[Read more session reports from WSIS Forum 2017]
The session was organised by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) to showcase projects that use ICTs to improve living conditions. It featured leading experts from cutting-edge fields, such as big data and mobile technology.
Mr Houlin Zhao (Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)) delivered an introductory speech highlighting the increasing involvement of China in the WSIS process, and the considerable number of Chinese projects that were winners of the WSIS prize. Zhao expressed his appreciation to the Chinese government, in particular to the MIIT. He encouraged other Chinese participants to attend the WSIS Forum and seize the opportunity to network and develop international cooperation and partnerships.
Mr Yan Huang (Director, China Mobile Communications Corporation) explained how his company creates business value from big data. China Mobile is the world’s largest telecom provider in terms of network capacity and customer base. There are currently 849 million subscribers and 103 million IoT connections. In China, almost any task can be performed on a mobile phone, such as buying tickets, paying bills, ordering meals, and using mobile banking and financial services. All these applications run on a phone network, producing data that can be easily characterised as big data. There are several ways to extract value from this big data:
- Provide consulting services for business clients, based on data analytics (e.g. analyse mobile phone preferences and app consumption).
- Provide analyses based on location services. China Mobile has 70% of the market, so the data on the location of users is very accurate. Based on data from drivers’ phones, information about traffic can be provided, for example.
- Provide strategic information to the retailing industry based on emerging trends and geographic distribution. For example, if the customers of a particular shopping mall live, on average, within 3 km of the mall, the shopping mall could devise a strategy to offer free transportation to the mall. It could also use this information to optimise marketing strategies (e.g. know where to deploy their posters and advertisement).
A fair concern regarding the use of big data is the possibility of abuse. There is a need to protect privacy. Nevertheless, a person cannot be singled out and identified in this big data analysis, because only aggregated information is processed. Some privacy researchers say that data can never be completely de-identified. Maybe this is something technicians could improve in the future.
Mr Xiaofeng Xu (Senior Engineer, Jiangsu Province Post and Telecommunications Planning and Design Institute Co., LTD) presented the changes introduced for the Olympic Games in major Chinese cities, particularly in the transmission and processing of information and big data.
Mr Xiangang Yu (Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd) mentioned that Agenda 2020 represents a new era in telecom technology. In two years, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems will be available. Currently, we are living the ‘golden age’ of 4G, but some services cannot be served well by 4G anymore. Telecom operators need to find new ways to maintain their revenues with the growth of over-the-top services (OTTs). The vision for a better connected world encompasses the development of a highly connected ‘broadband society’, a ‘digital society’ (in which education, health, manufacturing, and IoT are available) and a ‘safer society’, in which technology enables wireless cameras and tracking system for public safety. Video surveillance is usually served by a fixed Internet connection, but with wireless technology cameras can be anywhere. The socio-economic value not only benefits telecom operators, it also stimulates GDP and jobs, pushes for the faster adoption of national broadband plans, and encourages cross-industry technology upgrade.
A representative from China Communications Technology presented the South-to-North water diversion project, an infrastructure project which aims to channel 44.8 billion cubic metres of fresh water annually from the Yangtze River in the Southern China to the more arid and industrialised north. China faces water shortages, and this project optimises the allocation of water resources. It is playing a key role in the development of China.
Ms Yao Zhao (Deputy Director, Internet Society of China) presented a project that fosters the online inclusion of vulnerable people in China, such as the disabled, the elderly, and ethnic minorities. These segments of the population face barriers to obtaining information online. A policy on information accessibility began in 2004, on the occasion of the Olympic Games. China’s e-government initiative on accessibility was launched in 2013 to make governmental information available to all. Nowadays, most website developers follow technical standards of accessibility and there has been a re-coding of previous websites. This process has been automated, and websites can be processed in batches to be aligned with accessibility standards.
Ms Meng Wang (Vice-President, QianYi health management company Ltd) delivered a presentation on the growth of China’s internet Health Care Industry. She highlighted that the number of elderly and disabled is growing in the country, increasing the need for healthcare. The Internet healthcare project developed a platform that connects patients and nurses who have some free time. Three services are provided: nurse on-sight, home nursing, accompanying registration and diagnosis. The platform charges 25% per transaction and they are using big data for refined operation management.
The healthcare system was also the topic of the presentation delivered by Mr Klaus Zimmer (Senior Vice President, Neusoft Corporation and President of Neusoft Europe). He pointed to the fact that healthcare costs are rising, as well as the proportion of the population that lives with chronic diseases. Technology is making the health industry migrate to digital spaces. He presented the idea of the Nigbo cloud hospital: a platform that makes it easier to have access to services in the medical area. Patients can use their mobile devices to access hospital services, including prescriptions and appointment. Patient information and information on diagnostics, for example, represent a valuable pool of big data that can be used to enhance the provision of healthcare.
Mr Nianqi Zhang (Analyst of Big data, China Mobile Group Jiangsu Co., Ltd) presented a project that aims to improve traffic conditions in China by real time collecting and processing of data for traffic planning and emergency response.
by Marilia Maciel