LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS AMERICAS 2018: GSMA director-general Mats Granryd put the focus on mobile’s role in shaping every aspect of today’s world during his opening keynote, with a big push on the idea of ‘intelligent connectivity.’
“As an industry, we have an opportunity – an obligation – to leverage our mobile networks and services to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs,” he stated. “The mobile industry is helping people in times of disaster, reducing inequalities, helping to preserve our world’s resources, and we are positively impacting people’s lives every day. In short – we are connecting everyone and everything to a better future – today.”
Granryd highlighted a number of case studies that showcased mobile’s success so far in this area. In Peru, for example, one million children don’t have access to primary education, but mobile classrooms are bringing learning to the most remote parts of the Amazon rainforest, giving students access to exciting educational opportunities.
In the United States, mobile and IoT are helping businesses monitor and manage water resources. And in Canada, scientists are using mobile technologies and big data as part of wildlife conservation efforts across the country.
Granryd reflected on his personal experience of early ‘5G’ services demoed at this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, while talking up the lead role the US will play in the launch of commercial networks before the end of 2018.
For consumers, virtual reality and holograms “will be the norm,” while for enterprises, network slicing will be “a key 5G solution to deliver smart capabilities.”
Touching on the progress Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made (in use for virtual agents and chatbots on the web, in apps or on messaging platforms, such as Rich Communications Services, as well AI-based virtual assistants, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home), Granryd said the impact of AI goes beyond individuals – it is “transforming industries.” Self-driving cars are a great example, he claimed, where AI will help to process the enormous quantities of data gathered.
“To be truly life-changing, artificial intelligence requires hyper-connectivity, offering ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency,” Granryd commented. “These two mega trends, combined, are ushering in a new era for our industry – an era of intelligent connectivity. This era will be defined by highly contextualised and personalised experiences, delivered as and when you want them.”
The GSMA boss predicted that personal assistants of the future will understand every human need and will have a deep understanding of our environment and surroundings. “We will be able to control these ‘virtual assistants’ through conversation using our voice, instead of the keyboards and screens that dominate our lives today,” he stated.
A conversation onstage with virtual personal assistant Avi saw Granryd showcase the benefits of having immediate access to local information, before he offered a look at how intelligent connectivity will move beyond improving individuals to benefiting society.
Big Data for Social Good
He pointed to the success of the GSMA’s Big Data for Social Good initiative, launched last year with trials in 7 countries.
In Brazil, Telefonica has been using big data to address air pollution in Sao Paulo. Granryd said it is now possible to predict pollution problems up to two days before they happen, allowing the city to take precautions to protect public health
And in South East Asia, Telenor is working to predict the impact of population movements on the spread of multi-drug resistant malaria, helping to fight the disease in Bangladesh, Thailand and Myanmar.
The most recent wave of this initiative focuses on disaster preparedness. For instance, Telefonica is running projects in Colombia and Brazil to respond to disasters – whether epidemics or climate change –more effectively by providing intelligence on displaced populations.
“I have often said that a connected society is a happy society. And in the era of intelligent connectivity, the ways we can positively impact society are truly endless,” he concluded.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back