Now backed by 19 companies with a presence in 124 markets around the world, The Big Data for Social Good initiative aims to leverage mobile operators’ big data capabilities in addressing epidemics and humanitarian crises.
According to Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA, “This marks the first time the mobile industry and such a range of UN agencies are collaborating on a single broad initiative. This unique approach will enable us to create a holistic Big Data for Social Good framework that spans the agencies’ varied requirements from the outset, ensuring that decision makers have the necessary information, when and where they need it.”
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.
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.
“Operators are already making a strong contribution to all of the Sustainable Development Goals,” continued Granryd. “Big data presents a huge opportunity for operators to accelerate and scale the impact they can have in achieving the SDGs.”