ITU-T Study Group 20 Meetings Conclude in Arusha, Tanzania: Paving the Way for a Digital Future
By Our Correspondent - Arusha, Tanzania
The ITU-T Study Group 20 - Internet of Things and Smart Sustainable Cities and Community (IoT and SC&C) meetings, hosted by United Republic of Tanzania, reached a successful conclusion in Arusha, bringing together global experts to deliberate on seven pivotal questions shaping the future ofthe sustainable cities and communities. These discussions covered an array of topics, including data management, intelligent transportation system, smart agriculture and livestock, using new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Metaverse, Digital Twins, etc.
"This SG 20 meeting holds immense significance within the communication industry, and it is indeed a privilege for our nation to serve as its host, as such gatherings predominantly convene in Switzerland," remarked Dr. Jabiri Bakari, Director-General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA). He added, "The discussions held here will drive the implementation of critical initiatives by Communication Regulatory Authorities worldwide, and TCRA is fully committed to translating the deliberations into actionable measures that will benefit the regulated sector."
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the meeting, Engineer Mwesigwa Felician, Director of Industry Affairs at TCRA, underscored the importance of the outcomes arising from these meetings, emphasising their pivotal role in catalyzing essential advancements within the continually evolving digital technology landscape. He emphasized how the standards and recommendations emerging from these gatherings will play a pivotal role in integrating ICT seamlessly into our daily lives.
"Emphasizing the adoption of these standards, Felician highlighted that they will pave the way for technological advancements that will more deeply integrate ICTs and their associated technologies into our daily lives.
Furthermore, Felician emphasized that these standards will have a pivotal role in facilitating the implementation of IoT and the development of smart cities and communities. They will also address crucial challenges and opportunities in the realm of big data and AI usage within the communication sector, particularly in achieving the long-awaited realization of smart cities and communities, as well as the metaverse. "In addition, these standards will enhance security and privacy solutions, a vital aspect when adopting emerging technologies such as IoT, the metaverse, and smart cities and communities," he added.
The successful completion of the SG20 meetings is being seen as a testament to the robust collaboration between Tanzania and the ITU, reflecting the global commitment to advancing the communication sector. These outcomes are expected to have a profound impact not only on Tanzania but also on the global communication sector.
Ansbert Pallangyo, a resident of Arusha and an ICT expert, commented on the significance of the meetings, stating, "I am very sure the successful completion of the SG20 meetings is a testament to the strong collaboration between Tanzania and ITU, as well as the commitment of the global community to advancing the communication sector; the outcomes of the meetings will have a significant impact on the development of communication sector in Tanzania and around the world," he remarked.
At the opening of the sessions, Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Engineer Kundo Mathew, expressed Tanzania's commitment to fully implementing the agreements reached during the meetings, particularly in the development of smart cities and communities and the metaverse. “Dodoma city has been designated as a pilot for smart cities in Tanzania, from which other cities in the country are set to draw inspiration,” Kundo told reporters shortly after he inaugurated the forum sessions.
"For Tanzania, the successful hosting of the SG20 meetings is a major achievement," stated Kundo during the opening sessions.
Dr. Emmanuel Manasseh, Lecturer at Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha and an expert in ICTs and Vice Chairperson of ITU Study Group 20, expressed his optimism about the expected outcomes of the SG20 meetings, anticipating several significant benefits for Tanzania.
He stated, "I am confident that this meeting will have a positive impact on our country in various key areas. One such area is the acceleration of IoT deployment, where the standards and recommendations are poised to expedite the adoption of IoT technologies across diverse industries, including agriculture, healthcare, and education in Tanzania. I am hopeful that the recommendations will lead to more sustainable and inclusive smart cities and communities, leveraging technology to enhance efficiency and service delivery."
The successful conclusion of the SG20 meetings marks a significant milestone in shaping a digital future, not only for Tanzania but also for the global landscape at large. This accomplishment holds the potential to revolutionize numerous industries, enhance service quality, and reduce societal disparities.
The high-profile two-week conference, held from September 11 to 22, 2023, aligns seamlessly with the Tanzanian government's recently unveiled strategy to position the nation as a premier destination for conference tourism. As part of this initiative, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania spokesperson has announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art mega conference center in Arusha, capable of accommodating over 3,000 delegates. This strategic move aims to make Tanzania a hub for conference tourism, leveraging its natural beauty and tourism offerings.