I was happy to moderate a thoughtfully assembled session at the FAO-ITU organized e agriculture solutions forum in Nanthaburi, Thailand, 29-31 August 2016. The objective of this session was to share initiatives on e-agriculture – the challenges and opportunities from public and private sector. There were speakers from a government research organization, a research group at a university, a trade association representing telecom operators, and a private firm. They will present a range of exciting solutions, some centered on complex computer systems that integrate multiple data streams and others that focused on the smartphone interface. One question I did not have time to ask was one I wrote down right at the beginning: “if you could pick the application that has the greatest impact from all that you have done in this space, what role was played in its success by collaboration?
Following the plenary in 2013 at which Viktor Mayer-Schonberger introduced big data to ITU Telecom World attendees, there will be a panel discussion at the 2014 edition in Doha, Qatar. What is novel is that we will have three presentations by those who have actually got their hands dirty with big data, including Linus Bengtsson on Flowminder who will talk about their most recent work in helping track Ebola in West Africa, and our own Sriganesh Lokanathan and Joshua Blumenstock. Big Data for Development Tuesday, December 09, 2014, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Meeting Room 104 Companies are increasingly relying on business analytics to extract value from the large volumes of computer-readable and analyzable (or “datafied”) data in their possession. For example, telecom operators are using these techniques to identify customers likely to exit so as to manage churn. Big data for development (BD4D) seeks to apply these techniques to big data held by both government and private entities to answer development-related questions.
Earlier this month I was asked by a panel moderator what the most critical factor was in accelerating broadband use. My answer was mobile apps. If people have interesting things to do with their devices, they will upgrade to smartphones, they will pay the usage charges, etc. This is also why I decided to put some effort into beating back ETNO’s misguided effort to squeeze the Internet into a dysfunctional accounting-rate regime. So where are these apps coming from?