|Ginés Alarcón is one of the most authoritative voices of the telecommunications sector. An industrial engineer from the UPC, he is president of CTecno, the Foundation of the Catalonia Technological Circle, and also chairman of the Nae consultancy. His professional career has always been related to ICT and his posts of responsibility have included managing director of T-Systems Iberia, vice-chairman of the Lavinia group and general manager of Colt Telecom in Barcelona. He is currently director-general of the Barcelona Mobile World Capital Foundation, which amongst other things encourages different programs such as that of the Competence Centres. These programmes are intended to develop innovative projects that create industrial activity and foster the use of mobile technologies and applications in different sectors, including mHealth.|
You will be directing and managing the project of the recently founded Mobile World Capital Foundation. What is the purpose of this Foundation?
The purpose of the Foundation is to develop initiatives and projects which, along with the Mobile World Congress, are intended to turn Barcelona into the world benchmark of mobile technology. These projects are the Mobile World Festival, the Mobile World Centre and the Mobile World Hub.
The Mobile World Congress, which has been taking place in Barcelona since 2006, is the most important event in the world in the telecommunications sector. The last Congress was visited by almost 70,000 people and had 1,500 exhibitors and 70,500 m2 of exhibition space. It is organised by the GSMA, the association that represents the mobile communications industry in the world, and Fira de Barcelona, which plays a very important role.
The purpose of the Mobile World Festival is that people should be able to enjoy the use of mobile technologies in special music, sports, cinema and other kinds of cultural events.
The Mobile World Center will be a physical space in the centre of the city to show the Mobile technologies and solutions to the citizens of Barcelona.
Finally, the Mobile World Hub is intended to develop an innovative industrial sector that will make Barcelona the world leader of mobile technology.
What might be the impact of the fact that Barcelona is a world of mobile capital until 2018?
Our main objective is to create a new industrial fabric and qualified jobs. This will be possible thanks to the development of the most advanced mobile technology projects in the world, which will bring in different technological and industrial partners who are all world leaders in their speciality. The project will also be attended by local companies, entrepreneurs and other players such as universities, business schools and professional associations.
Given everything that you have seen and experienced in your long career in the sector, what do you think the role of ICT will be in the new economy?
The role of ICT is vital, not only for climbing out of the crisis, but also for sustaining the model once it is over. Now it is essential to firmly introduce technologies in companies, not to continue working in the same way but rather to change the way it is done. The mobile technologies, general telecommunications and the world of applications and services are already mature for assuming the role of helping to transform business to make it more efficient, more competitive, and not only to save costs that to contribute to their growth. Furthermore, the contribution of ICT is important in improving citizens' quality of life, environmental sustainability and the form in which public services supply people are present in their agenda.
What opportunities do you believe mobility offers when it is applied to the health?
The health sector is one of the sectors making greatest use of new technologies to change and become more sustainable and efficient in giving its services. Some recent examples are the electronic prescription, the shared medical record and image diagnosis. Catalonia is one of the most outstanding regions in the world in this respect and has come to the forefront in using ICT in health. However, there is still a lot to be done especially with regard to the efficiency of the model. In this sense, the use of mobile technologies applied to processes of prevention, diagnosis and treatments is a very large step forward. We must not only imagine what we will be able to do with mobile devices, but also what can be done to manage the information and processes on-line with technologies such as M2M or the Internet of things.
What role must the Ministry of Health and the Fundació TicSalut play to achieve the objectives of the Mobile World Capital and the new Foundation?
The Catalan Health Department and Fundació TicSalut's role is very important for starting up in developing the mHealth Competence Centre. Recent experience gained by the Health System in Catalonia has been well received internationally. Awareness of the present situation and above all of the future evolution in achieving the challenges we have set is of great help for the project of the Mobile Capital. The Competence Centres will be led from the industry and therefore the public institutions of Catalonia are essential. In fact we have already taken the first steps towards the mHealth Competence Centre with the collaboration of the Health Department and the Fundació TicSalut.
We have a unique opportunity with Barcelona as the Mobile World Capital, which is to foster the technologies applied to the different industries from Catalonia and to become the world benchmark of the knowledge and its application. In the health area we have already done considerable work and now is the time to use it.