Malcolm Johnson, director of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Standardization Bureau and head of ITU's Academic Memberships, recently visited George Mason University to meet with faculty and administrators. Johnson shared updates on how ITU's global initiatives are aiding in bringing the benefits of information and communication technologies to people worldwide and how Mason faculty and students can take full advantage of its academic partnership by connecting with ITU on its initiatives.
"ITU academic membership provides valuable opportunities for faculty and students—from conducting research and publishing to contributing to standards development and holding internships—at the leading edge of technology and society," said J.P. Auffret, director of executive degree programs at George Mason's School of Business.
In 2012, Mason became the third university in the United States to begin an academic partnership with ITU, the United Nations' agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). With headquarters in Geneva and offices worldwide, ITU's members now include 193 countries, more than 700 private sector members and associates, and 66 university partners worldwide consisting of leading universities and research centers from 41 countries around the world. Mason is one of 46 academic partners in the ITU-T sector, the standardization sector of ITU, alongside universities such as Georgia Tech and Waseda University.
"ITU is involved in a myriad of global technological contributions," says Auffret. "ITU played a key role in the development of 4G wireless (and will in 5G wireless), and ITU currently has efforts spanning a range of key areas including M2M, cybersecurity, telematics, healthcare, and smart cities. Through its efforts—in conjunction with member companies, private sector organizations, and universities—ITU is contributing to healthcare, banking, and rural and agriculture development as mobiles are more and more the foundation for society and society infrastructure."
During his visit, Johnson discussed these initiatives and how Mason faculty and students can engage in ITU efforts. The membership is particularly relevant to faculty and students in the School of Business' Masters in Technology Management (MSTM) and Masters in Management of Secure Information Systems (MSIS) programs, Vogenau School of Engineering, and School of Public Policy.Through the help of its membership partners, ITU maintains its commitment to connecting all the world's inhabitants by bringing the benefits of ICTs to people worldwide in an efficient, safe, easy, and affordable manner. In particular, ITU is responsible for activities including allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, developing the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and improving access to ICTs to underserved communities around the world.
In addition to contributing to standards development efforts, faculty and students have the opportunity to grow their technical knowledge—through attending tutorials on standardization, hosting ITU workshops, requesting lectures by ITU experts on campus, or accessing a range of resources exclusively available to members. Additionally, Mason faculty and students can participate in ITU study groups on key topic areas including future networks, cyber security, M2M, Big Data, intelligent transportation systems, and smart grid.
Mason students also have unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience by interning at ITU.
Membership access to the ITU network gives Mason faculty the opportunity to exchange ideas with other academia members and develop new partnerships, meet private sector members and find sponsors for research, and publish and promote research in ITU journals and forums.