New Initiative Provides Open Data for the Mobile Industry in the Developing World
The GSMA has launched the Mobile and Development Intelligence (MDI) project in conjunction with Omidyar Network the philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Through an open access portal, MDI will offer data and analysis to support business decision-making and clarify the evidence of the socio-economic impact of the mobile industry in the developing world. MDI will provide any user with over 70 metrics and the ability to tabulate, graph, map and export the datasets with country-level dashboards available for more than 140 developing world countries. MDI will continually add new datasets throughout the project and users can add data and content to the portal.
“The GSMA believes that open access to high-quality data will improve business decision-making, increase total investment from both the commercial mobile industry and the development sector, and amplify economic, environmental and social impact,” said Chris Locke, Managing Director, GSMA Development Fund. “The GSMA is uniquely positioned to aggregate and host data and analysis on behalf of our mobile operator members and the wider industry. This open data portal will provide for the first time a complete landscape of the organisations and mobile services that are influencing and changing lives in developing populations throughout the world.”
“Omidyar Network is proud to partner with the GSMA on the MDI portal to help foster a thriving mobile ecosystem in the developing world,” said Raj Gollamudi, director of investments, Omidyar Network. “Using the power and ubiquity of the mobile platform to empower individuals with information and opportunities to improve their lives is core to Omidyar Network’s mission. We believe the mobile industry in emerging markets needs a credible and trusted source of market data to enable greater collaboration across various sectors and drive incremental investments in the most promising opportunities. In addition to becoming the industry’s de-facto data platform, we envision MDI becoming a vibrant community hub for all players in the ecosystem.”
A challenge facing mobile industry stakeholders in the developing world is the lack of publically available data and analysis to support their business decision making. MDI will fill this information gap and will aggregate and host publically available data from multiple sources such as the GSMA, the United Nations, the World Bank, the wider mobile industry and development organisations.
MDI hosts a landscape of more than 800 organisation profiles; in addition, over 750 products and services have been summarised, with an initial focus on mobile money and mobile health. Users can see these organisations, products and services on a global map and search for particular types of organisations. This will allow stakeholders to identify each other, understand each other’s offerings and objectives, and form collaborations and partnerships.
There are an estimated 6.6 billion mobile connections globally, with the developing world providing the majority of global connections growth. The industry is moving beyond basic voice to the use of mobile to deliver services in adjacent sectors such as agriculture, education, financial services and health. As the most widely adopted technology in history, mobile is uniquely positioned to drive economic, environmental and social benefit. MDI will help increase this momentum by providing a robust, data-rich, user-friendly and freely available portal that offers a new level of global visibility.
Locke continued, “By helping to increase the level of investment and the number of products and services offered that prove to be fundamentally valuable to developing populations, MDI will have an impact on the livelihoods of millions of people in the developing world.”