Spotlight shines on IoT's role in growth and development

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Closer cooperation in high-tech fields like the IoT among countries and regions can further boost connectivity, promote mutual development and foster high-quality and sustainable growth over the long run, said participants at the ongoing three-day World Internet of Things Convention 2023 in Beijing.

Highlighting the importance of embracing emerging digital technologies, Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, said the IoT is reshaping industries and driving socio-economic changes around the globe.

He said in a letter sent to the convention on Monday that through real-time data-sharing and networking of information, IoT applications across transportation, agriculture, energy and healthcare are improving quality of life and can advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

"Only by working together can we ensure that frontier technologies like the internet of things and artificial intelligence serve humanity — bridging divides, uplifting lives and leaving no one behind," he said.

With "New IoT, New Economy, New Era" as its underlying theme, the convention opened on Sunday.

Jo Cops, president of the International Electrotechnical Commission, said digital technologies like the IoT are playing an increasingly important role in "shaping a sustainable, resilient and economically vibrant future for all".

For instance, the IoT supports the transition to renewable energy through smart grid applications, and it also revolutionizes smart cities enhancing urban services, transportation, waste management, public safety and health, Cops told the opening ceremony via video on Monday.

He Xuming, chairman of the World Internet of Things Convention executive committee, said, "The IoT has found major applications in various industries, including industrial manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, healthcare, energy and environmental protection."

He said he believes the IoT fueled digital economic industrialization is set to usher in a new world economic and social landscape, with China playing a leading role in promoting the construction of IoT infrastructure.

Citing data from global research institutions and organizations, he said the world's digital economy, powered by IoT smart technologies, is experiencing a high-speed annual growth rate of 20 percent. Global IoT connections are set to grow by over 20 percent to surpass 18 billion in number this year. By 2030, the number is estimated to exceed 80 billion.

Notably, China has set an example in sustainable development in IoT infrastructure, according to He.

The total number of 5G base stations in China will likely top 3.2 million this year, laying a solid foundation for the development of the IoT. The IoT connections in China are anticipated to surge nearly 30 percent to surpass 2.3 billion this year, and the country's digital economy is poised to exceed 60 trillion yuan ($8 trillion) this year with a growth rate surpassing 25 percent year-on-year, He said.

On Monday, the convention launched an initiative to build the intelligently interconnected global market of the digital economy.

The convention called for all nations, especially major economies, to eliminate barriers to the innovative development of the IoT digital economy, strengthen cooperation in the innovation of high-tech and collectively create a smart Earth as a global home.

He Xuming said he expects to see closer international cooperation on emerging technologies including the IoT, which will help further drive the digital transformation and industrial upgrading for all.

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