Trylon Communications  - January 2004
       

It's a Wired, Wired World

A recent U.N. Summit called for an “inclusive information society,” and outlined a goal for developing information technology in undeveloped countries. Representatives of 176 countries came together to endorse not only a Declaration of Principles, but also a Plan of Action setting forth a road map to get the job done.

The three-day Summit was the first multi-stakeholder global effort to share and shape the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for a better world. It included more than 300 side meetings, all geared to identifying the means of manifesting the vision of a world in which all people have access to information. A huge assortment of experts attended the meetings, from policy makers to business executives and IT wizards to non-governmental organizations and scholars.

Participating companies included Cisco, ITU, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, all of whom offered solutions to move the project ahead. Cisco and ITU plan to open 20 training centers for information technology and Internet. Hewlett Packard will provide low cost products to help overcome the illiteracy barrier. Microsoft will provide a billion dollar program to bring ICT skills to underdeveloped countries.

The summit succeeded in its main goal of making an inclusive information society a top priority for both government and non-government entities. Now the real work begins.

By 2015, the target is to bring ICT to within reach of half the world’s population by linking schools, villages, governments and hospitals. A second Summit is planned for Tunis in 2005, at which time progress will be measured.

The impact of this type of communications growth looms large on the public relations Richter scale. With the ability to reach expanded markets at unprecedented levels, companies that begin planning now will reap the largest rewards.