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Telefónica celebrates its sixth year at WIRED

Over 950 people attended WIRED’s annual two-day conference this month. We’re proud to partner with WIRED for the sixth year in a row. Designed to stimulate debate, spread ideas and showcase the future, the WIRED conference truly is the UK’s landmark event for digital innovation and development.

The theme of WIRED2016 was ‘bringing the WIRED world to life’. Among the high-calibre speakers were Peter Poit, a microbiologist and co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, Roya Mahboob, an Afghan educator and entrepreneur. One of the exhibits attracting the most attention was a VR showcase presented by an innovator, a storyteller and a sun storm scientist.

This year, Telefonica chose to contribute to the WIRED event by introducing the findings of our Index on Digital Life. We brought this to life through a digital installation, which let attendees compare the extent of digital development of any two of the 34 countries measured.

These comparisons have highlighted a number of interesting assessments, including the strength of digital entrepreneurship in Latin America and the policy bottlenecks faced by wealthy countries like the UK and Australia. We used these comparisons to talk with WIRED attendees about what conditions are needed for digital life to flourish across the world.

In addition to our installation, which will be brought to this site in the coming weeks, we were able to exhibit five enterprises backed by Telefónica Open Future. Chosen for their potential to disrupt and improve experiences for consumers and businesses, these enterprises ranged from an app that lets you pay for your drinks with a selfie, to a predictive app which can determine start-up success.

On the first day, Telefónica’s Chief Data Officer, Chema Alonso, presented a keynote in which he demonstrated how much data we are all sharing from our mobiles. This data is being put to work in amazing ways: transforming transport systems, improving agriculture, reducing energy consumption, democratising education – even medicine is becoming a branch of data science. Location data enables us to connect mobile calls, and has been used to plan responses to emergencies like the Guerrero–Oaxaca earthquake in Mexico.

But all this data sharing can be scary if you consider the consequences of it falling into the wrong hands. To address this Telefónica is on a mission to “give the data back”. Chema explained that this means ensuring that customer data is used to help customers rather than used against them. It means Telefónica putting its customers in control of their data, allowing them to choose whether to keep it private, use it in new services, or even to generate value on their behalf.

Telefónica UK CEO Mark Evans also addressed the delegates about O2’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. He used the Index findings as substantiation and called on policy makers to strengthen efforts to address some of the bottlenecks surfaced.

You can check out all the highlights from this year’s conference by searching for #WIRED2016. You can also follow and contribute to the conversation about harnessing the power of digital using #MyDigitalLife.