Addressing key topics within the communications sector.
The key trends in communications can be observed across multiple levels: techniques, components, networks, services, applications, and content. At the lower levels innovation brings greater efficiency and lower costs, while at the higher levels it is focused on revenue growth.
Communications is not on its own a major component of a country’s GDP, but in an increasingly knowledge based economy, it is has a large multiplier effect across business and society, much of which is intangible, or unmeasured, but central to business competitiveness and social cohesion. While communications has been undergoing a revolution in virtually every age, the current pace of change creates challenges for the industry and policy makers.
The major opportunities and challenges facing the sector are:
Engineering the future of communications
With the exponential growth in smartphone ownership and the growth in apps that access video, music and data there has been a corresponding explosive growth in network traffic on both fixed and mobile networks. This is unsustainable in financial terms as network operators battle to manage capacity. In order to address these challenges a new more intelligent approach is required to build infrastructure and applications that work together to provide adequate performance for the application being used.
A new vision has been proposed to government by the IET named DAN – Demand Attentive Networks. Further information is available at; www.theiet.org/dan
The Communications Policy Panel, in conjunction with the IT policy panel continues to hold annual Parliamentary briefings presentations at the House of Lords highlighting key trends that will shape the future;
Follow up confidential parliamentary and Ministerial guidance discussions have since followed.
Data privacy & file sharing
There has been much discussion recently regarding the illegal file sharing of copyright material. Whilst the government has proposed technical measures as part of the Digital Economy Bill, the IET has advised against these measures as they will be complex and costly to implement with little chance of being effective.
The IET has also warned of the implied privacy issues that are likely to arise should some of the proposed technology be implemented. This is an issue that the populous are yet to become aware of and will have serious implications on data privacy.
Synergy - cross sector policy
There is a great deal of synergy between the IT and the Communications sectors. This will increase significantly as convergence and unified communications technologies gather pace and penetration blurring boundaries.
The IET is increasingly addressing this phenomenon by developing policies that result from cross cutting Policy Panel collaboration. Typically both IT and Communications issues interlink with other sectors such as energy and transport.
A further example of cross collaboration is addressing the DECC Smart Meter initiative which involves IT, Comms, Energy, Data Security and Business transformation.
The IET has been advising on many of these issues and is keen to promote a joined up approach between the Digital Britain Initiative and Smart Meter implementation.
The IET is in a fortunate and unique position in that because of its broad based membership it can offer a holistic approach to today’s challenges and those of the future.