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Transforming lives with tech: a global conversation

Transforming lives with tech: a global conversation

February 07 2018

By Nominet Trust

In November 2017, we brought together leading voices from across civil society, business and government to celebrate five years of NT100 and spark a global conversation about the future relationship between tech and society.



We’ve brought together our learning and insights in a new report, Transforming Lives with Tech: A Global Conversation.

Key insights: achieving social impact at scale through tech

Based on an analysis of 400 NT100 projects and 10 in-depth case studies, we reveal some key insights about what it takes to enable tech ventures to flourish and transform lives at scale. Our research found that many successful NT100 ventures – although socially motivated – are structured around a commercial revenue model, such as Buffalo Grid which relies on a sustainable business structure to provide a portable, solar-powered generator hub to rural and off-grid populations.

Many of our NT100 founders stressed the need to develop relevant infrastructure and logistics to support  technological advancement. Some ventures are working with governments and NGOs to improve the environment in which they operate, such as Zipline which has partnered with the Rwandan government to provide blood by drone to remote areas.

We also found that many founders of socially transformative tech projects do not have a technical background. Rather than tech experts applying their skills to solve problems, it’s often the people who want to solve social problems who are turning to tech experts for help. Peek Vision’s portable, smartphone-based eye diagnostic tools were created after ophthalmologist Andrew Bastawrous realised that a tech solution could enable him to treat many more patients.

Key trends: the future of socially transformative tech

The second part of the report explores five social tech trends and highlights 10 pioneering ventures that demonstrate the transformative potential of tech when human needs are baked into its design and development.
  
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help us handle ever more complex data and is set to transform how we deliver key services at scale. For example, Zebra is transforming disease diagnostics by using AI to scan medical images to detect cancerous cells, achieving a reported 91% accuracy.

While Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have the potential to transform how we deliver healthcare, the way we learn and understand each other. Patient’s Virtual Guide is an AR app, developed to guide children through the hospital environment before they are admitted as patients, easing stress and anxiety, and improving outcomes.

In 2018, we’ll see developments in autonomous and unmanned vehicles which will accelerate access - transporting everything from people to parcels.  In Canada, Cyberworks has developed a motion-sensor module that can be attached to a power wheelchair enabling it to navigate through a building autonomously, controlled by voice, eye-gaze or a touch screen.

To explore all of the insights and trends download the full paper here.

Later this month we’ll be launching a brand new podcast series, Our Lives + Tech, to discuss the themes highlighted in the report in greater depth Join the conversation on social media @nominettrust #NT100is5 or visit www.nominettrust.org.uk 

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