KT proposed big data-based solutions to global environmental problems during events surrounding the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), held from March 11 to 15 in Nairobi, Kenya.
UNEA, the world's highest decision-making body on the environment, has been convening biennially in the Kenyan capital since 2014. This year's theme is "innovative solutions for environment challenges and sustainable consumption and production." Participants included government leaders, environment ministers and officials from agencies and corporations spanning 193 UN member countries.
During a panel discussion with Google Earth, Apple and other global ICT corporations, KT shared new ways to collect and utilize big data on the environment, stressing the need for joint efforts to achieve globally sustainable solutions. Korea's leading telecom company also presented its Air Map Korea project, which measures air quality amid the company's campaign to fight fine dust pollution.
"We believe the air maps we have drawn with the use of our infrastructure, platforms and big data analytics will help change patterns of behavior and offer a better life for people around the world," said Lee Dong-Myun, KT's president of the future platform business. "We will continue our cooperation with public and private organizations worldwide to make our planet cleaner."
KT's presentation on the optimal collection of environmental data through its extensive infrastructure and big data analytics attracted considerable attention.
Pointing to Air Map Korea, KT explained that big data on air quality is collected through its nationwide network of telephone poles, mobile phone base stations and public phone booths -- and showed how that big data is analyzed to fight pollution.
Air Map Korea is KT's corporate social responsibility project. Launched in 2017, it involves some 2,000 monitoring sites throughout Korea to measure fine dust levels, using solutions from the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics.
The results help the central and provincial governments draw up policies to cope with fine dust pollution, providing guidelines for reducing air pollution and minimizing people's daily exposure.
KT last month released an app for Air Map Korea, providing real-time information on fine dust levels to help prevent respiratory problems from overexposure.
"Big data and analytical information we have obtained from the Air Map Korea project will be an important case study for global cooperation to address environmental problems," KT's Lee said. "Air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people around the world each year. Pollution is borderless and air pollution in one country can cause great damage to neighboring countries."
At the assembly in Nairobi, KT discussed ways to promote corporate-level cooperation and joint eco-friendly projects to address global environmental problems with various ICT corporations, such as Google Earth, Apple and Safaricom, Kenya's leading mobile operator.
KT formed a partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) last December to promote innovative ICT solutions for global air quality monitoring, making use of the Korean telecom leader's technologies and experiences.
KT is currently drawing up a joint project with UNEP to select candidate countries, design and build monitoring stations, and determine their locations to create optimal monitoring networks based on the analysis of floating population data. At the same time, the company plans to provide UNEP with expert advice and access to new technology, to kick start the implementation of big data.
During the assembly in Nairobi, KT also participated in the Sustainable Innovation Expo, where it showed the Air Map Korea project and its mobile app. KT was the first Korean company to introduce an innovative environmental solution at the event, where some 20 countries showcased 42 innovative environmental technologies and solutions.
In the years ahead, KT will continue to cooperate with the UNEP and global ICT corporations advising countries and regions with a high density of fine dust on how telecommunications infrastructure and platforms can be used to address pollution. KT will thus accelerate joint efforts to offer its Air Map Korea platform and the data it has gained to other countries, in order to make Earth a clean planet.