Earthquakes, floods, pandemics... technology and connectivity can be allies when dealing with such emergencies. Beyond connectivity, new digital services based on Big Data analysis and the Internet of Things have great potential for improving disaster management.
Technology helps us to optimize the coordination of rescue and logistical operations, to allow real-time action and to deal more efficiently with the security challenges which occur.
At Telefónica we therefore encourage collaboration with governments and humanitarian organizations to strengthen the response strategies. Our Action Policy in these cases focuses on the organization and execution of the timely deployment of telecommunications technology to assist and support the efforts to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and emergencies.
We provide an early warning channel, we facilitate the coordination of the response of the emergency teams and the logistical coordination and we support the vital communications between and to those who are affected.
To align efforts, in early 2016 we signed the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter at the Mobile World Congress in order to address disasters and emergencies in a coordinated manner with other operators before, during and after such situations.
In addition, following the natural disasters which have occurred in Latin America in recent times, at Telefónica we have signed up to the creation of the Latin American Federation of Associations for Business Continuity (Continuam), together with other companies and organizations, with the aim of exchanging knowledge and best practices.
Action Policy during emergencies
The key to a quick and efficient response of the emergency teams is the proper management of the telecommunications networks and services. In addition to establishing Continuity Plans to ensure the normal provision of services to customers, we include concrete actions to complement the humanitarian aid to the rest of the population.
- We prepare drills in order to build, improve and update the processes, action plans, capacities and priorities in a joint response.
- We establish a basic code for humanitarian aid in coordination with the national regulators in order to organize the participation of public and private companies.
- We support access to our mobile services during the emergency, providing simplified and free access to vital communications, to the extent of reactivating suspended or cancelled services.
- We solve the communications infrastructure deficit by means of our satellite services. We actively participate in the GSMA Association and other operators with the organization of a specific working group for a “Response to Natural Disasters and Emergencies”.