App security, quantum cryptography, smart cities, 5G investment: Industry leaders highlight priorities

The increasing importance of over-the-top (OTT) services calls for greater application security. The impending arrival of quantum computing demands innovation in cryptography to guard against new threats to security. Accelerated debate is required around policy support for 5G (IMT-2020) infrastructure investment. Data sharing remains a key priority for the Internet of Things (IoT), particularly IoT applications in smart cities.

These were among the key conclusions of the tenth annual Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Meeting held in conjunction with ITU Telecom World in Durban, South Africa, 10-13 September 2018.

The meeting brings CTOs together to discuss industry needs and associated standardization priorities.

The trends discussed at the CTO meeting reflect the evolution of ITU membership, in particular that of ITU’s standardization arm (ITU-T).

ITU-T membership has taken a sharp upward trajectory, welcoming 35 new industry players in 2018.

New ITU-T members include mobile virtual network operators and enablers (MVNOs and MVNEs), manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, telematics and automotive companies, OTT service providers, energy utilities, and companies specializing in quantum cryptography and quantum communications.

The CTO meeting issued a communiqué summarizing trends in information and communication technology (ICT) of growing relevance to ITU standardization.

ICT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

CTOs discussed ‘four pillars’ of sustainable development: energy, transport, ICT and water.

These discussions drew a comparison with the first and second industrial revolutions. These revolutions were enabled primarily by network effects – more widespread access to water, energy and transport.

Digitalization, said CTOs, and especially access to data, will initiate similar network effects in the coming decade, supported by the rollout of 5G systems.
OTT application security
The need for greater app security stems from the increasing importance of OTT services, said CTOs, considering OTTs’ exchange of sensitive personal data and growing relevance to critical infrastructure such as energy grids and road-transport infrastructure.

Greater app security, highlights the CTO communiqué, would require standards providing frameworks for the objective measurement of app security and interpretation of associated results.

Big brands often inspire end-user trust. But the application space has become very diverse. App-security standards could offer a ‘label of trust’, said CTOs, giving end-users confidence that personal data is handled appropriately by all app providers.

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