Since the beginning we have been very aware with the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations, and specifically with the Sustainable Development Goals as a global tool to improve society welfare and take care of our planet. For this reason, we have been selected to show in a video our contribution through connectivity, innovation and Big Data. Would you like to find out more?
For this purpose, we couldn‘t think of a better option than a tour through the Company done by a colleague from our Sustainable Innovation team, Elena Quiroga. So that you can have an impression on how we are evolving towards a more responsible and sustainable world.
Technology and innovation will probably define the future of humanity, and we believe that the new digital technologies are one of the main driving forces of economic and social transformation.
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How do we achieve this? Sustainable infrastructures
Over our 80 years of history, we have stood out for our commitment to the economic, technological and social development of the regions in which we are present. Thus, the SDGS have provided us with a new development framework to promote innovation and, more specifically, innovation with a purpose:
the creation of sustainable infrastructures and services based on innovation.
Between 2012 and 2017, we invested 45,000 million euros in physical assets, including the spectrum, to improve and deploy new infrastructures with the aim of connecting people. We work in a responsible manner, deploying sustainable networks that work with renewable energy. Our goal is that our consumption should be 100% renewable by 2030 to protect the planet.
Connecting lives and developing sustainable societies
We are committed to connecting people with efficient and environmentally friendly networks and exploiting the capabilities of technology to improve people’s lives. And, 3,900 million people, more than half of the world’s population, remain unconnected. Most of them live in developing countries. Our goal is to connect more than 100 million people in Latin America without Internet access, allowing them to improve and progress in their communities
Digitalisation must be an inclusive process that guarantees everyone the opportunity to participate in a connected world. Without a reliable and high speed connectivity infrastructure, people cannot benefit from the enormous opportunities that arise from the new ways to create, communicate and collaborate.
Therefore, connectivity has become a necessary element for empowering people and a key aspect for social inclusion. It opens access to education and digital knowledge on an unprecedented global scale, which in turn offers new professional possibilities and prepares people for future jobs.
“What we’ve done in the past is basically to focus our investment on connectivity in cities, in places where there is greater population density. Why? Because it is not cheap. Because it is expensive, and also because the return on investment is higher in places where there is greater population density”, Gonzalo Martín-Villa, Chief Innovation Office at Telefónica.
Looking to the future: Big Data for Social Good
The promise of data and digital technologies to improve lives is convincing, and current digitalisation is at risk of being perceived by parts of the population in developed economies as a source of inequality and deterioration of the standards of life.
There are 6 billion mobile phones in the world and 80% are in developing countries. This provides us with a network of sensors that generates valuable information 365 days a year, at all times. Thanks to all this data and new data analysis capabilities, we can use our own internal data with external information to return the value to our customers and simultaneously contribute to achieving the SDGS.
For this reason, we have a pioneer line of work called “Big Data for Social Good“, in which we use the power of anonymous data to face new social challenges such as air quality or emergencies, and helping governments to take better decisions. It also allows us to predict the spread of epidemics and create poverty indicators that help us understand the economic challenges of the future.
“Mobile phones have become an identifier for the location and the activity of the population. There are more than 6 billion mobile phones in the world and more than 80% are in developing countries” explains Elena Gil, CEO of LUCA & Global B2B Big Data Director of the Telefónica Group.
We are stronger together
The SDGS allow us to enhance partnerships with other companies, and a variety of public and private sector initiatives are required to close the digital divide.
At Telefónica, we are addressing this challenge with a radically open approach, collaborating with various stakeholders from different industries: Internet companies, other local operators, local entrepreneurs, governments, etc. We are using the next generation of networks based on software to build a rural and sustainable value chain with scalable financial structures able to deploy the networks of tomorrow.
A good example of this is the “Internet for all” project which allows connectivity to reach the most remote areas of Latin America, improving not only communications, but the way of life of its inhabitants. Projects such as this one highlight the need to explore new business models and collaborate with other service providers and regulators to make the necessary investment sustainable, and these innovations are the basis of the next generation of networks and services that will benefit the entire sector and, above all, society.
In fact, a project presented in collaboration between the Acciona.org Foundation and the Internet for all team was one of the winners of the IV Sustainable Innovation Initiative with the aim of bringing connectivity and energy to these remote areas.
“This is not only to make money… This is how we are changing the lives of people when accessing our services. Today, in the Maslow pyramid, the base is not water, the base is connectivity”, Enrique Blanco, Chief Technology and Information Officer of Telefónica.