LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS AMERICAS 2017: We are at the tip of the iceberg with driverless cars, smart cities and consumer experiences empowered by advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, according to Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Business.
However, that’s not to say huge advances have not already been made, as “nothing has traversed physical borders and social barriers like the mobile internet revolution”, he added.
Arroyo highlighted Mexico as an example, stating the country shows “how powerful technology can be in assisting the emergence of an economy”.
He explained that when AT&T arrived in the country in January 2015, Mexico was at the early stages of mobile internet adoption, accessing mobile internet with 2G.
Now, more than 85 per cent of the population has access to 3G and 4G networks, with smartphone penetration going up from 34 per cent to more than 75 per cent.
“This collective capability is resulting in the emergence of completely new business models in the country”, he said.
But there is much more left to do.
He quoted a World Bank study which found that “more people have access to phones than clean water and electricity, a reminder that there is so much work to be done. Everything we do can serve a higher purpose”, said Arroyo, adding that the mobile industry can help economies “unleash the potential” of 5G.
Telecoms without Borders, an organisation working to bridge the digital divide, is one particular example of mobile’s impact, with the initiative setting up emergency communication facilities in war and disaster zones in more than 70 countries.
Arroyo also trumpeted the importance of data. “Data is the ultimate renewable resource, the raw material of the mobile world”, because “we are in constant conversation with objects”.
With this, the industry can “drive real change when we can tap into this capability – this makes the internet a powerful tool for good”.
A use case he envisions involves giving farmers data on wind, temperature and humidity so they can better preserve resources and efficiently take care of crops.
Another example was a scenario whereby first respondents can be shown near real-time images of fires and crime situations.