The case for using mobile data for research, forecasting, disaster response, and public-service improvement grew stronger with each innovative project. Despite great interest, experts across sectors suggested that the use of mobile data for social good remained largely in the pilot phase. Challenges stemmed from both the demand and supply side including a lack of coordination among stakeholders, the absence of enabling regulatory frameworks, and privacy considerations.
Mobile Data for Social Good, a report produced by UN Global Pulse and the GSMA with support from Vital Wave, examined successes and challenges in the use of mobile data for social good and identified concrete next steps to scale and systematize use of data in the development sector. Results were drawn from over 15 case studies, expert interviews, and a workshop at the World Data Forum in January 2017.
Recommendations included the execution of a high-profile demonstration project by a broad public-private partnership of governments, MNOs, and development organizations. Such a partnership could create the regulatory environment and back-end systems required to reassure and reward risk-averse MNOs. It also offered convincing evidence for the value of using mobile data for development.