World Telecommunication and Information Society Day tackles Big Data

By Samantha Wolhuter, Director Creative Services

The 17th of May is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), inaugurated to raise awareness around how the use of the internet and other information and communication technologies improve societies and economics just through pure access, believing that bridging the digital divide is the first step towards improving development issues worldwide. Most specifically access to scalable education for example.

World Telecommunication Day

The date, 17th of May, commemorates the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. World Telecommunication day has been celebrated since 1969 and was formally instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973. In November of 2005 The World Summit on Information Society requested that the UN General Assembly include Information Society as part of the day’s focus because of the undeniable link between ICT and the range of issues around access to information across all of society. The formal decision to amalgamate the two happened in November 2006 in Antalya Turkey.

Big Data for Big Impact

The updated resolution requested that member states and sector members celebrate the day by stimulating the exchange of ideas on a theme adopted by the council each year. This year the Theme is Big Data for Big Impact.

The key aim for this year’s theme according to the UN’s specialized agency for information and communication technologies — (ITU) is how to transform ‘imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context’. Stating that the insight given through advanced analysis of said data would ‘strongly complement the evidence-based nature of decision-making that can be leveraged at national, regional and international levels to drive success towards attaining all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.’

In reflecting on this theme it becomes evident that it is directly in tune with the ITU’s work on technological developments — ‘that technological developments have facilitated the emergence of Big Data, developing standards related to Big Data and identifying sources and uses of Big Data, including use of Big Data technologies for developing and monitoring improvements in information societies’.

All events and activities developed by the ITU Membership aims to ensure that there is an upswing in the political momentum to embrace Big Data in order to leverage it in an effort to tackle sustainable development challenges.

The ITU has a wealth of information around technology development their website is well worth a visit to see how businesses, NGOs and government organisations can support the field going into the future.