The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has called on government at all levels, as well as stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to put up stiff measures that would bridge the standardisation gap to ensure interoperability, open up global markets, spur innovation, and growth.
Speaking at the 2019 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Abuja, Shittu noted that the dominance of standardisation has never been more under threat than now as the world approaches the 4th industrial revolution with the emergence of 5G networks.He explained that the overarching goal of the Bridging the Standardization Gap (BSG) programme is to facilitate increased participation of developing countries in standardisation, to ensure that developing countries experience the economic benefits of associated technological development, and to better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in the standards-development process.
Shittu noted that though disruption has long been a threat for some industries, the rise of digital technologies has accelerated the pace of disruption in virtually every industry, creating immense ambiguity and unease adding that uncertainty continues to accelerate in the broader business environment as the rate at which new technologies emerge increases exponentially, consequently competition becomes increasingly fierce.
He said: “Let me use a scenario to explain why we need to bridge standardisation gap immediately, whether you want to connect to the Internet, enjoy a sports event on TV, listen to radio in your car or watch a video on your smartphone? ITU standards make it possible seamlessly given the ubiquitous mobile broadband.”
The minister however, observed that these changes are also creating immense opportunities, and the tools to prosper during the age of digital disruption are accessible and available.
According to him, “The upcoming 5G standards, especially if coupled with artificial intelligence, will support a new range of applications which we will soon take for granted: from self-driving cars to safer and smart cities.
“It is in the light of the above that ITU standards are consistently being pursued to ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth. These standards are good for both the developed and developing countries. They will also help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals.The BSG is a fundamental part of ITU’s mission to connect the world. It is also one of the strategic objectives of ITU’s standardization sector (ITU-T). It will also address the disparities in the ability of developing countries, relative to developed ones, to access, implement and influence ITU’s international standards.”
Represented by the Director, Radio Monitoring and Survey, Kilyobas Binga, the Minister, said Nigeria would learn about bridging the standardisation gap, develop the right skills for standards-making at ITU-T Community.“We shall join activities in the regions, participate in the standardization work of ITU-T and partner with recognized bodies to help us bridge the standardization gap. It is on this basis that I want to join the ITU body in calling on ITU member states, industry members, small and big companies and academia, together with UN sister agencies, partners and all stakeholders, to support ITU’s “Bridging the Standardization Gap (BSG)” programme for the prosperity and well-being of all,” the Minister declared.
Shittu assured that Nigeria will be joining the ITU in BSG programmes by facilitating the efficient participation of Nigeria in ITU’s standard-making processes and hands-on sessions in the course of the year.