Keynote Abstracts

When and How to Share the Frequency Spectrum

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Speaker: Jens Zander, Professor & Director of School of ICT, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

The radio frequency spectrum is a natural resource of immense importance to the development of ICT. In developing countries, wireless communication provides a crucial opportunity to rapidly deploy a modern ICT infrastructure. Since modern communications systems for internet access require large data rates, it means significant amounts of spectrum are needed. One showstopper is that much of the radio spectrum is already occupied by old, inefficient radio communications systems whose spectrum use is protected by regulation. More flexible spectrum allocation techniques, including Secondary Spectrum Sharing and “Cognitive Radio” have been proposed for over a decade to use underutilized parts of the spectrum. Although the technology of spectrum sharing seems to be in place, the regulatory rules and commercial success is still in its infancy. In this keynote address we scrutinize some of the recent results regarding the incentives and prerequisites for successful spectrum sharing – from both technical and commercial perspectives. We will also discuss the intimate relationship between spectrum and infrastructures sharing, and the implications for rural communication in Africa.

Jens Zander’s Biography


ICT as a Key Engine for National Development

– Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Korea-

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Speaker: Byeong Gi Lee, Professor of Seoul National University, Board Member of Samsung Electronics and Former Commissioner of Korea Communications Commission (KCC)

As a former Commissioner of Korea Communications Commission (KCC), I am going to address good practices and lessons that South Korea learned while pursuing national economic development which heavily relied on ICT industry. In my opinion the subject is best suited for the theme of the Africon 2015 “Green Innovation for African Renaissance” as well as for the national developmental agenda’s of many African countries.

Today, South Korea stands among the ten largest nations in economic scale, and it is ranked even higher in the ICT infrastructure and competitiveness. Korea’s past and present experience very well demonstrates how information and communications technology can be used for sustainable national development. The role of ICT is even more essential today than before because industry has been transformed to be strongly influenced by, and closely coupled with, ICT.

The keynote will first introduce some statistics of ICT infrastructure and services in Korea today, followed by an introduction of the main achievements in each decade of the ICT developmental history. The presentation continues to address the key ICT policies that the Korean government initiated during the past four decades and the resulting best practices of e-Government public services. Next, it will discuss the important lessons Korea has learned while pursuing ICT for development, including how the balance between strong leaderships of government, competition-based and market led ICT industry as a main driving force for a sustainable and green national economic development. Finally, it will briefly address future challenges and opportunities that Korea faces in the coming decades.

Byeong Gi Lee’s Biography


Recent Scientific and Technological Advances: Potential Implications for the African Continent

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Speaker: Dr. Solomon Assefa, IBM Research -Africa

The world has already witnessed historic scientific and technological advances the early years of the 21st century. For example, the sequencing of the human genome has been completed, the Higgs Boson has been discovered, and transistor gates are shrinking to 10nm. Furthermore, advances in cognitive computing have led to intelligent machines that are able to learn, interact, and work together with humans. Such scientific and technological advances become especially significant when viewed in the context of rapidly changing societal and economic trends on the African continent: fastest growing economies, rapid urbanization, youth bulge, bold scientific agenda, and nascent innovation ecosystems. This talk will explore breakthrough technologies that are transforming key businesses and infrastructures, and discuss their potential implication on the African continent. The talk will also review the importance of research and development in addressing continental grand challenges, provide examples of current progress, and highlight the role of a local innovation ecosystems in promoting a vibrant and globally competitive economy.

Dr. Solomon Assefa’s Biography


5G Tactile Internet – cm Waves or mm Waves, and Multi Carrier versus Single Carrier

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Speaker: Gerhard Fettweis, Vodafone Chair Professor at TU Dresden, Germany.

As we see the advancement of wireless technology towards 5G and the Tactile Internet, we see as one of the requirements is the need for much higher data rates than available today. This is true not only for cellular, but also for WLAN systems. The need for spectrum is so large that it seems that only mm-waves can provide the bandwidths necessary to enable 10Gb/s data rates and beyond. However, where do we start in terms of spectrum range? It also must be understood that every increase in carrier frequency by an octave leads to a decrease in link budget by 6dB, according to Friis’ formula. However, the higher the frequency the more antennas can be placed onto the same aperture area. However, we have to address 3 main research questions:

  1. Size of an antenna array versus ability to manufacture, how do we need to take this into account?
  2. Size of antenna array: does this compensate Friis path loss problem?
  3. Does the missing ability for diffraction, which mean we have to rely on reflections only to achieve coverage work at mm-wave frequencies?

Another physical layer question is the modulation technique to be chosen

  1. Multi Carrier (e.g. OFDM) has major advantages, when do they play out well?
  2. And Single Carrier addresses some power consumption issues, which can be of advantage in which setting?

The keynote speech will highlight the research problems associated with the 5G tactile internet frameworks. The speech is expected to provoke further discussions and offer insights on possible research actions to tackle the impediments for efficient implementation of future wireless network technologies and services. 

Gerhard Fettweis’ Biography


Contributions of Research and Technology Organisations: The CSIR Story

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Speaker: Rachel Chikwamba (PhD, MBA), Group Executive, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, South Africa

Innovation plays a pivotal role in economic development.  As many African countries are emerging as the fastest growing economies in the world, research, development and innovation (RDI) institutions play an important role in providing technologies for competitiveness, generating new knowledge while addressing the challenges faced by society today and in the future.  The African Union (AU) has adopted a 10 year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) to underpin AU Agenda 2063, with its main thrust the diversification of sources of economic growth and lifting the continent’s population out of poverty. The strategy aims at fostering social and economic transformation through the development of human capital, innovation, value addition, industrialisation and entrepreneurship.  All this is to be achieved through centres of excellence in these fields. 

The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) espouses all these values and objectives.  Formed through an act of Parliament in 1945, the mandate of the CSIR is to apply directed and multi-disciplinary research and technological innovation, to foster industrial and scientific development, either by itself or in co-operation with principals from the private or public sectors, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the society. Its specific objectives include the development of skilled human capital, and carrying out research, development and innovation that is relevant to support national, continental and global imperatives while demonstrating principles of good governance.

As the CSIR celebrates 70 years of its existence, the keynote address highlights some of the significant innovations and the impact thereof nationally and globally.  The CSIR has endeavoured to address national challenges in defence and security, health, energy, natural and built environments, ICT and industry.  The keynote will touch on CSIR contributions to the global innovation front, such as the lithium-ion battery, wireless communication technologies, smart spectrum management, and the world’s first digital laser. The CSIR has exported some of these innovations globally, and continues to value its collaboration with parties on the continent in creating shared value for solving Africa’s grand challenges.

Like any other research and technology organisation, the CSIR faces the challenge of balancing its role in meeting to the national challenges while staying on the leading edge of technology and innovation in an environment of limited financial resources. The address will highlight how the CSIR strives to support economic development while also addressing the legacy of past inequalities. 

The CSIR lives its mantra: “Our Future Through Science”, such a positioning statement should resonate well with the delegates of Africon2015, also as a gathering of science and technology professionals to whom Africa looks up to, to help resolve its current and future grand challenges. 

Rachel Chikwamba’s Biography