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Breaking education barriers with instant network schools

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Breaking education

The Vodafone Foundation has already helped bring quality education to thousands of refugee students across Africa and is now collaborating with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and expanding their efforts.

Instant classroom is a free initiative and is a ‘school in a box’ concept aimed at providing technology that can be set up in minutes. With the assistance of UNHCR, the foundation has been successful in setting up 36 Instant Network Schools across some of most underprivileged countries in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. To date, approximately 1000 teachers have utilized the project to help educate 86,500 refugee students. The Vodafone foundation is working to expand this success and is aiming to reach half a million refugees by 2025.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said,

We are very proud of our partnership with the Vodafone Foundation. Their continued commitment will help refugees in some of the most challenging environments, opening a window to the world through connected learning. Education is crucial in offering refugees the chance to rebuild their lives. This expanded partnership will help break barriers to education, allowing refugees to better shape their own futures.”

Each Instant Classroom consists of:

  • 25 tablets for students
  • A laptop for the teacher
  • A projector
  • A speaker
  • A Wi-Fi router that uses 3G to connect to the internet
  • A charger that can simultaneously recharge all the equipment
  • All the necessary cables
  • Localized educational materials

The success of the programme speaks for itself as it has already produced an increase of 61% in ICT (information and communication technology) and literacy amongst the students that took part with a 125% increase

About Instant Network Schools

The aim of Vodafone foundation Instant Network Schools is to provide a quality digital education with a focus on improving ICT, digital and literacy skills. The collaboration between UNHCR and the Vodafone Foundation has existed since 2013 when UNHCR requested Vodafone’s expertise to enhance the quality of education in the refugee camps. The Instant Network Schools programme was designed by teams from both parties, and leverages the best technical capabilities from Vodafone and the educational knowledge from UNHCR. The concept ensure that INS can be set up by the teacher in minutes and includes 25 tablets, a laptop for the teacher, a projector, speakers, 3G modem and a library of digital educational resources. The project is also helping to shape and direct UNHCR connected Education approach, which aims to help bridge the digital divide.

The successful impact of the project within schools is a result of ensuring refugees and their hosting communities, have the necessary access to accredited quality equipment and the relevant learning opportunities and curriculum.

So far, Vodafone has 70 trained employees which make up the Instant Network Team. These volunteers remain on standby and are prepared to deliver, set up the schools and also manage an introduction onsite, in cooperation with UNHCR. All trainings are designed and based on human-centric design principles with an aim to building ownership of the programme within the community itself, ensuring that the technology responds to the local needs, supporting self-sufficiency and independence.

In 2016 3 Instant Network Schools were set up in a remote part of The Democratic Republic of the

Congo known as Equateur Province – with Vodacom Congo (Vodafone’s counterpart in the DRC) and UNHCR. The 3 schools were established across 2 camps (Mole and Boyabu) and had to quickly cater for around 50,000 refugees who had fled civil war in a neighbouring country.

After 5 days of comprehensive training, all of the INS teachers graduated. One teacher told the team that he believes children will be more motivated to go to school, another who has been in the camp for 3 years said he was hoping to restart the children’s choir, using the kit and resume the adult literacy program which had stopped due to lack of funding and infrastructure.

 A refugee representative gave a thank you speech to the INS team and said,

We aren’t doing this for us, we are doing it for our children, the next generation of our country and for peace”.

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Cloud telecom infrastructure with Etisalat

Inside Telecom Staff

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Cloud telecom

UAE Telecoms giant Etisalat has announced its plans to work with an association of global tech leaders to introduce a new vendor platform that will aim to provide cloud telecom infrastructure and host developing futuristic technologies and services.

The creation of this respected group is aligned with the company’s corporate-wide programme launched to ‘cloudify the network’-dubbed ‘Sahaab. Sahaab is an Arabic word that means cloud. The programme will focus on deploying the right criteria of hardware-centric telecom services and software-centric cloud services.

The group itself consists of NEC as the prime overall integrator, Netcracker, Redhat, Juniper and Dell who will all collaborate with Etisalat to install and roll out the second generation of NFV (Network Function Virtualisation)/ SDN (Software Defined Networking). These two technologies are closely related and commonly associated with the enablement of smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT) and the upcoming 5G future.

The infrastructure will be built against industry leading architecture developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The most recent technologies will then be set up to provide the highest levels of performance, agility, elasticity, and well-organized and efficient operations. The technologies include Network Function Virtualization Orchestrator (NFVO) from Netcracker, Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller from Juniper-Contrail, Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) from RedHat-Openstack, and a collection of automation and operations tools like Ansible, Zappix, git-lab, ELK, and Bacula.

Esmaeel Hammadi, Senior Vice President, Network Development, Etisalat said:

Today’s announcement is of strategic importance as this platform will be a pillar for Etisalat’s long term strategy of driving digital technologies to empower our services and build the infrastructure to incorporate emerging technologies. As we transition into the digital future, it is essential to invest and implement the state-of-art methodologies in cloud computing by engaging with global leaders. This will ensure services on our network are agile and provide the best performance for major projects like Expo 2020, World Government Summit, AFC Asia Cup among others.”

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The role of immersive technologies in the telecom industry

Fayza Bjayou

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Telecoms industry

Immersive technologies can have a defining role in the world of telecoms, creating a broad scope of opportunities to support the changing, complex nature of the telecoms landscape. The industry at present, makes large investments in maintaining and developing its infrastructure, to ensure that technology across industries is represented by seamless, uninterrupted services. Deploying augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can offer significant support to an increasingly complex system of services that require ongoing operational maintenance.

When distance stands between the problem and the maintenance specialist, disruption and delays are inevitable. In a world where businesses rely upon the seamless connection between their services and the network provided by their operator, it can cause immense pressure for both parties involved. Using augmented reality (AR) to fix maintenance issues remotely, provides a viable solution. This is a cost- and time-effective approach, that will ensure more repairs are made by the most trained and competent specialists. Immersive technology will replicate a real-life installation and maintenance situation for experts to assess. AR can be used by technicians to establish open audio-visual dialogue with an expert from anywhere in the world, which means an increased number of remote site visits and real-time consultations. Immersive technology in this context, provides double-sided benefit of both increased learning and productivity.

VR and AR can be used to effectively assist and train both current and future staff personnel. One of the major stumbling blocks faced by management in the telecom industry is ensuring consistent standards of practice and performance among their team members. AR and VR can be leveraged to boost knowledge retention and professional engagement. Immersive technologies can provide training without the need for time-consuming workshops, that would otherwise mean taking an entire group away from their work-environment – Studies have shown that this approach may boost GDP by $294.2 billion by 2030. The figures indicate the broad scope of potential in augmented reality in the workplace and offers unlimited access to those who wish to understand an area of specialty that may otherwise be difficult to facilitate in their surrounding physical environment.

AR and VR technologies can take operational performance to the next level. Utilizing such tools will ensure a more stream-line, efficient system that better responds to the advancing trends and requirements of the global market.

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En route to the world’s first Smart Hospital

Inside Telecom Staff

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Smart Hospital

Lately, it feels like 5G is the only thing we ever seem to be talking about, and for good reason. When we think about 5G, we think about the many possibilities of innovation that could revolutionize services across industries. The medical world is no exception. Based on rapid technological advancements and the growing demand for better healthcare services, Korean Telecoms giant, KT Corporation, along with Samsung Medical Centre (SMC) have partnered up, to create a 5G-based smart hospital to power new medical practices.

KT built a dedicated 5G network at the medical center, created service environments in operating rooms and also carried out test operations. Both parties intend to develop the world of smart patient care along with 5G, innovative medical practices, to improve the efficiency of hospitals.

KT, in partnership with the Samsung Medical Center, is pioneering innovative medical services for the new 5G era,” said Park In-Young, Vice President of KT’s ICT Convergence Business Department. “We will continue to further refine 5G-powered medical technology by applying VR and AR technologies for real-time education.

Both parties had been applying 5G on the premises as a means of creating improved medical services since they signed an agreement late last year. The services encompass digital diagnostic pathology, access to proton therapy information, teaching surgery, artificial intelligence-enable care for in patients and an autonomous robot for operating rooms.

The 5G-driven digital pathological analysis (conducted by SMC) is a brand new international example of using innovation using 5G technology methods and equipment for medical procedures. Tissues are taken from the patient during surgery and treated for analysis and then sent to pathologists in an adjacent room. This took around 20 minutes of walking back and forth, which made it hard for pathologists to conduct onsite analyses.

Fast and consistent access to pathological data – taken during surgery – is vital in defining and assessing the conditions of the patient and is provided by a 5G network with an extremely high speed and a very low latency rate. The network lets the Pathology Department gain access to materials which contain about 4GB of data each, thus ensuring improved medical services

This network also ensures fast access to CT and MRI data on proton therapy. The procedure required pathologists to walk about a km to the therapy center to download the files. Now, the 5G network enables them to access these files from any point in the medical center.

Surgery Education Away from the Operating Room

Surgical theatres and operating rooms are often too crowded with medical staff and equipment in order for medical students to observe closely. To resolve this issue and teach effectively, KT has produced a 5G-assisted education program with the Samsung Medical Center.

Robots for Operating Room Assistance; AI for In-Patient Care

A robot developed for the soul purpose of delivering within the operating room, is able to remove contaminated materials and medical waste for disposal. This autonomous robot can also bring in the necessary surgical supplies.

Robots for operating room assistance can reduce secondary and tertiary infection which happens through contact with medical waste and will save human resource costs in waste disposal. Furthermore, 5G enabled connectivity reduces disruption and latency in data exchange with robots and terminals.

Smart Care Giver is a creative AI supported system of in-patient-care. It provides AI services on KT’s GiGA Genie engine and enables patients to control their hospital room with voice commands and checks their medical condition with their permission. Consequently, medical staff are able to respond more efficiently and effectively to patient emergencies.

5G-Powered Smart Hospital

Collaboration between KT and the Samsung Medical Center will continue throughout the year, to further refine the services developed. 

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