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ARM CEO calls on engineers to touch developing markets

Posted: 01 Jun 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ARM  emerging market  UNICEF  semiconductor industry  social impact 

The world is calling out for change, especially in developing markets. And engineers are adequately equipped to make an appropriate response. This is what the CEO of ARM believes. More than being masterful in the art of problem solving, engineers are also humans.

It is inspiring to see today's companies deliver immense benefits with their technologies, building a more efficient digital economy that connects people in highly imaginative ways. Now it's time to take these technological foundations and apply them to more basic services such as health, education and safety. Today's technology building blocks can enable new products and services in parts of the world which have not yet been able to fully capitalise on the power of the silicon chip.

Access to fundamental technologies is increasing, and the cost of innovation is rapidly becoming more affordable. These dynamics are creating an opportunity for today's engineers to reach into emerging markets with solutions that will have an impact on lives outside of today's typical products and services.

Last week, ARM and UNICEF announced a multi-year partnership to deliver innovation for impact and deliver social change for children and underdeveloped counties. As part of that, in collaboration with frog, we also launched a Wearables for Good design challenge for developers and makers to design and develop new wearable technologies to address fundamental problems facing the worlds most disadvantaged.

As part of our partnership, ARM will support UNICEF in scaling up some existing innovations. Worldwide, UNICEF's innovation work is focused on real-time information using young people as a resource to provide access to vital information. Existing UNICEF projects making an impact include U-Report, Internet of Good Things (IoGT), EduTrac and mTrac. We are collectively looking for this level of innovative ingenuity to generate change in underserved populations.

One project that's reaching out to the world's most vulnerable is called RapidSMS, a mobile platform that records births across African countries where there are low levels of registered children. When a children's births are not registered it prohibits their access to healthcare and education later in life. This project is an example of how technology can solve problems when it's designed for the environment where it will be used.

Technologists, specifically in the semiconductor industry, have a key role to play. It's not as simple as giving away technology; the technology needs to be designed from the ground up with specific countries' unique sets of challenges in mind, whether it's slow connectivity or lack of stable infrastructure. Five areas where the technology sector could impact the lives of millions across the world include financial services, transport and delivery, wearable technology, identity and learning.

We know how to deliver innovative solutions at scale. As technology-powered products, services and systems grow at exponential rates, the technology sector's expansion into emerging markets can deliver expanded profit alongside social impact. We need to choose to invest now.

There are ways to help, whether it's developing innovative, affordable solutions to make wearables and sensor technology for women and children across the world or identifying and scaling new pilot products. Now is the time to scale up our innovation efforts and build a vibrant, socially minded ecosystem to harness the power of the global tech community.

- Simon Segars

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