The company expects to engineer its own networks to deliver handset bandwidth at 10Mbps for every user, comparable to DSL levels today. They expect household bandwidth to be configured at 100Mbps per subscription. Alcatel-Lucent characterizes this ambitious enterprise as "the electrification of the 21st century."
Africa is emerging as the "new frontier" of wireless communications. Africa has jumped from 4.5 million people online in the year 2000 to 110 million in 2010. There are now 246 million mobile phones, and an astounding 700 million SIM cards in the 54-country continent.
Global Forum often forecasts world trends in the information and communication industries. Invitation-only delegates this year came from 35 countries and international organizations such as the European Commission and the World Bank, augmented by delegates from corporations large and small, and multiple government agencies.
The conference, often called "the Davos of IT," focused on innovation, especially as influenced by the open-innovation movement. The theme was "Shaping a Connected Digital Future: Visions, Challenges, Opportunities for Organizations and People in a Smart World."
The theme was given special emphasis from Global Forum's main French sponsors, the ITEMS International consulting firm, and the Foundation Sophia Antipolis, the first "smart community" and research science park, created in 1984.
Global Forum 2012's third lead sponsor was "INNOVA: The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems," a 200-person R&D promotion group since 2001. Sweden is also the only country with an official "Digital Champion," Jan Gulliksen, whose purpose is to promote digital literacy and capacity-building across the population
A need for rational business incentives was repeated by several company speakers in the annual Global Forum policy panel, led by Andrew Lipman, head of the Telecom Group of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Bingham McCutchen.
Open Innovation an overriding theme
This year's Global Forum was driven by energetic discussion of innovation, reflecting Europe's lead in collaborative R&D theory, especially the "Open Innovation" movement.
Open innovation is a concept originally popularized through a seminal 2003 book by the American Henry Chesbrough, now a professor at Berkeley. The Europeans have militantly pursued the principle and built it into research policies and multilateral organizational funding.