Sustainability and mobile technologies

Sustainability and mobile technologies

Mobile technologies have penetrated into our lives immensely. We have become so hooked on to our mobile phones that we cannot think about leaving home without our devices.  For many of us living in the more developed parts of the world, it is a social need more than anything, something like an addiction. But for the majority of the world’s population, mobile technologies signify more. Connectivity to a doctor in a city can mean the difference between life and death, more than to a person who lives in a remote village in Africa.
According to the 2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals (SGA) by Deloitte for GSMA, the mobile industry has moved from being a luxury service provider in an analogue economy to providing the foundations of all interactions in the digital world. Two thirds of the world, or 4.7 billion unique subscribers, are now connected by mobile networks with approximately 200 million additional people being connected each year, 2.2 billion people have mobile broadband, enabling them to contribute to the digital economy. By the end of 2015, there were more than 310 million Internet of Things (IoT)/machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, with growth forecast to drive this to one billion connections by 2020, demonstrating the emerging scale and scope of the digital world and the mobile industry’s role in it.

On Sept. 25, 2015, the heads of states, governments and High Representatives issued a declaration from the UN headquarters adopting the SDGs and their targets, and committing to work together to change the world.
All SDGs are impacted by the mobile industry to varying degrees, with the greatest impact being felt on SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 13: Climate Action. The way the industry contributes across these four SDGs differs significantly. 

SDG 9 calls for resilient infrastructure, sustainable and inclusive industrialization and innovation. The industry makes a powerful contribution through extending and upgrading its infrastructure, connecting remote, less-included communities, stimulating economic participation and supporting IoT-related innovation. 

SDG 1 focuses on eradicating poverty, providing equal access to economic resources, and building the resilience of the poor. The industry plays its part by stimulating economic participation and activity through voice and data services, by providing affordable connectivity and acting as a provider of financial services to developing economies, including the powerful platform of mobile remittances that is particularly valuable to underserved communities.  

SDG 4 targets significant improvements in the quality of and access to good education across formal and more skill-based categories. The industry primarily impacts this SDG by providing connectivity to schools and learners, giving access to digital resources. The industry also provides educational platforms directly, including content, and facilitates the purchase of school-related services in poorer economies through mobile money. 

SDG 13 seeks improvements in community resilience to the effects of climate change and improved planning and management. The industry contributes by providing emergency communications systems, connectivity and tailored services, for example, broadcasts at times of disaster and early warning systems based on data analytics, sensors and crowd sourcing. 

When I look at these from Turkey’s windows, I see that there is so much potential in so many areas of development that we can have in mobile technologies, and I wonder how our authorities do not really address anything about them. I hope this report will attract some attention and provide a blue print of what to do for our government.