Hosted by the City of Stockholm and Vinnova, the Swedish Governement Agency for innovation, the Global Forum gathered today in the Grand Hotel. The 200 delegates coming from 35 countries including China, Japan and most of the EU countries listened to a very interesting set of keynote speakers moderated by Proessor Jean-Pierre Chamoux from the University Paris Descartes.

The opening speech was delivered by the highly respected Commissionner Tom Rosch from the Federal Trade Commission of the US. The Commissionner pointed out that the worldwide industry convergence now well established between telephone, computers and the media may soon require a simplified institutional regulatory system able to avoid capture from the industry as well as power abuses.

Two high level public Commissioners from Japan and Sweden, Director General Toru Nakaya from the Institute for Information & Communication policy in Tokyo and Professor Jan Gulliksen chairing the Digital Commission of Sweden, expressed their views on how public policies can fit with technology and its usage.  Public policies shall still take all steps necessary to maintain the ICT industry safe and secure so that people will trust networks and services : all stakeholders, including consumers, networks and services do appreciate clear guidelines and legal guarantees in order for them to trust the ICT system at home and globally as well, they said.
Two high level spokesmen from the ICT industry joined this opening session : Dr. Urban Fagerstedt, vice-president R&D, Huawei Technologies Swedish branch and M. Olivier Duroyon, from Alcatel Lucent Regulatory department in Paris. Dr. Fagerstedt noted that his 25 year old company climbed from the follower seat to a worldwide leadership during the last ten years, thanks to fast moves and innovation from the lab promptly adjusted to market competitiveness. M. Duroyon noted that innovative devices developped outside of the network industry do maintain a constant pressure on operators to deliver a sustainable service and a quickly growing demand for broadband.

Innovation is also pressuring procurement analysts and public institutions to forecast how and when to buy equipements even ahead of their appearance on the market said Ann Mari Finneman, head of IT department Vinnova, in her speech pointing out what is really needed to improve public services through information technologies, well before they are available on shelf.

M.Gerald Santucci from the DG Connect unit of the European Commission noted that the so-called Digital Agenda for Europe prepared by the Commission for the coming decade, may miss some of the multiple stakeholders expectations if it fails to recognize the diversity of targets expressed by the people in Europe, a most difficult task to accomplish given the critical economic environment resulting from the World crisis underway.

A final touch was given by Dr. Kingsley Fletcher, a traditional African Ruler from Ghana well acquainted with IT technologies both in the West and in Africa. He stressed that the African environment is now changing drastically along this huge continent and that growth and entrepreneurship are blossoming in many countries with IT having a major role in that change.

This may support a brilliant view for the future, Professor Chamoux said in his concluding remarks as, for the first time in modern history, Africa may soon become the place where traditional ruling and modernity finally play a positive sum game for the ordinary people, with communication and information technology supporting a significant growth in welfare and well being.

Written by: Prof. Jean-Pierre Chamoux