The GSMA unveiled a new phase of its Big Data for Social Good initiative which will focus on the use of big data for disaster preparedness, with support from operators KDDI, MegaFon, NTT DoCoMo, SoftBank, Telefonica and Turkcell.
The association also said good progress had been made in the first trials over the past year, creating a blueprint for future deployments which use mobile operators’ big data capabilities to address the sustainable development goals (SDGs) — a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations.
The GSMA’s Big Data for Social Good initiative launched in February 2017 and is today backed by 20 mobile operators with a presence in 124 markets around the world. The initiative has enabled mobile operators to jointly establish a holistic framework and approach to analysing the data captured on operators’ networks to help public agencies and NGOs tackle epidemics, natural disasters and environmental crises.
Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA (pictured), said the initiative has generated significant momentum among operators and UN agency partners, and operators are now equipped with a comprehensive blueprint of best practice guidelines for big data deployments.
“We are now expanding the initiative into the area of disaster preparedness, where we can harness the power of big data to understand, prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters on vulnerable populations,” he said.
Granryd added that the use of mobile big data capabilities for disaster preparedness situations is a key example of how the mobile industry is contributing to the SDGs.
“The work to date demonstrates that by combining mobility data with other data sources, operators can build a business case to support decision-making and planning by governments and NGOs across a wide variety of use cases,” he commented.
Big Data for Social Good is currently being trialled by Bharti Airtel in India; by Telefonica in Brazil; and by Telenor Group in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. In these trials, operators are capturing anonymised, aggregated mobile indicators in a consistent output format, while respecting and protecting the privacy of individuals via an agreed code of conduct.
The data is then combined with a wide variety of other data types to provide insights for public officials and NGOs.