The GSMA today announced the launch of the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab, which will take a hands-on approach to research, testing and development of the inclusive technologies of the future. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided three years of funding for the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab, and will sit on the Advisory Group alongside industry representatives including GoPay, IDEMIA, KaiOS, Mowali, Telenor, the University of Washington, VEON and Vodafone.
“In launching the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab, we are taking a bold new step to support and stimulate innovation through greater experimentation and a willingness to take risks,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The GSMA Mobile for Development programme has already had a direct impact on improving the lives of 58 million people. The Lab will allow our team of dedicated ‘technopreneurs’ the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to break down the barriers to economic and social inclusion further.”
“We are proud to be collaborating with the GSMA and funding the Inclusive Tech Lab to strategize, build and pilot technologies to support the industry with innovations to drive financial inclusion for the poorest,” said Matt Bohan, Senior Programme Officer, Financial Services for the Poor at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The Lab will enable us to create and explore products, from interoperability platforms to standardised APIs and more, that will help the industry to drive innovation to include poor people at a whole new pace and scale.”
The Lab will work on a range of areas that drive inclusion. These will comprise expanding the openness and interoperability of payment systems, service accessibility for women and vulnerable populations, and digital identities for unregistered people, as well as other topics of relevance. The GSMA, together with industry stakeholders, will establish and share proofs of concept aimed at increasing financial and digital inclusion for underserved groups.
The services of the Lab will be three-fold; research, innovation projects and technological assets (e.g. web-based test environments). The Lab will benefit from guidance received from leading industry figures making up its global Advisory Group, who will help to assess, prioritise, shape and contribute towards potential project ideas received by the Lab. Following direction from the Advisory Group, projects deemed feasible will be further researched and developed. The Lab will build readily usable products and insights up to proof-of-concept (and potentially support an initial commercial launch, as appropriate). Critically, the Lab will ensure learnings and Lab-developed solutions will be available to the broader industry, with the first results available to the industry in the first quarter of 2020.
Giusti concluded, “Today there are challenges of expanding access to financial services, bridging the digital services gap for women and vulnerable user groups, and providing digital identity solutions for the one billion individuals with no form of ID. These challenges drive our activity as we work on the transformative digital innovations of tomorrow.”
To find out more about the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab, and how you can contribute, please go to the following link: www.gsma.com/lab
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.