‘Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity:’ IEEE at the OECD Ministerial Meeting

Consensus has gathered globally that collaboration among all stakeholders—across government, industry, international organizations, academia, civil society and others—will be crucial to spurring additional innovation, growth and social prosperity in the digital economy around the world. IEEE has joined just such a diverse group in Cancún, Mexico, at the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, to advance dialogue and progress.

The OECD Ministerial Meeting, which ends 23 June, is taking place in order to stimulate conversation in key interrelated areas:

  • maximizing the contribution of the digital economy to growth and wellbeing;
  • creating the right investment and policy frameworks to support innovation in digital technologies and boost their impact on social prosperity, and
  • attaining an environment of security, trust and resiliency for networks and users.

With the core purpose of fostering technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, IEEE was eager to bring its voice to the OECD Ministerial Meeting through a number of opportunities.

New Markets and New Jobs

Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA), joins a panel discussion 23 June, “New Markets and New Jobs.”

The proliferation of machine automation is causing many to worry about their job security and the future of employment of their children and communities at large. This is just one of the legitimate concerns that compete with the advocacy on the positive
impacts of technologies, methodologies and systems that aim to reduce human intervention in our day-to-day lives. Mr. Karachalios will speak to the IEEE efforts underway to contribute to alleviating those concerns by helping ensure that technology
is advanced to the benefit of humanity under principled disciplines.

For example, the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems has been launched to address key issues facing society regarding intelligent technologies. And the IEEE Internet Initiative facilitates a dialogue between the two historically disparate worlds of technology and policy. In this way, the IEEE Internet Initiative informs debate and decisions, to help ensure trustworthy technology solutions and best practices and to successfully address the new technology policy challenges. Through activities such as these, IEEE is helping drive conversation across the boundaries that traditionally separate diverse stakeholders, to help ensure that technology is advanced for the benefit of humanity.

In addition to Mr. Karachalios, eight other speakers were invited to join the “New Markets and New Jobs” panel discussion:

  • Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Mexico;
  • Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Secrétaire d’Etat et Directrice du Secrétariat d’Etat à l’économie (SECO), Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche (DEFR), Switzerland;
  • Arijandas Šliupas, Vice Minister, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Lithuania;
  • Nkosi, Sango Patekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister, Minister of Labour, South Africa;
  • Alan Davidson, Director of the Digital Economy, United States;
  • Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, American Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organizations;
  • Iain Mac Labhrainn (MacLaren), Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, and
  • Jody Greenstone Miller, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Business Talent Group.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market for the European Commission. Bhairavi Desai, National Taxi Workers’ Alliance; Rob Atkinson, Founder and President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, Global Indices, INSEAD, are scheduled to serve as “key interveners.”


EcoFenix was announced yesterday, 21 June, as the winner of a U.S. $1,000 cash prize for the IEEE-sponsored Excellence Award for “Best App That Addresses Value Ethical Design,” during the BIAC Connected Communities, Connected Lives Hackathon at the OECD Ministerial Meeting. Kevin Alejandro Ruiz, Luis Esteban Barranco, Noel Leyva Larios, Erik Velasco, Brenda Cristina Rico Marldonado and Fernando Garcia were members of the winning EcoFenix team.

The 24-hour competition encouraged application developers to showcase their coding talents and collaborate with peers and technical mentors from all over the world in developing innovative solutions to local or global challenges. In competition for
more than $20,000 in cash prizes and mentorship from a venture-capital firm, teams developed apps in a range of areas:

  • smart cities apps related to e-government, crisis management, environmental protection, sustainable development, urban transport solutions, energy and/or water conservation;
  • social inclusion apps related to access for traditionally marginalized groups such as the disabled, seniors, residents in rural areas and the under-skilled; digital skills development; e-government, or citizen engagement with the government;
  • entrepreneurship apps related to building business connectivity; increasing scope of small- and medium-size businesses; supporting digital entrepreneurship or transforming employer-employee or buyer-supplier relations, and
  • cultural heritage apps related to history, culture, tourism, geography or arts.

The EcoFenix team’s winning app focuses on connecting individuals in order to reuse electronic equipment that would otherwise be discarded. The app is intended to allow members of a community to utilize components of this equipment to build devices,
such as computers, tablets and mobile phones, which can be distributed to members of the community who cannot otherwise afford these devices. As devices are built using these components, members of the community can provide the instructions on how
the new devices were created that would allow others located anywhere in the world who utilize the app to follow the same approach in their own local community.

Open Standards for an Open IoT

Also yesterday, as part of the 21 June Internet Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC) Forum at the OECD Ministerial Meeting, IEEE hosted a panel discussion, “Open Standards for an Open Internet of Things (IoT).” Roberto Minerva, Research Coordinator at Telecom Italia Lab, and Chair of the IEEE IoT Initiative, was joined in the discussion by four other panelists:

  • Elsa Chan, Co-founder of Jetlun;
  • David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, ICANN;
  • Luis Kun, Professor of National Security at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) at the National Defense University;
  • Laurent Liscia, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, OASIS, and
  • Monique Morrow, Chief Technical Officer and Evangelist for New Frontiers Development and Engineering, Cisco.

The session explored how stakeholders can develop a common core of open standards that includes architectural frameworks, reference models and data-abstraction blueprints, to enable a clear definition of relationships among the IoT’s numerous vertical markets, while minimizing industry and vertical market fragmentation and improving interoperability. Panelists discussed how open standards will be critical to support key development areas—smarter power consumption, improved storage and management
of data, safeguards for privacy and security, high-performance micro-controllers, communications and interoperability, among them—that will serve as the foundational building blocks for the IoT.

Continuing the Conversations

IEEE is committed to continuing the conversations that have been stoked at this week’s OECD Ministerial Meeting. Please visit the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems, Internet Initiative or IEEE IoT Initiative to engage.

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