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Panel 2.1 Improving Networks and Services through Convergence

Few sectors have experienced more change in recent years than the communication industry, with much more set to come. Business models that were built on separate fixed, wireless and broadcasting infrastructure have converged, services provided over different networks are now offered over a single pathway – the Internet.

The issue of how to promote competition while fostering innovation and investment remains crucial for policy makers and regulators. In a converged scenario, however, traditional approaches for assessing and regulating communications and television markets may not be optimal. Specific issues such as network neutrality, or the traffic prioritisation debate, have become prominent in the past few years because the treatment of services provided over the Internet will certainly shape how they will be used by consumers and businesses.

This panel discussed how digital convergence is affecting policy and regulation. It highlighted elements which would need to be reviewed to take advantage of convergence for economic and social development.

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Panel 2.2 Tomorrow’s Internet of Things

A digital transformation is occurring in cities, industries and homes. Objects and sensors connected to the Internet are increasingly being integrated into economies and peoples' everyday lives.

The Internet of Things (IoT) may well usher in changes on a similar scale to those that electricity and the combustion engine, with wide-ranging economic and societal benefits and implications. As billions of devices come online, stakeholders may need to adapt current policies and embrace innovation and technology neutrality to meet their goals in sectors such as health and transport.

This panel dicussed how policy makers could move ahead and promote the positive elements of the IoT, while considering actions required to minimise its challenges. This included ensuring access to efficient and widespread communication infrastructures and services, as well as privacy and security, protection of consumers and more broadly addressing the potential effects on economies and societal values. Other critical elements addressed were the adoption and development of good practices to enable the necessary trust and competitive open markets around the IoT.

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