Mr Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (bottom left) and H.E. Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Viet Nam (top right), with the winners of the ITU Virtual Digital World Awards 2020 during the online ceremony held on 7 December 2020. Photo: ITU
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized innovative tech solutions with the potential to change lives across the globe at the Virtual Digital World Awards ceremony, following an expert-led SME programme of masterclasses and online pitching. Awards were presented in four different categories:
Connectivity – new approaches to increasing universal access to the internet
Smart cities, smart living – improving urban life in areas such as energy, transport, planning, education
E-health– improve healthcare through remote diagnosis and treatment
Digital finance – increase access to the digital economy for the banked and unbanked
From very small satellite-powered remote IoT sensors to mobile finance for smallholder farmers, navigational platforms for smart public transit or portable electrocardiograms for remote diagnosis, and more, this virtual edition of the ITU Digital World Awards – open to all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide – celebrated creativity and innovation in digital solutions meeting real-world needs.
“Tech SMEs are critical to the speed and success of social and economic recovery,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 SME Awards form a small but important part of that journey by supporting SMEs and the potential for digital transformation they represent.”
Winners in each of the four categories were selected by a jury of experts from the fields of business, technology, and entrepreneurship, receiving certificates from the ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, in the presence of H.E. Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Viet Nam, and an invitation to attend ITU Digital World 2021 in Ha Noi next October. The winners were:
Astrome from India, using millimetre wave wireless communication to provide fibre-like backhaul capacity for 4G and 5G infrastructure, in the Connectivity category;
BusMap from Viet Nam, providing smart public transit solutions through navigation algorithms and advanced user experience features for consumers, corporates, and governments in the Smart cities, smart living category;
Appy Saude from Angola, for their e-health platform identifying the nearest pharmacy location, best price, and availability of medicines, in the E-health category;
OKO Finance from Israel, providing smallholder farmers with crop insurance and access to digital financial tools through simple mobile technologies, in the Digital finance category.
In the run-up to the Awards ceremony, SMEs from around the world took part in a special series of expert-led masterclasses, focused on honing pitching skills, achieving high levels of productivity and quality, staying safe in cyberspace, and expanding their business internationally.
This was followed by four days of intensive online pitching with finalists in each category going head-to-head online in the final selection process.
The Awards and SME programme form part of a series of virtual activities co-organized by ITU and Viet Nam’s Ministry of Information and Communications in advance of and in preparation for the next physical ITU Digital World 2021, taking place in Ha Noi, Viet Nam from 12 to 15 October 2021 and hosted by the Government of Viet Nam.