Kenth Engø-Monsen

Day job: Fellow of Telenor Research


Big data for social good

Journey began

Joined Telenor in 2000

Mobility data can help us understand and forecast the spread of epidemic diseases.

This idea emerged in 2012, when epidemiologists from Harvard approached us about running a study on dengue fever in Pakistan. This went from idea to reality in 2014, after we did necessary clarifications and risk assessments related to privacy and security. We combined our mobility data with the work of the researchers at Harvard to track and predict the spread of epidemic diseases.

We have run several projects, including understanding the spread of dengue in Pakistan (published 2015) and malaria in Bangladesh (published 2019).

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how unprepared the world has been in dealing with epidemics and pandemics. Using mobility data is part of the solution.

Mobility data from a mobile operator can track much more than dengue. The world needs mobility and disease data now more than ever. Combining the data and creating a forecasting tool means that governments and health authorities are able to understand, plan and forecast in a crisis situation.

This will change people’s lives. I’m proud that Telenor is doing this, and proud of what we have accomplished. Telenor has supported these initiatives over many years, from research to mature collaborations. This work supports and advances societies where Telenor is operating.