It is hard to tell what technology has not transformed the way in which societies and citizens interact with each other. While most feels that technology has radically changed their way of living, even compared to not more than 10-15 years ago, we are still in the middle of profound transformations that we can benefit from immensely. The T-Systems Symposium held in Budapest on November 26 showed several areas of such transformation.
A plenary session and no less than six sections revolved around the central theme of digitalization in the modern age, the effects of technology on successful development.
“We have available the necessary technology at the level that we need it. New roles, new models and new structures are born, and robots are part of our everyday life. This is not the future, it is already the present,” Zoltán Kaszás, CEO of T-Systems Hungary said in his opening remarks.
As one single example, access to water worldwide has been greatly improved by a better use of technology. But while we may feel we are at the peak of technology, we need to pay attention to something at least as important: trust. Efficiency must not annihilate trust towards technology and those that create and implement it, Kaszás said. The three words that will define the following years, will be: trust, efficiency and data, he concluded.
The Hungarian government will put a much stronger emphasis on technology, as this is imperative for the development of the country, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics told attendees.
By 2025, at least 75% of all Hungarian public institutions and households will have internet access of 1 Gbps bandwidth (the average bandwidth now available for private use is about 0.3-0.4 Gbps currently).
The government aims at making Hungary a regional center for the next-generation, 5G mobile internet access technology tests and software developers, he added. The statistics support this goal: In the last five years, the gross added value (GVA) produced by the ICT sector in Hungary has grown by more than 20%, to HUF 6 trillion.
The digital economy, including in-house software development by non-IT companies (car factories, financial services etc.) is contributing at least 25% to the national GDP, Palkovics claimed. Hungary is performing very well in terms of the development of the digital infrastructure, even better than Germany. Based on the mobile network download speed, Hungary is ranked 11th among European states and eighth by signal coverage, the minister added.
As for the strategic goals, Hungary has adopted a National Digitalization Strategy with six main focus areas: The internet of things (IOT); Big Data; Industry 4.0; artificial intelligence; 5G; and blockchain. Measures for achieving these goals include:
• State funding for faster construction and cost optimization of the 5G network;
• Support for research in AI technologies, so that Hungary can become a reference point for the international AI community;
• Strengthening small companies by making available to them the achievements of AI technologies.
While the government is aware of the necessity of technological advantages, it is not losing sight of the environmental challenges, Palkovics noted. The aim of Hungarian economic policy is to make the country 90% climate neutral by 2030, that is, to reduce the carbon-dioxide emission to 0% in electricity production.
Among several measures, this involves also completely eliminating coal from production. Another important goal is to make the citizens more involved in preserving the environment and make the country cleaner, Palkovics said.
But what about the end-user? Tibor Rékasi, CEO of Magyar Telekom thinks that while the end-user enjoys many benefits of technology advancements, he or she is much less interested in knowing what is the underlying technology behind it.
We are experiencing a revolution of content consumerism. The user wants access to data immediately; even a few seconds of waiting are unbearable in the 21st century. A new phenomenon is arising: Until recently, users were focused mostly on download speed, therefore providers offered asymmetrical internet access: low bandwidth upload in exchange for 8-10 times higher download speed.
Nowadays this is changing: Users are uploading more and more data in the cloud and on social media, which makes the upload speed almost as crucial as the download speed, Rékasi noted. The quality of the access, the delays and the upload speed are, today, basically, a question of business life and death for providers.
Meanwhile, these come at a cost: energy consumption and data management. Users are increasingly sensitive to environmental challenges and data breaches, which poses a difficult task for providers: Give me speed and security, but don’t use too much energy. That is a real challenge, Rékasi said.