Transformative technologies, passionate people changing lives around the world

Impact multiplies and innovative solutions arise when passionate people and transformative technology come together. Together MercyCorps and Cisco leverage digital solutions to help deliver aid and development assistance faster, better and to more people around the world.

This article is sponsored by Cisco.

500 billion devices and things will be connected to the internet by 2030. Fifty-eight percent of the population will use the internet and there will be 3.5 networked devices and connections per person, by 2021. The power and role of technology in our future is exciting — both on a personal and global level. 

At Cisco, we believe impact multiplies and innovative solutions arise when passionate people and transformative technology come together. We also believe that there is a huge opportunity to unleash a new generation of global problem solvers — those who innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs and act as social change agents.  

In the following interactive journey, we highlight how transformative technologies from AI to cloud-based networking to IoT are enabling tools and solutions that can revolutionize how we approach and solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how these connections are uncovering solutions that change our world for the better.

AI-enabled chatbots improve the fight against global hunger

WFP’s Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) tool is piloting AI-enabled chatbots to enhance data collection, reach beneficiaries in new ways, and become more effective as a global hunger organization.

For example, to address the astonishing 1 out of every 9 people worldwide that suffer from chronic hunger, the World Food Programme moves 3 million tons of food per year to serve an average of 80 million people in over 80 countries annually. WFP’s Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) tool is piloting AI-enabled chatbots that will enable greater scale at lower costs, and increase and improve communications between WFP and its food assistance recipients, helping it become more effective as a global hunger organization. In 2017, 1.4 million people were reached by mVAM in 30+ countries and through evolving data collection methods. Now mVAM collects over 25,000 surveys per month that translates to $6 million in annual cost savings due to technology-enabled data collection methods.  

Leading-edge collaboration technology creates a virtual work experience reducing the need for travel 

WFP’s Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) tool is piloting AI-enabled chatbots to enhance data collection, reach beneficiaries in new ways, and become more effective as a global hunger organization.

Fourteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector and for business the mounting need for travel can have a significant impact on a company’s sustainability. For example, in a typical organization, air travel is proportional to head count; the more people, the more travel.

The development and expansion of collaboration technology has revolutionized the virtual work experience reducing the need for physical travel. For example, Cisco’s networking technology helps our company — and our customers — be more sustainable. Cisco TelePresence, WebEx, WebEx Teams and Jabber solutions enable remote, online meetings and collaboration that substitutes for business air travel, reducing GHG emissions. Our offices feature over 1,500 Telepresence rooms worldwide, and over 25,000 employees use Cisco Virtual office, a secure extension of the corporate network to employee homes.

In 2017, Cisco achieved an 11 percent absolute reduction in Cisco business air travel (2007 to 2017) while revenue and headcount each increased by more than 40 percent. Additionally, in 2017, 30 percent of the company’s annual global ISO 14001 environmental management system audits were performed via remote collaboration.

Cloud-controlled networking is a critical lifeline, connecting the unconnected when disaster strikes

Cisco’s Tactical Operations team (TacOps) leverages cloud-controlled networking as a critical lifeline for humanitarian and relief organizations, and affected populations, when communications are disrupted by a crisis.

Over 700,000 people died as a result of disasters between 2005 and 2014. Connectivity is vital to government, first responders, schools and nonprofits looking to gather and report data during disasters. Cisco’s on-the-ground Tactical Operations (TacOps) team leverages Meraki cloud-controlled networking as a critical lifeline for humanitarian and relief organizations, and affected populations, when communications are disrupted by a crisis. Comprising a full-time disaster response team, and supported by a reserve corps of over 300 trained employee-volunteers, the TacOps team has helped responders in over 40 deployments and has relationships with over 35 leading emergency response organizations worldwide.

Following the devastating Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, 3.4 million residents were without power. Cisco TacOps, in partnership with NetHope, reestablished communications following the hurricane, providing emergency connectivity that enabled the coordination and management of responding agencies' relief activities. As a result of the partnership, 250,000 residents and 100 sites were connected, enabling people to contact loved ones, access services and use the Internet to resume their daily lives.

Unlimited possibilities

Our world is connected, and interconnected, as never before with opportunities abound to be a global problem solver and apply technology to the world’s most pressing challenges.

To view the entire Digital Impact playbook, please click here.