The truly interactive and engaging opening session brought together:
Anna Gomez, attorney at law and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) – the moderator of the session;
Roberto Viola, Deputy Director General DG CONNECT, European Commission;
Gary Shapiro, President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, USA;
Jørgen Abild Andersen, Director General Telecom (RTD), Chairman of OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP);
Ching-Long Lu, Ambassador, Taipei representative office in France;
Theresa Swinehart, Senior Advisor To The President On Global Strategy, ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names And Numbers, and
Willie Lu, Co-Founder of Technaut Intellectual Ventures; Chief Inventor & “Father” of Open Wireless & Mobile Cloud Platforms for Mobile Devices, USA.
to discuss: delivering innovative, disruptive technologies, critical success factors for innovation, the Internet of everything, Broadband/4G Infrastructures, new Devices and applications affecting mobile networks etc.

Ms. Gomez brought to everyone’s attention that in 1992 there had been as many connected devices as the population of San José, California, and now there were more connected devices than the entire population of the world! «Now that the world is full of connected devices, privacy and security are very important, so it is our job here, at the Global Forum, to talk about it.»

Having just arrived from the airport, Mr. Viola talked about the establishment of the first digital Commission in the history of the EU whose strategic objectives are:
• Creation of a single digital market in EU which would be the largest in the world;
• Drafting and implementation of a unified legislation that is of critical importance for: telecom single market regulation, net neutrality, network security as a response to cyber-attacks) etc.
• Increased investments in digital – as high as 340 billion EUR.
Mr. Viola stressed the multi-stakeholder approach behind this new digital revolution in Europe that will create jobs and drive growth.

Mr. Shapiro said that it was a great time to discuss the ways the world was changing because despite our cultural and political differences, we all faced the same challenges induced by change. He focused on the importance of innovation for growth, and the disruptive technologies that would bring even more options: wireless health, drones, 3D printing, nanotechnologies, robotics, the Internet of things…. For governments to be fully prepared to create an environment conducive to innovation, Mr. Shapiro said, they need to focus on the following aspects: diversity; speed of change, investment capital, and culture.

Mr. Andersen started his presentation with latest statistics related to the digital market in order to stress the point that digital economy is, in fact, extremely powerful in tackling challenges like: innovation, jobs creation, and economic growth. For example, Internet has created 2.6 new jobs for every job it has displaced – it is a job generator not the contrary. He also mentioned the app economy as an example. For Mr. Andersen the biggest problem is that the focus has been too much on the supply side, and forgetting the demand. What’s the point to have a huge broadband when there is no content to exploit it? According to him, we need a coherent approach by the government, and not just a decision made by one minister in charge of the entire case. Last, but not the least, he talked about leveraging data, information, and knowledge, and the big-data driven processes of growth and innovation.

His Excellency Ching-Long Lu started his presentation in a rather unconventional way by using songs and puppets to draw our attention to the fact that Taiwan, with a territory as big as only 0.025% of the surface of the world, and population as small as 0.3% of world population, is a real representative of a digital society due to:
• High level of investments in technologies;
• Strong focus on international collaboration (there are currently 44 ongoing collaborative projects/ programs between France and Taiwan);
• Excessive government investments in education (up to 18% of the national budget);
• Strong focus on intellectual properties;
• Dense import-export matrix, and
• Close collaboration between the private sector and public administration to bring together this new digital era into reality.

According to Ms. Swinehart, the entire world is converting into digital. We’re facing a digital generation who doesn’t know how to handle non-digital things, and we need to educate and protect them, because now their online identity is equally if not more readily accessible as their disconnected identity. The digital economy has already started to outpace the traditional economy, and it has been proven that an online active country increases its GPD by 2.6 times faster compared to non-online active country. This is why there is not a single industry that hasn’t changed its business plan due to technologies.

Mr. Lu talked about three different types of system architectures:
• The First Generation Internet – The Internet of people whose purpose was to connect people together via mobile communication.
• The Second Generation Internet – The Internet of vehicles. Your car isn’t just a car anymore. It’s a mobile office, a mobile home, and even a mobile enterprise!
• The New Generation Internet – The internet of aircrafts. The technology is already available; we just need to put it in aircrafts.

According to him, we need to stop focusing on 3G, 4G, etc. We have to focus on high speed wireless, and our main objective should be improving its performance.

The session finished with an open discussion among the presenters, and a summary of its main highlights:
• EU’s strong focus on digital innovation;
• The need for a coherent approach to data-driven innovation;
• The critical role of internet of things and broadband infrastructure;
• Proper addressing of market failures in the domain of digital;
• Changes in legislation and ways entire industries operate caused by single innovative companies like Uber, for example.