"Telecommunication companies’ assets such as connectivity and big data have great force that can solve common problems such as infectious diseases," said KT Chairman Hwang Chang-kyu (right) said on September 17 (local time) at a regular general meeting of the Broadband Commission.
A working group for the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases based on ICT (information and communication technology) was launched at a regular general meeting of the Broadband Commission in New York on September 17 (local time), according to KT. The United Nations began to move in response to KT‘s proposal to prevent the spread of the world's infectious diseases by using telecom big data.
The Broadband Commission is a non-standing international organization established jointly by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UNESCO in 2010. About 50 CEOs of global companies such as KT, Intel, Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei including chairman Hwang, representatives of international organizations, those from academia and more attended the regular general meeting.
The idea of building a quarantine system based on mobile phone roaming data which had been proposed by KT chairman Hwang to governments and telecommunication companies since last year was brought up as an international organization-level agenda and discussed in earnest, KT explained.
The working group for the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases will be participated in by 10 organizations –- telecommunication business operators such as KT and Intel, the Novartis Foundation of multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis, related organizations of six countries including Kenya, Argentina, Malaysia and the GSM Association (GSMA).
As the first task, the working group will publish a report on the prevention of the spread of various infectious diseases around the world. KT will push ahead with the global spread of the “smart Quarantine Information System” which KT started with the Korean government in April of this year. KT is planning to utilize an infectious disease prevention model based on roaming data being built by KT along with Kenya's health authorities and telecommunications companies as research data. The group will run for one year and the results of group operation will be reported at the regular general meeting of the Broadband Commission next year.
Since 2014, KT has led the construction of a disease disaster prevention system that uses telecom big data in wake of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza (AI) in Korea. Based on the location information of livestock transport trucks, roaming data can be used to predict epidemic pathways, which can track domestic propagation paths of epidemics from abroad. Chairman Hwang has emphasized that global infectious diseases such as Ebola, MERS and Zika are causing social losses to reach 60 billion US dollars annually worldwide.
As a result, KT built a smart quarantine system that analyzed roaming data of travelers who visited areas with infectious diseases for the first time in the world together with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Future Creation (currently, the Ministry of Science and ICT) last year. Telecom customers who visited or passed through countries vulnerable to infectious diseases receive text messages on how to prevent and report infectious diseases after returning to Korea.