Potchefstroom Business School (NWU) academic invited to adjudicate International Innovation prize

Pertunia Thulo -- Wed, 04/17/2013 - 00:00

Potchefstroom Business School (NWU) academic invited to adjudicate International Innovation prize

Pieter Geldenhuys, local academic and technology strategist, has been honoured with the inclusion in a four-member panel that will adjudicate The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) ICT Innovation Application Challenge. The ITU, with 192 member countries, launched the ICT Innovation Challenge in November 2012.  The Challenge’s aim is to promote sustainable, equitable economic growth in emerging economies by unearthing applications targeting social and economic inclusion. 

The International Telecommunication Union is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of world-wide technical standards.

The Challenge calls for the submission of innovative ICT applications and ideas taking full advantage of mobile phones, mobile Internet access and social media tools to transform inclusion, citizen participation, and transparency in the following areas:


  • Innovative mobile application services (e.g. mobile health, mobile payments, etc).
  • e-Education
  • e-Government
  • Intelligent Transport Systems


Geldenhuys, who received both his Electronic Engineering and MBA degrees from the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), also serves as the vice-chairperson of the Innovation Focus group at the ITU.  He was asked about the ICT Innovation Challenge that falls outside the normal standardisation role of ITU.

“The ITU has played, and will continue to play, a critical role in defining the standards of telecommunication equipment and protocols. The advent of the Internet Protocol and the explosion of bandwidth have, however, changed the locus of control, power and profit in the digital value chain. Past networks, including the phone system, have been ‘smart’ and narrowband. Current networks are black boxes: dumb pipes, with intelligence spread to the machines at their peripheries.

“Innovation’s biggest impact has therefore shifted to the edges of the network, where hundreds of thousands of software developers can launch a mobile application, and make it available to the world at large.”

According to Geldenhuys, the ICT Innovation Application Challenge is recognition of this new reality. Its aim is to harness the innovative spirit of thousands of individuals who desire to be the change they want to see in the world. It is therefore the aim of the ITU to recognise outstanding work done in the fields of education, health, government, e-payments and transport.

The results of the Challenge will be announced at an ITU celebration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, 17 May 2013, in Geneva Switzerland.

Pieter Geldenhuys is a faculty member of the Potchefstroom Business School (North-West University), the vice-chairperson of the Innovation Focus Group at the ITU, and acts as a Strategy consultant to SystemicLogic, a boutique consultancy with offices in Sandton, New York, London and Beijing.


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