A Force for Good: Health Tech Innovation at YTH Live 2014

health technology unleashedWho is inventing the next life-saving technology? How can we unleash more startups and entrepreneurs on social problems? What big dreams do innovators have for using technology to advance health and wellness?

It’s hard to believe that mobile communication and wireless technology have been around for 40 years, and that they would have such a massive impact on our lives. Through the power of its reach, mobile has boosted the voice of individuals and communities, including those who have historically had little voice. It has stimulated innovation, giving more people more opportunities to create change and impact society.

Just imagine what will happen when we make mobile more personal. When it’s possible for information to find you, rather than needing to search out information and answers. When data isn’t just big, but is used as force for good.

Get ready: the impact of data is going to be much larger than the impact of mobile itself.

Technology for good, unleashed

Already, mobile has been applied to help solve many problems, but we are at the earliest stages of our data journey—I believe there’s so much more to be done.

Collectively and individually, we need to focus on delivering technology solutions that actually impact and enhance the lives of people, and that provide affordable access to data and information—to do that we to need help startups and talented entrepreneurs who are developing new technologies and applications. We need to continue to explore partnerships that can bring innovation and low-cost solutions to improve the quality of life in underserved communities.

For years, YTH has creatively utilized SMS and other technology to relay important and, at times, life-critical health information to youth.
Similar to our goals for our commercial endeavors at Vodafone xone, the focus for our nonprofit arm Vodafone Americas Foundation, which I also direct, is about outstanding innovation, creative partnerships, and sharp end-user focus. Each year, through our Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project, we identify and fund the best innovations using wireless-related technology for a better world. The foundation’s overall goal is to find talented startups and entrepreneurs that want to solve major problems for our society and empower them with every asset possible through Vodafone. What’s remarkable is that the solutions come from a variety of sources ranging from traditional universities to grassroots nonprofits and NGOs. We want to ensure that they can make their dreams into reality.

The Wireless Innovation Project is the Foundation’s largest program, but we aim for a well-rounded approach and support community organizations and technology through a three-pillar process: Improving People’s Lives; Supporting the Development Sector, and Sparking Innovation. Through Improving People’s Lives, we’ve supported organizations that effectively use mobile technology to achieve their goals.

Although many organizations these days tout the use of technology, not all of them are savvy about using mobile. It is different with YTH. For years, YTH has creatively utilized SMS and other technology to relay important and, at times, life-critical health information to youth. That is why YTH is the partner of choice for those in search of new ways to advance the health of youth and young adults through technology.

That is also why being a supporter of the ongoing work of YTH and its annual conference is one way that Vodafone Americas Foundation is making big dreams real. A collaborative learning event, the YTH Live conference puts youth health and wellness center stage and provides technology innovators with a stellar forum for their solutions.

Vodafone Americas Foundation is excited to sponsor YTH Live 2014, as it brings all of us together to discuss new ways to use wireless, mobile, and other technologies for the next generation of young people. I hope you’ll join me at YTH Live on April 6-8, 2014 in San Francisco.

Fay Arjomandi Voafone xoneFay Arjomandi (@vodavation) is the global lead of Vodafone xone and lead of Vodafone Ventures. She is also the president of Vodafone Americas Foundation, which is a sponsor of YTH Live 2014. A successful serial entrepreneur, Fay joined Vodafone Group as the Head of US Group R&D in January 2011, where she soon launched Vodafone xone in Silicon Valley in September 2011. Fay spearheads partnership work with emerging technology start-ups to develop, test and prepare for commercial deployment in global markets. Prior to Vodafone, Fay was co-founder and CEO of three technology start-ups that served mobile operators globally. An author of 12 patents, Fay has received Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 award and was the Canadian technology and innovation representative to the White House in 2007.

Creative Commons photo by martinak15.

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ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.