INFORMATIONTECHNOLOGY SOLUTION PLAN: UNICEF
InformationTechnology Solution Plan: UNICEF
Thispaper offers an Information Technology Solution Plan forimplementation by UNICEF and involves modern mobile communicationtechnology. It proposes the establishment of communication networksin vulnerable areas of the developing countries. It is at this momentproposed that UNICEF should adopt and use Iridium innovativetechnology, particularly the Push-To-Talk mobile devices inestablishing communication and managing situations of a naturaldisaster.
UNICEFrefers to the United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF, 2016). It is aglobal organization of the United Nations a humanitarian programthat has an aim of providing much-needed assistance to children andwomen in developing countries. Normally, the organization acts as afirst responder during times of natural disaster. It offers emergencyand medical assistance to affected persons (women and children)during the mentioned times of need (UNICEF, 2016). It is wellunderstood that developing countries have immense needs regardinginsubstantial Information Communication Technology infrastructures.For this reason, this paper offers an Information Technology SolutionPlan involving proposals for an innovative technology to be employedby UNICEF. Indeed, there is a sense of limited use and development oftools of the internet and telephone connections in developingcountries. Tardiness and susceptibility characterize these paramounttools of information technology to regular failures in the context ofdeveloping countries. As a result, and in cases of natural disasters,the stability of the information technology tools is substantiallyand negatively impacted. As such, UNICEF personnel often findthemselves in situations of dire communication and coordinationneeds, which undermines their efforts to avert the negativeimplications of the disaster on affected women and children (UNICEF,2016). It is important to note that the technologies discussedhereunder are on the perspective of both data and voicecommunications- the elements that are vital in management andcoordination of UNICEF personnel during times of natural disasters(UNICEF, 2016). The innovative technologies proposed by this paperwill serve the purpose of changing the above-mentioned harshrealities that UNICEF personnel face in their work.
UNICEFis operational in over 190 countries of the world. According toUNICEF (2016), “UNICEF was created with a distinct purpose in mind:to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence,disease, and discrimination placed in a child`s path. We advocate formeasures to give children the best start in life because proper careat the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person`sfuture.” Other than being involved with occurrences of naturaldisasters, UNICEF is also concerned with education and immunizationof children to ensure that they are not afflicted by the preventablediseases. The organization also comes to the aid of children thatcome from families plagued by HIV or AIDS. Overall, UNICEF has a goalof protecting the rights of children all over the world. Theorganization indicates, “We are part of the Global Movement forChildren – a broad coalition dedicated to improving the life of everychild. Through this movement and events such as the United NationsSpecial Session on Children, we encourage young people to speak outand participate in the decisions that affect their lives” (UNICEF,2016).
Tobegin with, UNICEF personnel require provisions of multichanneltactical radios whenever they are deployed to areas of naturaldisasters. Such technological tools will go a long way in enhancingtheir communication channels, enabling them to communicate on bothvoice and data platforms. The offered prompt indicates the existenceof dire communication capability deficiencies in UNICEF. Morespecifically, the deficiencies involve limited capability ofmaintaining smooth communication lines with the affected personsduring the times of natural disasters (UNICEF, 2016). For thisreason, this plan addresses this matter of deficiency by proposinginvestment in some forms of innovative information technology toolsof facilitating desirable communication patterns. Special focus ison developing countries as aforementioned. This paper makes someassumptions in coming up with the Information Technology SolutionsPlan for UNICEF. To begin with, it is at this moment assumed thatcountries have diverse kinds of geography, populations and cultures.Additionally, administration organs and communication lines arerendered non-operational in times following the occurrence of naturaldisasters. As such, there is no provision of national support to theaffected persons during the mentioned times of challenge. It is wellunderstood that a good number of governments of developing countriesare not well prepared (regarding technology, infrastructure and orfunding) to deal with challenges of natural disasters.
Itis a matter of common understanding that UNICEF has some innovativetechnologies at its disposal. The three innovative technologiesdiscussed in this paper are the SatCase, IsatHub, and Iridium.Irrefutably, all these pieces of technology are of mobilecommunication. They involve the latest cell phone technologies andcapabilities of wireless communication. The following is a review ofthe different innovative technologies.
Theinnovative technology of SatCase involves an establishedrevolutionary device that transforms a commonplace smartphone into asatellite phone. The mechanisms involved are sophisticated, to saythe least. In actuality, however, one only has to place an ordinarysmartphone into the already developed SatCase. The resultant effectis that the user will have some security-related and search andrescue features or capabilities at his disposal. The fact thatSatCase makes the phone to be a satellite phone implies thatcommunication is achieved in all areas of the world. What is more isthat the SatCase per se is made of very durable and strong material,enabling convenient use even in the harshest of environments. Thedirect communication features of the device involve voice, texts orshort messages and email. Additionally, the SatCase has trackingcapabilities that enable responders to acquire the exact location ofthe user. In other words, the SatCase is a global communicatordevice, and a powerful lifesaving tool (Barcock,2015).
Then,there is the IsatHub innovative technology. This revolutionaryproduct facilitates the use of smartphones in cases where one isoutside a mobile or network coverage zone. It works with thecommonplace smartphones of today on the platforms of Android and iOS.Put in another way IsatHub enables users of mobile communicationdevices like smartphones and tablets to continue to achievecommunication independent of the mobile networks. Indeed, the pieceof technology is easy to use through a simple control app on themobile communication device(Barcock,2015). Moreover, the developers have put set-up assistance thatoffers full control of the service to the user. Additionally, somedevices can use a piece of IsatHub to establish a single network forcommunication purposes. A point worth mentioning is that members ofthe network can achieve supplementary communication to others outsidethe network, on the platform of voice calls and text messages(Barcock,2015).
Thethird innovative technology is Iridium,specifically the Push-To-Talk (PTT) gadgets. The technologyinvolves an innovative, remarkable, and lightweight mobilecommunication device. An important factor is that the use of thedevice is limitless regarding geographical limitations (Barcock,2015).The devices are also of high speed regarding establishingcommunication from one point to another, which could be anywhere inthe world. An excellent factor about the Iridium technology is thatit facilitates a most secure standard of encryption of informationbeing passed from one point to another. The PPT device is a satellitephone for the subscribers of the company (Barcock,2015).Aside from being strong and durable, the PPT phones offer users asense of dependability in instances of versatile communications, allat the push of a button.
Allof the innovative technologies discussed herein are advertised asreliable and affordable mobile communication devices for use on aglobal perspective. However, a keen look reveals that the IridiumExtreme technology is more affordable and suitable for use,especially in developing countries. The SatCase technology requiresone to have a functional smartphone. It is well understood thatsmartphones are delicate and vulnerable in nature. A slight physicalforce is capable of damaging the screen and making the deviceunusable (Barcock,2015).On the other hand, the Iridium technology can survive extremeconditions, especially those relating to adverse weather and otherassociated conditions of natural disasters. On the contrary, IsatHubrequires a special configuration of connect-to devices. For thisreason, this technology does not seem ideal in situations whereinpeople are struck with panic and worry after the occurrence of anatural disaster (Barcock,2015).For the reasons indicated above, this paper established that theIridium technology is well suited to serve purposes of establishingcommunication with persons affected by the catastrophe in developingcountries. Aside from its tactical advantages, it has a low cost ascompared to the other technologies.
Thisplan involves the use of innovative technology of Iridium by UNICEF. The offered prompt reveals an existence of dire deficiencies inUNICEF regarding communication capabilities in developing countries.For this reason, this plan addresses this matter of deficiency byproposing an investment in Iridium innovative information technologytools to facilitate desirable communication patterns. This paper,however, makes some assumptions in coming up with the InformationTechnology Solutions Plan for UNICEF. To begin with, it is at thismoment assumed that countries have diverse kinds of geography,populations and cultures (UNICEF,2016).Additionally, administration organs and communication lines arerendered nonoperational in times following the occurrence of naturaldisasters. As such, there is no provision of national support toaffected persons during the mentioned times of challenge (Barcock,2015).It is well understood that a good number of governments of developingcountries are not well prepared (regarding technology, infrastructureand or funding) to deal with challenges of natural disasters.
TheIridium technology can easily be implemented on a global perspectiveby ensuring that members of the HastilyFormed Networks (HFN) of UNICEF are equipped with the PPT devices(UNICEF,2016).The members of these networks would be stationed at differentstrategic areas all over the world. This will ensure that they arewell positioned to act as first responders in cases of naturaldisasters.
Alook at the phase of Iridium innovative technology shows that it isin the Maturity stage. The technology is developed considerably inits life cycle. An important factor that is an advantage to UNICEF isthat Iridium innovative technology has the capability of beingintegrated into pre-existing radios of the earlier time. As a matterof fact, this ability of Iridium is what makes it invaluable per se.UNICEF can easily implement programs of upgrading existent radioapparatus of administrative people in developing countries, to enablethem to have a capacity of global communication in times of naturaldisasters.
UNICEFcould consider several timelines for the engagements of implementingIridium innovative technology. Immediate action can be conductedregarding contacting administrative organs or governments ofdeveloping countries around the world. It should be a recommendationof UNICEF to form collaborations with the governments with goals ofachieving emergency preparedness –for cases of natural disasters.Still, it is worth mentioning that the activities of contacting theadministrative organs usually establish the first phase ofimplementation of the plan, which could take anytime from one totwelve months.
Thenext phase of implementation of the plan, phase two, would involvethe determination of areas to set-up bases for the UNICEF’s HFNs.This phase, however, will include a continuous process even after thestipulated time of one to two years is over. The organization shouldbe open to suggestions from stakeholders in the developing countriesof the world (Barcock,2015).The phase will also involve the recording of challenges that theUNICEF personnel face in certain areas.
Phasethree of implementation of the plan would require testing andmonitoring of the performance of the Iridium technology. The UNICEFpersonnel will record how the plan interacts with the statedvariables in the environment or even if some other factors orvariables were not considered before. This phase is likely to involvea series of amendments of the guides and directives of conductingrelief aid to persons affected by natural disasters. The phase willtake time between three and five years.
Thefinal phase would involve the review of the system and watch out fortechnological improvements that may be more suitable to work withinthe context of developing countries. Such reviews will be reported onan annual basis, and the recommendations will be established(Barcock,2015).This phase is expected to continue in the years to come wherein theproject will still be practiced.
UNICEFwill face a number of challenges in the implementation of theinnovative technology of Iridium. Such challenges will relate to thereality of limited resources at the disposal of the organization. Asfor any technology that relates to humanitarian actions like those ofUNICEF, securing a technology that has the correct balance ofefficiency, utility and feasibility is not an easy task per se.Nevertheless, the innovative technologies discussed hereunder will beinstrumental. Still, a look at history shows that primary channels ofcommunication, including TV, mobile phones, radio, and even theinternet are usually affected during times of devastating naturaldisasters.
Themain variables under consideration, however, are the elements of thesources of electrical power for charging, signal quality andstrength, distance, hardware, and geography among others. The aspectof the availability of complementing technology to the Iridiumdevices is also of importance (Barcock,2015).Nevertheless, this is likely not to be a significant problem sincethe use of radios is widespread in many areas of the world.
Thestakeholders of the proposed plan include the personnel of UNICEF,who will be on the frontline in terms of providing relief productsand services to the affected persons. This group of individuals playsa crucial function of ensuring that the communication networksestablished on the Iridium technology are always up and running.Other stakeholders are the members of the public, who could beaffected by the occurrences of natural disasters at any given time.These members of the public have needs that resemble those of reliefworkers in some ways because they all require reliable forms of voiceand data communication (Barcock,2015).In times of need, these people have needs of communicating with theirloved ones after establishing connections with relief workers.
Asfar as the ethical compliance is concerned, a number of factors willbe considered in the management of communication channels. Primarily,there will be a great and constant need of ensuring authentication ofusers within the communication networks. A technical team will be setup by UNICEF to serve purposes of monitoring, recording, andevaluating communication elements within the networks. Additionally,the team will be charged with ensuring that only authenticated usersare given priority by the communication channels.
Nevertheless,UNICEF personnel will have to make sure that the communication linesserve the purposes of facilitating delivery of relief products andservices among people affected by natural disasters. In other words,the organization must forbid personal use of the communicationchannels by members of its workforce. The UNICEF personnel shouldexercise self-control, humanism, and care in their communicationswith affected persons with the understanding that they are dealingwith vulnerable persons.
Whatis more is that the communication and support services of UNICEFshould not interfere with commonplace operations and or functions ofthe local administrative organs in affected areas. In fact, theorganization should approach the local administrative organs orgovernments with an aim of working together to provide relief topersons affected by a natural disaster (Barcock,2015). Additionally, the operations of UNICEF must guarantee tosafeguard the environment, ensuring not to cause any further damage.
Regardingthe establishment of communication networks, the mechanisms,protocols, and configurations used ought to be simple to allow easyaccess by the people. Despite the aspect of simplicity, the networkmust be utilized for purposes of official business only. Still,access to the communication network should be open for all peoplewith mobile communication devices in the area. Such implies thattransmission of huge files over the networks should be discouraged orbe limited to that which is necessary. Important to note is thatUNICEF will be required to train members of its workforce on ethicalguidelines, and or standard procedures to be followed whileon-the-job.
Indeed,some ethical guidelines outlined above also relate to legalprovisions for the plan. The ideology of keeping the network open toall people (authenticated users) in the area is to be considered as arequirement of the law (Barcock,2015). Additionally, information sent over these networks should betreated as confidential information, to both the sender (affectedpersons) and the receiver (UNICEF). The people also have a right ofknowing the servers or computers used to process the information theyoffer, and if the transmission is encrypted. On the part of UNICEF,only certified personnel will be allowed to work on the communicationnetworks.
Regardingsafety, the organization should engage in conducting security auditsduring its relief missions in disaster-stricken areas. Such wouldenable the organization to be in a better position of determiningintervention measures that might suit the area under question. On theother hand, there are immense concerns of the security ofcommunication networks. The world of today is witnessing increases incyber-crime. For this reason, there is a need for UNICEF tocollaborate with main networking agencies in the world like Google,for instance. Such initiatives would enable the organization toachieve resolvability of the security aspects of the question(Barcock,2015).In most cases, however, there will be a need for physical security ofarmed forces to guard the stations where the networks areestablished, to protect them against vandalism and disruptions.
UNICEFshould engage in the activity of deploying HFNs in areas around theglobe to act as first responders during occurrences of naturaldisasters. The approaches by the organization should also encourageand facilitate community involvement in managing situations ofnatural disasters. Such would be based on an open community platformthat complies with ethical and legal standards in existence. Indeed,open collaboration between UNICEF and the many stakeholders in theglobe would imply a step in the right direction towards establishingstrong relief support mechanisms to people living in areas struck bynatural disasters.
Overall,this paper establishes that the innovative technology that is bestsuited for UNICEF (among three that are mentioned) is that of IridiumExtreme Push-To-Talk(PTT) mobile communication devices. In comparison to the others,Iridium technology is much more affordable, over and above beingsuitable for the environments in developing countries by having abasic and robust design. What is more is that the use of thetechnology is simple and does not involve much of configuration, ascompared to the other two. The timeline of implementation of theplan, on the other hand, is only several years. Even so, some factorswill determine the deadlines that are out of control of UNICEF forinstance, the levels of collaboration the organization will receivefrom governments and other stakeholders in the developing countries.
UNICEF.(2016). WhoWe Are.Retrieved Online fromhttp://www.unicef.org/about/who/index_introduction.html
Barcock,A. (2015). Solutions That Are Saving Lives in Humanitarian Response.Aid & International Development Forum. RetrievedOnline fromhttp://www.aidforum.org/disaster-relief/top-solutions-that-are-saving-lives-in-humanitarian-response