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Data to the climate’s rescue


"Big Data Science can contribute to sustainable development and social welfare.”


Providing solutions to the environmental problems associated with climate change, this is what enables the open innovation associated with the analysis of Big Data.

In the Sahel, we hope to know how to better predict extreme weather events, thanks to the data collected by a telecom operator. This was developed by Orange in Morocco.

“We realised that we could analyse rainfall intensity according to the decrease in signal transmission connecting some antennas, says Nicolas de Cordes, vice-president of Marketing Anticipation at Orange. Antenna by antenna, our network could therefore be transformed into a huge weather station, especially useful for very heavy rain, like in the Sahel, where the intensity of the precipitation can be more precisely estimated. This can help protect key infrastructure (airport, city, canal, etc.) when we see big disturbances due to occur, in order to be more effective by acting faster.”

In Senegal, during the Data for Development challenge in 2015, a researcher was able to combine Orange data with that of an electricity operator to anticipate the energy needs depending on the location of mobile phone users. This type of mobile data can therefore be decisive for making decisions in the field of urbanisation.

A planet improved through data

This breakthrough is part of the Data for Climate Action programme framework initiated by the United Nations (UN) agenda, in order to stimulate business innovation to reduce the impacts of climate change. A programme in which Orange is involved, as well as other large companies such as Western Digital, SAP, Microsoft and Schneider Electric.

The origins of the project date back nearly two years. “We participated in the drafting of a United Nations report which was designed to measure the potential contribution of Big Data for development, explains Nicolas de Cordes. Things are then started with initiatives such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. And now the idea of an identical challenge, but this time adapted to the climate, has been put forward.”

“Data for Climate Action will boost research on the potential of data from the technologies of the information and communication, for environmental purposes and on a global scale, indicates Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Director of Orange, in charge of Innovation, Marketing and Technology. Orange’s involvement in the UN programme is part of the natural continuity of our initiatives for open innovation focused on how Big Data science can contribute to sustainable development and social welfare. This demonstrates our commitment to providing positive solutions to the societal and environmental problems for all.”

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