Wim Sweldens at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul
By Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent wireless business.
First amazing day here in Istanbul. You can feel the fever building on the eve of the WEF focused on MEA region. What is already clear is that after the Arab spring of last year and with all the economic and political changes, the time and place for this event is right. Istanbul – consistent with its history – is positioned as a central hub between western Europe, eastern Europe, middle east, and Africa. That has to be a huge opportunity of cultural confluence.
We worked today in a session preparing for Rio+20 the sustainability event to be held in Rio later this year and 20 years after the groundbreaking eco summit there in 92. One participant phrased it well following Aristotle: it’s all about Earth (food supply), Air (clean air work), Water (how to replenish our clean water sources which are running out) and Fire (energy). We all agreed that we need to forget about the lines on the maps and view the world like the astronauts have expressed, with no lines, no maps, just one world… We also need one goal, set sincerely, rationally and based on facts & figures. Have we made progress in 20 years? Absolutely. But not enough. Time for further action and clear targets for the next 20 years.
One concrete example for energy is the wireless industry. Today we build mobile networks using big towers which visually pollute our landscapes and skylines and are incredibly energy inefficient – 99.99% of the energy emitted by a tower will never reach a mobile.
How to solve this? Open innovation and cocreation is the answer. Green Touch is an industry and academic consortium which has set out to provide the theoretical and experiential backing for a 1000 fold improvement over 10 years. With lightRadio we make the first commercial product step and can reduce power by 50%. Part of the innovation is to use many easy to install small cells using small radio cubes.