Making Strides: Connecting Everyone and Everything to a Better Future

November 13, 2017

Blog

As we head towards the end of the year, I wanted to update you on the progress we’ve made in delivering on our industry purpose to connect everyone and everything to a better future. We’ve made important strides over the past few months in our goal of creating a world in which we can all benefit from the opportunities enabled by the mobile internet.

CaseForChange

Our CaseForChange initiative was launched at our Mobile World Congress Americas event in San Francisco and is already making a huge impact. Five videos highlighting how mobile is impacting lives all over the world have been released to date and the programme has already reached well over 1 million views across the #CaseForChange social media channels.

The case started its journey in Boston, where we saw how mobile gives the power of sight, then to Rhode Island to discover how connectivity is closing the ‘homework gap’, and Tanzania where rural mobile connectivity is a life-changing benefit. It has also been to Kenya, where mobile is saving lives every day, and our latest story is from South Korea, where mobile is connecting the past with the future. You can watch all these stories on the CaseForChange YouTube channel www.youtube.com/caseforchange and get involved using the #CaseForChange hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

Big Data for Social Good

Launched in February 2017, the Big Data for Social Good initiative is designed to leverage mobile operators’ big data capabilities in addressing epidemics and humanitarian crises and again we’re seeing significant progress with this initiative. In September, Megafon, Safaricom and Telenet became the latest mobile operators to sign on to the initiative, joining previously announced operators Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison, KDDI, KT Corporation, Millicom, MTS, NTT DOCOMO, INC., Orange, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Telia, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain. Operators backing the Big Data for Social Good initiative have a presence in 124 markets around the world. Initial trials of Big Data for Social Good for epidemics and environmental pollution are currently underway with Bharti Airtel in India, Telefónica in Brazil, and Telenor Group in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.

We have also established an Advisory Panel to provide guidance to the initiative, as well as coordination and integration with the broader ecosystem. The Panel is comprised of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) and Data2X, as well as leading big data experts from UN agencies including Be He@lthy, Be Mobile (a joint initiative by WHO and ITU), OCHA, UN Global Pulse, UNDP, UNHCR and WFP. The Advisory Panel will play a fundamental role in identifying where, when and how mobile big data can best support health and humanitarian efforts.

Mobile Industry Impact Report

At the United Nations General Assembly Week in September, the GSMA published the ‘2017 Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals’, the second annual study assessing the mobile industry’s impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016, the mobile industry increased its impact across all 17 SDGs, with the greatest improvement in SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 13 (Climate Action). In addition to highlighting the progress that the mobile industry is making against all of the SDGs, the report also noted several commitments and initiatives that the GSMA and its members will focus on delivering over the next year, contributing to further success with the SDGs. You can read more on our industry’s impact on the SDGs at www.gsma.com/betterfuture/2017sdgimpactreport/.

UNGA Week

As I noted, the GSMA once again participated at the UN General Assembly Week, providing a voice for the mobile industry. It was a busy week – this year, the mobile industry was everywhere – and the annual UN meeting proved to be an extremely successful platform to convey the increased impact that mobile is having on the SDGs.

Across the week, operator CEOs and executives participated in sessions and bilateral meetings with heads of state, global leaders and governments, showcasing the leading role the mobile industry is taking to achieve the SDGs. The highlights of this year’s engagement were two high-level events co-hosted by the GSMA and UN agencies on behalf of the industry. These events offered the perfect venue to launch our Mobile Industry Impact Report and provide an update on the work of the Big Data for Social Good Initiative, together attracting over 850 high-level attendees. For me, the highlight was the many interactions we had and the in-depth engagement with the GSMA and our members – a true sign that mobile as a vehicle for social good is being taken seriously.

So, some great progress being made in connecting everyone and everything to a better future. But that work continues in the New Year. We’re going to be at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January where I’m sure there will be some very interesting conversations around the SDGs. It will be great to be able to share the continued progress on our initiatives at this forum. This of course will then be followed by Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. The theme this year is “Creating a Better Future” – and this serves to underline the work we are doing to support our industry purpose.  It promises again to be a great show and I look forward to seeing you all there!

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