ever faster thereafter. But this ultra-connected vision of the future is still some time away and much of the vendor comment could be considered hype noted panellists speaking at the Internet of Things session during ITU Telecom World 2011.
A number of hurdles exist before the Internet of Things. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jonas Sundborg Chairman of the Board at telecommunications standards organization ETSI, suggested that while there are already a number of standards in the M2M pipeline key to the success of Internet of Things (IOT) will be interoperability.
IOT crosses every vertical industry from current new consumer-facing applications in the automotive industry to automated monitoring of remote or inaccessible devices such as off shore wind turbines and the number of applications is limited to the imagination of developers.
The IOT will enable forms of collaboration and communication between people and things and between objects hitherto unknown or unimagined. With the benefit of integrated information processing capacity, industrial products will take on smart capabilities.
Following the debate beyond 2011
The global debate does not stop just because the event is finished. Catch any discussions you may have missed or would like to revisit via webcasts, which will be available on demand from our website.
Video views from CEOs, Ministers and Leaders
Speaking in today's video interviews on issues central to the future of ICT, Ministers, CEOs and leading industry figures deliver their key messages from ITU Telecom World 2011.
- Mr Yves Castanou, Director General of the Regulatory Agency for Post and Electronic Communication (ARPCE), discusses extending connectivity in his country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Mr Robert Pepper, Vice President, Global Technology Policy at Cisco, talks about mobile broadband opportunities
- Ms Deborah Taylor Tate, Former Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission, speaks on the Call to Action on Child Protection Online
- Dr Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, e Lab INSEAD, on smarter cities of the future
- H.E. Mr Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Uganda, discusses cybersecurity
Making innovation matter
In a Co-host Workshop session focused on making innovation more effective, the floor was handed over almost immediately to the delegates themselves to provide suggestions and perspectives on one of the issues central to discussions and debate this week at ITU Telecom World 2011: the role of ICTs in helping the people of developing countries meet their aspirations for a better life.
topics ranged from mobile health solutions to rural connectivity, from the need to retain ownership of innovative thinking within developing markets by investing in local research and development to the importance of innovation being both values-based and adding value - but came back time and again to education as the single key enabler for ICTs to move forward in emerging markets.
Education and literacy were the top themes selected by the delegates in small break-out groups as they responded to the challenge to imagine a successful outcome in 20 years' time and work back through the factors that would be necessary to bring it about. One group focused on establishing interactive distance learning classrooms in rural and remote areas, enabling interaction with fellow students online and physically present to improve learning outcomes. Incentives for education, such as free meals or highly vocational courses and content, were important, as were affordable terminals, innovative applications and identifying social entrepreneurs as enablers of education centres or classrooms that could serve a dual purpose as local community or business centres.
Other groups of delegates examined what must be done to reach a knowledge society where innovation could flourish universally, reducing the digital divide, disparity and poverty; and equitable access to education from primary to tertiary levels across rural and urban areas in developing countries. Identifying key enablers of as locally relevant digital content, inspirational, committed leadership and a mixture of government and private (in the form of social entrepreneurs) investment, the workshop summed up the defining themes of Telecom World 2011.
Girls in ICT
Job opportunities in the ICT sector continue to grow, and many countries and regions are predicting a shortage of qualified staff with math, science, engineering and computing skills to meet the growing demand. At the same time, many companies are looking to increase the numbers of women in the sector. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them. Unfortunately teenage girls and young women often never even consider a career in ICTs. There is a lack of awareness among students, teachers and parents on the opportunities presented by a career in ICT. Different ways to encourage young women to enter the ICT sector were shared during the Girls in ICT Session at ITU Telecom World 2011.
The session brought participants from government, including H.E Jasna Matic, Serbian State Secretary for Digital Agenda and proponent of Resolution 7, Bitilokho Ndiaye, Technical Advisor and Gender Focal Point, Ministry of Telecommunication and ICT (Senegal) together with Cisco's Monique Morrow and Microsoft's Daniel Reed to share views and exchange best practices. The session also saw the unveiling of the girls in ICT portal with links to scholarships, training, internships, contests and awards, tech camps, online networks and, of course, Girls in ICT Day activities.
Supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line with United Nations Millennium Development Goal 3 to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Not only are jobs in the ICT sector lifting women out of poverty, a more gender-balanced sector offers fulfilling mid and high-level careers, and enables highly talented women to springboard to the top of the career ladder. This is good for everyone. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, "Equality for women and girls is not only a basic human right it is a social and economic imperative. Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong. Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable."
Celebrating 40 years
As ITU Telecom World 2011 draws to a close, our thanks go out to all the event sponsors and partners, National Pavilions and Thematic Pavilions - with a special mention to Rohde & Schwarz, NTT Group, Ericsson and Fujitsu, who were there at the very start of ITU Telecom World events back in 1971.
The world has changed dramatically over the past four decades, and in perhaps no other area has it changed so spectacularly, so rapidly and with such tremendous effects for society as a whole as in the ICT sector. Looking ahead to the next ten years, the only certainty is that the pace of change will accelerate, driven by the next generation developing as yet unimaginable services and applications for next-generation networks. The continuous participation and cooperation of our most long-standing event supporters is all the more welcome in these exciting times of change and development.
We look forward to celebrating the next 40 years of ITU Telecom events with all our partners, sponsors, participants and delegates!
ITU Telecom World 2011 sets new paradigm for top-level networking, knowledge-sharing: high-level dialogue on broadband culminates in 'Manifesto for Change.'
The 40th anniversary edition of ITU Telecom World closed its doors today after three intensive days of high-level networking, knowledge exchange and deal-making.
Some 300 world leaders, including Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, national ambassadors, heads of regulatory agencies, and CEOs from around the world, came together for the event, which saw debate and interaction on a broad-reaching global agenda spanning everything from broadband to connecting cities, harnessing innovation and next-generation wireless advances, and featured live participation from around the world ... Click here to read closing press release.
Next stop Dubai
The next ITU Telecom World event will be held in Dubai, UAE, in Q4 of 2012.