-by Mary Jesse published in SNS Special Letter February 24, 2014
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The World Economic Summit in its recent assessment outlined the greatest risks to us all – those most likely and also those with the most impact. These are issues on a grand scale – income disparity, climate chan
ge and weather events, unemployment/underemployment and cyber-attacks, to name a few.
There is one form of technology uniquely able to positively impact all of these – mobile communications. Consider the impact of enabling all the world’s population to have access to information and collaboration. Education, healthcare, emergency alerts, job opportunities, weather warnings, security alerts and more can be delivered interactively, immediately and effectively regardless of whether you are in a small town in Uganda with a feature phone or in an office building in downtown New York City. Anyone, anywhere, anytime – today – can share information, collaborate, communicate.
Of course, as with most products and services, the bulk of mobile communication innovation serves the largest and most profitable potential opportunities. Contrary to what some may believe, development of consumer technology helps everyone advance because it drives costs down due to economy of scale, but in order to truly realize the potential benefit to mankind, dedicated innovation must be geared towards niche opportunities and smaller markets that most often serve the underserved. Fortunately, many smaller companies seek out these markets as a competitive strategy. Non-profits and government entities also drive research and development in areas where the long term gain is not enough to entice those needing immediate investor satisfaction.
Many businesses give back as part of doing business as this is good for business. Employees feel more purpose in what they do. Customers feel better about being loyal to your brand. At Ivytalk, we recognize the need as a business to provide a return to our shareholders and believe excellent service for our customers is the best path to business success. However, we are also pleased to see Ivytalk used to fill gaps in communication that often impact the most vulnerable or less fortunate. There is a synergy that can be achieved in most businesses between optimizing profits and leveling the playing field for those less fortunate, and it is generally a long term view that requires vision and determination.
Technology companies, in particular, should embrace at least a bit of responsibility to push the world forward – out of sheer self-preservation if nothing else. Much of the income disparity – cited as the world’s greatest risk – is a result of the riches earned from technology innovation. There is a moral and ethical obligation to give back – to lift up those who can benefit so much from even small, incremental improvements leading to a better quality of life. In the end, we are all on the same planet and we all will ultimately suffer or thrive together. We are all interconnected. #techforgood