Mrs. Lucy Quist, the Chief Executive of Airtel Ghana, (CEO) has called for a national stakeholder engagement towards empowering the youth to research and innovate technologies, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT), to leapfrog Ghana’s socio-economic advancement.
She said making such critical investments in Science and Technology held the key for any developing country to catch up with the advanced world.
Mrs. Quist, who was addressing Editors at a Forum, in Accra, organised by the Company to share its vision to spearhead Ghana’s developmental efforts as a good corporate citizen, said there would be 400 million IoTs devices with cellular connections at the end of 2016.
The figure, she said, was expected to reach 1.5 billion in 2022, with 70 per cent of the devices using cellular technology.
Ghana, Mrs. Quist said, had to put her act together to become a key market player in this era of information revolution.
In 2015, the United Kingdom reportedly allocated 40 million pounds in its annual budget for research and the development of technologies into IoTs.
When physical devices, vehicles, buildings, animals and other items are embedded with software electronics, sensors, actuators and network connectivity to enable them to collect and exchange data, they are referred to as IoTs.
“IoTs allow objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across executing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit,” according to an online source.
IoTs are being used to enhance health and medical care, lifestyle management, transportation, infrastructural management, energy and environmental management, agriculture, media service, manufacturing and many other areas.
In agriculture, for instance, IoTs could help to monitor plant nutrients for critical interventions in growth and maturity as well as the well-being of farm animals and their security.
For infrastructure, they help to monitor any changes in structural conditions that could compromise security, schedule repairs and coordinate tasks between service providers, and more.
In the medical and health fields, IoT devices, including wearables, are used to monitor blood pressure and heart rate, give notifications on emergencies for actions, adjust hospital beds automatically, etc.
As part of Airtel’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programmes, it funds the Evolve with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative, which is the brainchild of Mrs. Quist.
The Initiative resources young people to enjoy STEM and to initiate their own projects in these areas and it has impacted more than 2,000 beneficiaries across the four regions.
Airtel has been highly recognised both globally and locally for developing innovative, sustainable and inclusive programmes, while transforming lives with their products and services.
In November, it won the “Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Award at the 2016 Global Carrier Awards, held in Paris, France.
During the forum, the editors asked questions on Customer Service efficiency and impact, the criteria for CSR programmes, Mobile finance services, and other issues, which were adeptly addressed by the respective heads of departments.
Mrs. Hannah Agbozo, the head of Legal and CSR, said Airtel was passionate about helping to make Ghana a better place with its educational, health, environmental sustainability and other programmes.
The desire to become a good corporate citizen, she said, was yielding dividends for the company as well-loved brand.