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How can Big Data help in the COVID-19 response?

It’s not news that Korea handled really well the Covid19 pandemic. We often talk about the Asian culture being a culture of personal sacrifice and self discipline, but we also omit an important factor which is technology. And in the case of Korea, SK Telecom is definitely a big player, especially in Big Data.

About SK Telecom

First a little introduction. SK Telecom is Korea’s leading ICT company, driving innovations in the areas of mobile communications, media, security, commerce and mobility. Armed with cutting-edge ICT including AI and 5G, the company is ushering in a new level of convergence to deliver unprecedented value to customers. As the global 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is committed to realizing the full potential of 5G through ground-breaking services that can improve people’s lives, transform businesses, and lead to a better society. 

SK Telecom

SK Telecom boasts unrivaled leadership in the Korean mobile market with over 30 million subscribers, which account for nearly 50 percent of the market. The company now has 47 ICT subsidiaries and annual revenues approaching KRW 17.8 trillion.

How big is big Data?

This question often asked in Big Data related classes help us to analyze wether or not a company can be considered in the field of Big Data. With SK Telecom, there is no doubt, it is. With its tools (Geovision and GIRAF), the company can analyze analyze up to 60 terabytes of data every five minutes and deliver visualized data results.

Ok, but what for?

They use for analyzing real-time floating population. Real-time what? No we are not talking about measuring the number of people cozily seeping their Margarita while seating on a floating mattress. We talk about population movement across the country. We all heard about Covid-19 app, which can keep you relatively safe and show others that you have a very small probability of being infected. Think of that but on a larger scale.

It sounds like Big Brother is watching

I’m not gonna lie, when I read about this, I directly thought about 1984 by George Orwell. However, after reading a little bit more, it sounds like the company is not willing to keep the project secret and participated in the 6th International Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics to share how its tools are helping the fight against the pandemic. Furthermore, the event was organized by a United Nations Global Working Group, which is global program for official statistics. So not only the company is letting people learn about it but it is also scrutinized by the UN.

So Big Data or not?

Korea is showing us that by mixing High tech and culture it can fight effectively against the worst virus our generation faced. SK Telecom is helping the government in analyzing people movement but at the same time trying to keep the project as much transparent as possible.

Are 5G, Big Data and analytics a new component of evolution as a species? Could it help us extend our lifespan and protecting us from pandemics?

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