This report explores the current use and potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in tackling global development challenges, highlighting a number of specific instances where IoT interventions are helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
It presents summary conclusions on what is required for the IoT to reach billions of people living in the developing world, and also to accelerate income growth and social development as a result.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, Internet use and Big Data analytics are pervasively utilized in global development projects (in a field often known as ICT for Development, or ICT4D) to improve outcomes and deliver services.
Recently, this field has experienced strong growth. For example, in a recent presentation, Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), identified 157 new development assistance projects, each started by CRS between 2014 and 2015, that incorporate ICTs (primarily mobile telephony).
Similarly, at Johns Hopkins University alone, as of May 2015, there were over 140 mHealth (mobile phone-enabled healthcare) projects across the developing world. And an April 2015 review at the World Bank identified at least thirty-two projects that specifically incorporate Big Data analytics.
As evidenced by these examples, mobiles are highly integrated in development projects already. Connected sensors and M2M connectivity represent the next frontier in the ICT4D story.