By providing the technological basis and educational offers forequal, digital access to information, education and knowledge,Telekom Austria Group not only serves as a responsible memberof our society, but also as an element bridging gaps.
Tablets instead of books. In schools, not at the beach. Certain pedagogues and politiciansinvolved in educational policies think that school children will soon be free from theburden of carrying cumbersome text books around. Schools are supposed to support so-called digital natives, meaning children who were born into the digital era, using methodsto which they can relate. In our day and age, this means mostly smart phones and tablets.Studies have been highlighting the possibilities of networked learning by means of suchelectronic devices for years.
Austria: 23,549, Bulgaria: 1,625,
Croatia: 75, Slovenia: 150,
Republic of Serbia: 100
from 2011 to 2016
INITIATIVE STARTEDIN AUTUMN OF 2011
100,000 participants in media
PARTICIPIATION INMEDIA LITERACYTRAININGS
INFLUENCE BECOMES NORMALITY
This example illustrates to what an extent digitalisation already permeates our society.While past generations used to perceive books as the most normal element of educationand everything digital as mere ‘modern influence’, digital life is a normality for youngermembers of society. Education and training institutions — and not only those servingyounger generations — will have adjust to this fact. For the thought that learning ends withschool graduation is obsolete as well. Life-long learning is, in fact, a prerequisite for peopleto keep up with the pace of our highly advanced society.
DIGITALISATION AS A DRIVER FOR SOCIETY AND SCIENCE
If only — after discovering the moons of Jupiter — Galileo Galilei had been able to contactthe international community of scientists via digital media, the entire history of sciencewould have taken a different direction. Today, using a tablet or smart phone, every child onthe planet can catch up on scientific discoveries in minutes, more knowledge, in fact, thaneven the best scientists would have had at their disposal twenty years ago. Rapid develop-ments in cosmology, genetics, biotechnology and quantum mechanics are the result of digi-talisation. Telecommunications companies such as Telekom Austria Group thus providethe foundation for scientific achievements as well as social and economical developmentoptions in the 21st century.
Factual knowledge in almost all fields has risen to a status that virtually dwarves the great-est achievements of past epochs. While archaeologists in the 1990s used to look for sunkencivilisations for years (and sometimes in vain), today, their discovery sometimes takes mereweeks. Thanks to young scientists like Sarah Parcak, who knows how to make the best ofsatellite technology and digitalisation, archaeologists have recently made discoveries thatwould have exceeded the wildest dreams of scientists only a few decades ago.
Studies such as Strategy&’s Global Information Technology Report 2016 forecast that in-creased digitalisation results in a larger gross domestic product, lower unemployment ratesand more innovation activity. This means that digitalisation is more than a ‘nice to have’but actually concerns the very heart of a society. In fact, society is already being kept aliveby a ‘digital pacemaker’.
STEPS TO CONSOLIDATE DIGITALISATION
Companies such as Telekom Austria Group serves as a driver of digitalisation. It providesconnectivity and bandwidths that allow for the creation of future scientific, societal, eco-nomical and educational models. In its role as a pioneer of digitalisation and know-howcarrier, however, Telekom Austria Group wants to be more than an infrastructure provider.It sees itself as the ideal partner accompanying economy and society toward the path ofdigital transformation. To this end, it has adapted its corporate culture which it practicesdaily (see Employees). Its corporate culture is also based on the Group’s guiding principle of‘Empowering Digital Life’.
To achieve this goal, Telekom Austria Group not only relies on the provision of technologi-cal access to digital sources of knowledge, information and education. Apart from increas-ing its activities in mobile and fixed-line broadband extension, it also uses social initiativesaimed at bridging the ‘Digital Gap’. In other words, it attempts to build ‘societal bridges’. Tothis end, it supports the development of the skill set and abilities needed to explore individ-ual potential associated to digitalisation. As early as 2011, it founded the A1 Internet for Allmedia literacy initiative in Austria and rolled out comparable projects and initiatives inmost countries the Group is active in.
DIGITALISATION FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD: INTERNET FOR ALL
13 different workshops taking place in Austria were developed to help children acquire digi-tal skills as early as when starting primary school. The content of the workshops is also be-ing provided as school materials. At the Vienna location, the children’s training programmewas extended by a so-called Digital Study Room (see Thinking globally, leading regionally).During designated information evenings, the parents are given information on their chil-dren’s Internet usage habits and how to protect them from possible dangers associated withthem.
Furthermore, the A1 Internet for All initiative offers more than 30 different trainings for se-niors, reaching from first steps to editing photos. By means of an access programme tai-lored to this age group, the company aims at lowering their Internet entry threshold andkindling their curiosity. Expert knowledge of media literacy topics and a training conceptbased on that build the foundation to gently accompany seniors on their way to a digitallife. Courses building upon each other as well as practical exercises and examples fromevery day digital life, tips on how to correctly work with digital media and more introducethe seniors to the Internet. Additionally, they train how to use laptop computers, tabletsand smart phones, and resolve individual issues in open question & answer sessions. As-pects of security are an essential part of all courses. A recommendation rate of 99 % provesthe A1 Internet for All initiative’s quality and relevance for the target groups at which it isaimed. Several subsidiaries to Telekom Austria Group also offer information brochures forseniors, children and families. The Slovenian subsidiary, for instance, has been offering asmart phone brochure tailored to seniors since 2016 (see Thinking globally, leadingregionally). PA2
Austrian subsidiary A1 offers trainings aimed at consolidating digital competences at threepermanent locations in three provincial capitals as well as monthly tours to regions in thecountryside. The programme enjoys the support of 30 partners from social and educationalfields. With 124,512 in 2016, the Group well exceeded its Group-wide goal of 100,000 medialiteracy training participants which it had set itself in 2012 (see graphic ‘Participations inmedia literacy trainings’). Thus, according to a scientific evaluation carried out by the NPOInstitute at the Economic University of Vienna in 2016, the Austrian subsidiary A1 signifi-cantly contributed to closing the Digital Gap in Austria.
WHAT ELSE DIGITALISATION CAN DO FOR SOCIETY
Above all, digitalisation can make everyday life easier for socially disadvantaged or physi-cally impaired people. For instance, new information technology is able to integrate blindor seriously visually impaired people into general educational activities in such a way thatthey no longer need to learn Braille. Vipnet, Telekom Austria Group’s Croatian subsidiary,also offers visually impaired people mobile phones with larger displays and simplifiedmenu navigation.
Health naturally plays a big role in a society whose members are getting older and older. Inmany areas of the healthcare system, e-health solutions offer new possibilities. In Austria,for instance, A1‘s Medical Data Network already links physicians, hospitals, laboratoriesand other health care institutions. The multi-media hospital bed, also referred to as ‘E-CareTerminal’ makes lying in a hospital bed a more varied experience while adding severalservices to everyday hospital operations and supporting care personnel.
Even simple applications such as one.Vip’s make life easier: Their app reminds users ofdoctor’s appointments by sending them text messages. Slovenian subsidiary A1 Slovenija’shelps diabetics with monitoring their blood sugar level with the app Vem, kaj jem! (‘I knowwhat I eat!’). E-government solutions help Slovenian subsidiary A1 Slovenija facilitate com-munication between citizens and authorities. Text and chat messages represent valuablemeans of communication for deaf people. Telekom Austria Group’s subsidiary in Belarusoffers special rates to persons with impaired hearing, while the Slovenian one helps blindand deaf people with special rates that include large data allowances (unlimited textmessages and voice telephony).
Using these and many other measures and initiatives, Telekom Austria Group activelyassumes its social responsibility by building societal bridges (and not just digital ones) tolead the way to equal opportunities in the time of digitalisation.
1) Number of Austrian participants in 2014 corrected thanks tohigher data quality.
DIGITALISATION & THE SOCIETY
Digitalisation also offers significant advan-tages for the society as a whole. Digitalmedia, for example, gives all people equali-ty of opportunities in terms of personaland societal development. This is whyTelekom Austria Group supports compe-tent and safe media use in a targetedmanner. Providing infrastructure and thefoundations for economic development inrural areas is one important part of thiseffort, for network expansion also meansbridging the digital gap between urbanisedand rural regions as well as between soci-etal situations — for instance with a viewto educational and development possibili-ties. This is paramount for a society’ssocial and economic development.
INITIATIVES AND SOCIAL PARTNERSHIPS
-Specialisterne –Integration of personssuffering from a condition in theautism spectrum into the labourmarket (A1)
-Cooperation with Listen Up — aplatform supporting deaf people andpeople with hearing impairments(Mobiltel)
-Do The Right Thing — Project aimedat promoting internal volunteer workby employees (Vipnet)
-Children.Autism.Parents — Develop-ment and provision of the free DARCommunicator application for personssuffering from autism (velcom)
-Cooperation with SAFE.SI — Trainingsfor children on the safe use of mobilephones and data transfer
-Cooperation with Blue Shell —support for single parents and familieswith disable children (Vip mobile)
-SOS Children’s Village — Free fixed-line phones; Business customers areinvited to donate (one.Vip)
COOPERATIONS FOR SAFE INTERNET USE
-Vienna University Children’s Office (A1)
-Saferinternet (A1, Mobiltel)
-SAFE.SI (A1 Slovenija)
-Belgrade Seniors’ Association
HOUSEHOLDS WITHACCESS TO THE INTERNET
-Good Practice – Austrian SocialMinistry’s Good Practice award for A1Internet for All (A1)
-Rescuers of Childhood award (Mobiltel)
-Best Private Education Initiativeaward for project Read Belarusianwith velcom (velcom)
-TA5: Open source technologies arepromoted in the framework of theInternet for All initiative.
USEFUL INFORMATIONFOR GRI EXPERTS
2) The renaming of Si.mobil d.d. in A1 Slovenija, d.d. in the course of the rebranding became effective in April 2017.
THE ROADMAP — SOCIETY
-More than 20,000participations in medialiteracy trainings
-Implementation of the newmedia literacy workshopprogramme in Belarus2)
-25,499 participants in mediacompetence trainings
-Nine information evenings forparents with 206 participantsin the framework of the A1Internet for All initiative
-Publication of a free brochureon the safe use of mobilephones in Slovenia
-Workshop programmeaimed at promoting medialiteracy launched in Belarus
-Training course offersaimed at promoting digitalcompetence at schools andfor seniors extended
150,000 participationsin media literacytrainings
100,000 participantsin media literacytrainings
-Continuation of socialinitiatives based on localneeds
-Social initiatives such as
Do the Right Thing continuedin Croatia, cooperation withSAFE.SI on the safe use ofmobile phones in Slovenia,partnership with SOSChildren’s Village in Republicof Macedonia etc.
-Continuation of socialinitiatives tailored to
Promotion of socialprojects accordingto local needs
1) Baseline for target is 2015. 2) A comprehensive evaluation on the implementation of a media literacy initiative was conducted in2016 at the subsidiary in Belarus. Due to local framework conditions, the workshop programme’s roll-out is scheduled for 2017.
3) Baseline for target is 2011.
THINKING GLOBALLY, LEADING REGIONALLY
In the framework of the Internet for All initiative,Slovenian subsidiary A1 Slovenija — in cooperationwith the University of Maribor — designed andproduced a brochure titled Varna uporaba mobilnihtelefonov (‘On the safe use of mobile phones’). Thebrochure is aimed at seniors and is supposed toinstruct them on the safe use of mobile phones,besides introducing them to basic functionssuchas PIN, PUK, button lock and more.
By means of the A1 Internet for All Campus, the Austrian subsidiary has been offeringtutoring for children and adolescents since 2016. The digital study room gives them thechance to research presentation topics or do homework online. Media pedagogues supportthe children and adolescents in using digital media for school assignments. Additionally, itoffers coding workshops for 7- to 13-year-olds, where they are introduced into the worldof programming. In small groups, the bring Lego figures to life and solve tasks using robots.
In the autumn of 2016, the Belarusian subsidiaryvelcom presented a new project titled MOVABOX.Its aim is to preserve and promote the culture,language and literature of Belarus. ContemporaryBelarusian authors and their works are intro-duced to a wider audience. MOVABOX combinesoffline and online elements. Offline activities in-clude meetings with authors writing children'sliterature, where books are exchanged and readtogether. When it comes to online activities,MOVABOX offers a literature quiz. Winnersreceive a MOVABOX, full of Belarusian literature.
The Croatian subsidiary Vipnet introduced a crowdfunding platform for social projects in2016. The social network brings private individuals and organisations together. Everyonecan register on the website and subsequently create a charity campaign for a certain or-ganisation or topic. Through sharing the project on other social networks, friends, acquain-tances and family members are encouraged to donate money to the respective cause. Thecurrent total amount donated is displayed in real-time on the website. Donations aretransferred directly to the charity organisations with no fees being charged.www.cinipravustvar.hr