Smart ABC programme

Technological developments in artificial intelligence, digital financial services and smart cities make innovative use of ICTs to improve quality of life, efficiency of services, productivity and competitiveness. ITU has created a unique platform bringing together experts, exhibitions and debates on these three key areas of smart technology and their potential to transform our societies. The third edition of our Smart ABC Programme at ITU Telecom World 2019 focuses on the latest technological, business and policy developments in these fields – and how they can be used for the benefit of humankind.

Smart ABC Brochure


As machines rapidly gain the ability to learn, improve and make calculated decisions, AI is performing more and more tasks beyond human capability, or previously thought to rely on human experience and creativity. AI is increasingly driving solutions across all industry sectors, learning from billions of connected objects in IoT applications to create continuously evolving ecosystems of intelligent devices.


In a world where 1.6 billion adults have a mobile phone but do not have access to a bank account, ICTs have huge potential to reshape financial transactions, processes and consumer behaviour. ICT and financial-services industry players and their overarching regulatory bodies are driving fintech innovation towards smart and secure universal financial access.


Smart cities are the digital transformation of public services, enabling better management of infrastructure and resources, encouraging sustainable urbanization and facilitating hubs of innovation. Smart city ICT infrastructure needs to support openness and interoperability, which will only be achieved with coordinated adherence to international standards.

Why take part?

  • Unique platform to share knowledge, develop business and build partnerships
  • Critical space for international dialogue on key emerging technologies
  • Promote understanding and awareness of capabilities of Smart ABC sectors
  • Key opportunity to explore technical standardization and policy guidance essential to ABC success
  • Connect with leading proponents of Smart ABC technologies throughout Africa
  • Join special Forum debates on ABC focused on “Innovation for smarter digital development
  • Exhibit your project, products, apps and services before an international audience in the Smart ABC Pavilion.

For more information on Smart ABC activities contact:

Smart ABC programme 2019



Join heads of smart cities from around the world, fintech leaders, AI experts and tech start-ups to address the opportunities and challenge of Smart ABC alongside smart city mayors, financial sector professionals, regulators, ministers, CEOs, SMEs, innovators, media and consultants.

Smart ABC Pavilion


Exhibitors from governments, major ICT players and SMEs will showcase, discuss and demo key smart technologies. Experience first-hand the products, services and applications shaping the future, find out more on the work of ITU and discover smart development potential throughout Hungary, Central Europe and beyond.



Explore the creative potential of emerging Smart ABC technologies from the perspectives of technology, business and policy in expert-led Forum debates – from the potential of AI to solve major socio-economic challenges to innovative fintech solutions driving universal financial inclusion, 5G smart city infrastructure, and the technical standardizations needed to support Smart ABC.



Network with experts, innovators and policy-makers on Smart ABC technologies, from VIP dinners to networking cocktails, themed lunches and the popular ITU Telecom World event app. Meet leaders from government, the private sector, civil society and academia to share insights and expertise across industry sectors.

Programme highlights


  • Andy Nam, Chief Information Officer, Standard & Charted Bank
  • Chi Hyung Lee, President & CEO, Seoul Digital Foundation
  • Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President, Ant Financial (Alipay)
  • Eldar Tuzmukhametov, Head of Smart City Lab, Moscow
  • Gongpil Choi, Director, Korea Institute of Finance and Technology
  • Idonae Lovetrue, CEO, Demiurge Technologies
  • Ismael Villegas Ochoa, Chief Information Officer, Mexico City
  • Myung Soon Park, Director, AI Division, SK Telecom
  • Neil Sahota, Worldwide Business Development Manager, IBM
  • Paul Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, TM Forum
  • Satoshi Amagai, President & CEO, Mofiria Corporation
  • Stephen Ibarakai, Senior Advisor, Financial Services Roundtable
  • Tan Kiat How, CEO, Infocomm
  • Thomas Suh, Founder & CEO, Legalmation
  • Toufi Saliba, CEO, PrivacyShell & TodaCorp
  • Winnie Tang, Founder, Smart City Consortium
  • Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
  • Young-Sook Nam, Secretary General, WeGO
See all speakers

Programme highlights

Tuesday 10 September


09:15 – 10:30 AI for ALL? Building on a global ecosystem to boost societal and economic potentials

Machine learning software is being deployed at a rapidly-increasing rate across a wide range of applications around the globe, from autonomous driving to lifelong learning in the workplace, assisting in diagnostics and healthcare, agriculture, social inclusion initiatives, and mitigating the effects of climate change.  AI is a key topic in both public and private discussions, which focus on its enormous potential – and on the ethical concerns it creates. What are the best use cases, governance models and success stories to date? Beyond its commercial applications, how can we capitalize on the potential of machine learning, and later of AI, to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity? Is the development of AI a new global arms race, or new source of global collaboration? What should the roles of government, private sector and academia be in an AI future? Are we in danger of mirroring the digital divide with an AI gap, and can social innovation keep up with the pace of technological breakthrough? How can AI’s success in meeting global socio-economic challenges be measured – and how can we best ensure it is trusted, safe, equitable and beneficial?

14:00 – 15:15 Universal financial inclusion access through innovative FinTech and Digital Currency

The absence of basic financial services represents a barrier to socio-economic development throughout the world, in particular in developing countries. With more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, however, increasing access to and use of ICTs is opening up increased access to financial services. Central bank digital currencies and currency-pegged stablecoins can also be an alternative form of e-money and contribute further to the goals of universal financial access. How can central banks achieve financial inclusion through digital currency? Are central bank-issued digital currencies and stablecoins equivalent to e-money? What are the technologies behind central bank digital currency?  Which innovative financial technologies (FinTech) are leading the way in providing financial services to unbanked populations? How can ICT and financial services industry players – and their regulatory bodies – drive FinTech innovation towards smart and secure digital financial services?

15:45 – 17:00 5G testbeds: laying the groundwork for smart cities

5G is the key enabler of tomorrow’s digital economy, linking smartphones and wireless sensors, driving smart sustainable cities and powering the fourth industrial revolution. Such is its unprecedented potential that many 5G applications and services are yet to be discovered or understood. Governments around the world have now begun investing in testbeds enabling different industry verticals to work together on 5G solutions. What challenges are testbeds helping to solve? What models exist currently? Who are the main players in creating and operating test environments, and what roles have they adopted? How are 5G testbeds laying the groundwork for the smart cities of the future? How important is collaboration between public and private sectors? How can 5G-ready policy frameworks, standardization and global harmonization accelerate 5G deployment?


Wednesday 11 September

15:45 – 17:00 AI, financial services and smart cities: harnessing technology for human good

Technological developments in artificial intelligence, digital financial services and smart cities have enormous potential to transform our societies and the world in general, enabling solutions, applications and new markets to a far greater extent than human capability alone. New regulatory approaches or a new kind of global framework may be necessary, however, to ensure these new technologies are put to work for the benefit of humankind. How can we regulate the decisions, actions and impact of technology for social good, and who should be responsible? How should we manage the ownership, exploitation and implementation of new types of datasets generated by digital financial services? Can AI empower financial services and smart cities, providing better data to improve performance? And can we balance human and machine input and initiatives to ensure optimal, secure and trusted customer service?


ITU smart standards

The Smart ABC Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2018 is part of ITU’s commitment to providing a neutral platform for international cross-sector dialogue on the potential of smart technologies, and the associated implications for standardization, policy and regulation. Further events and activities planned for Smart ABC in 2018 include:

The second edition of the AI for Good Global Summit took place in Geneva, 15-17 May 2018, in partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation, the Association for Computing Machinery, and sister UN agencies. The Summit focuses on impactful AI solutions able to yield long-term benefits and help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Within ITU-T, the Focus Group on Machine Learning for Future Networks including 5G (FG-ML5G) was established to draft technical reports and specifications for machine learning (ML) for future networks, including interfaces, network architectures, protocols, algorithms and data formats.

The ITU AI Repository has also been recently launched to identify AI-related projects, research initiatives, think-tanks and organizations that can accelerate progress towards the “17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

ITU-T Study Group 20 develops international standards to enable the coordinated development of IoT technologies in smart cities, including machine-to-machine communications and ubiquitous sensor networks. This Study Group is also involved in studies relating to big data aspects of IoT and smart cities and communities. ITU together with other 16 UN agencies has developed a set of KPIs for smart sustainable cities to establish the criteria to evaluate the contributions of ICT in making cities smarter and more sustainable, and to provide cities with the means for self-assessment in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

ITU, together with 16 other UN agencies, has also launched the “United for Smart Sustainable Cities” (U4SSC) initiative to advocate for public policy to encourage the use of ICTs to facilitate and ease the transition to smart sustainable cities.

ITU-T Focus Group on Digital Financial Services has published a wide range of research and technical reports tackling issues such as reaching digital liquidity, consumer protection, digital identity and digital ledger technologies. The Focus Group was influential in identifying strategies to scale-up the use of digital financial services. Building on the strong collaboration initiated by the Focus Group, the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) has been set up as a joint collaboration between ITU, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements, to support and accelerate the implementation of country-led reform actions to meet national financial inclusion targets and the global Universal Financial Access 2020 goal. In particular, focus will be on enabling national authorities to better harness the potential of digital technologies for financial inclusion.

Find out more about ITU’s standardization work at

Smart ABC partners