Initial trials of Big Data for Social Good for epidemics and environmental pollution are currently underway with Bharti Airtel in India, Telefonica in Brazil and Telenor Group in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.
In the trials, operators are capturing anonymised, aggregated mobile indicators in a consistent output format to provide insights into human movement patterns. These insights are then layered with third-party data sources, such as disease prevalence, infrastructure and resource locations, pollution and weather data, to support agencies as they make decisions on when, where and how to deploy resources.
At the United Nations General Assembly Week, the GSMA has announced new developments in its Big Data for Social Good initiative to leverage mobile operators’ big data capabilities in addressing epidemics and humanitarian crises.
Megafon, Safaricom and Telenet have signed on to the initiative, along with operators like Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison, KDDI, KT Corporation, Millicom, MTS, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Telenor Group, Telia, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain.
The Big Data for Social Good initiative is now backed by 19 companies with a presence in 124 markets around the world.
The GSMA has 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.
“The GSMA and our mobile operator members are committed to working with UN agencies and national governments to provide critical mobile big data to help address the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.
“Big data presents a huge opportunity for operators to accelerate and scale the impact they can have in achieving the SDGs,” added Granryd.