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Big Data was an important subject at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The initiative presented a good picture of what is now possible. Orange has been rolling out this technology for years to provide companies with data insight, notably with applications like crowd monitoring.
In the context of the MWC 2017 the GSM Association (GSMA) presented the IoT Big Data API Directory. It will give developers access to harmonized datasets from multiple sources worldwide. In this way, the GSMA will stimulate the creation of innovative new applications around the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT generates a large amount of data. To get the full potential from IoT, a common approach for data is necessary. GSMA wants to offer that with its IoT Big Data API Directory.
At the MWC in Barcelona the GSMA and its members showed their work in that domain. Orange showed how it combines data regarding public transportation, weather stations and air quality from anonymized data sources in India and France.
Crowd monitoring in crisis situations
The “Big Data for Social Good” is another initiative presented at the MWC by GSMA. Sixteen mobile operators, including Orange, provide anonymous metadata from their network from which the initiative distils important insights. These insights are useful in dealing with crisis situations, such as epidemics and natural disasters. For example, by monitoring the flow of people in a region hit by an epidemic, health organizations can provide a more targeted response and thus slow the spread of the epidemic.
In Belgium, Orange has also been using these types of Big Data applications for several years now, which we can describe as “crowd monitoring” applications. In collaboration with partners, projects have been implemented, including in the cities of Antwerp, Mechelen and Genk, to anonymously track the movements of people flows. This information is useful for security, mobility and city or event marketing. The Smart City Digital Award 2017 from Agoria has clearly demonstrated that this is an innovative approach. Orange and Cropland won the prize with their project to analyze traffic diversion and congestion around the animal park Pairi Daiza.
Big Data for gender equality
Even the issue of gender equality was on the agenda at the MWC under the heading of Big Data. One of the goals of the GSMA is to provide access to the mobile network for women and girls in developing countries. Farah Ramzan Golant, CEO of the nonprofit Girl Effect explained, in her keynote address at the conference, how they developed an app that allows women to collect data. Women are paid to take pictures with their phones and answer questions about their community. By analyzing these data, Girl Effect gets valuable insights into those communities. In this way Big Data can help improve gender equality, while making women in developing countries financially independent.
Interested in other trends featured OR highlighted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? Then read the interview with Werner De Laet, the article on 5G and IoT or the article on Artificial Intelligence.