MWC 2017: Social Goes from ‘Good’ to Great with Big Data

This week in Barcelona, Spain at Mobile World Congress, the GSMA launched the “Big Data for Social Good” initiative.

The effort, we’re told, will leverage mobile operators’ big data capabilities to address humanitarian crises, including epidemics and natural disasters.

According to the official word on the initiative, the program is being launched with 16 of the world’s leading mobile operators – Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison, KDDI, KT Corporation, Millicom, MTS, NTT DOCOMO, INC., Orange, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor, Telia, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain – which collectively account for over 2 billion connections across more than 100 countries.

The United Nations Foundation is a supporting partner, providing coordination and integration with the broader ecosystem, including organisations such as Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL). Trials of Big Data for Social Good, focusing on epidemics, will start from June 2017 in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Myanmar and Thailand.

“A year ago, the mobile industry became the first sector as a whole to commit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, as outlined in our Mobile Industry Impact Report published in September, we are already affecting all 17 Goals to varying degrees,” said Mats Granryd, Director General for the GSMA. “We are now focused on amplifying and accelerating our industry’s impact in achieving the SDGs, and the initiative that we are announcing today will contribute greatly in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing humanity: epidemics and natural disasters.”