Global Standards Symposium highlights role of standards in advancing digital transformation

On 28 February, the fourth Global Standards Symposium (GSS-20) brought together – in Geneva and online – stakeholders from governments, the private sector, the technical community, academia, and civil society, to discuss the role of international standards in enabling digital transformation and achieving the sustainable development goals. The long-day discussions were reflected in a series of conclusions to be transmitted for consideration by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-20), hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 1–9 March 2022. GSS participants called for continued collaboration between international standards developing organisations (SDOs) to facilitate digital transformation, and stressed the need to continue efforts towards bridging the standardisation gap between developed and developing countries. Further, the GSS encouraged the ITU to strengthen collaboration with industry fora and other standard-setting entities to accelerate digital transformation in the urban domain. Acknowledging the need for international standards to enable the acceleration of the transition to a net zero, energy efficient, circular economy, the symposium recommended that ITU continue to develop standards to support the telecommunication/ICT sector’s transition towards a circular economy. The GSS also discussed the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in road safety, and encouraged the ITU to provide additional necessary telecommunication guidance in the area of telecommunications and connectivity on the deployment of self-driving vehicles, including through pre-standardisation work. A debate on digital health technologies highlighted the role of standards in making digital health more accessible and inclusive. Finally, the GSS encouraged the ITU and other SDOs to develop technical standards aimed to lower the costs of ICTs, enhance the resiliency of digital infrastructure, and support high level of security for financial transactions.