It is hard to believe it’s been a year since we transitioned the Pandemic Response Technology Initiative to the Intel RISE Technology Initiative (IRTI). During that time, IRTI has created a broader, purpose-driven platform for action with new dedicated workstreams for social equity and human rights, accessibility and climate action.
Among the many lessons learned over the past two years, is that technology is essential.
The IRTI achieved a lot in its first year of deploying Intel technology, our employees’ talent and partnerships to do good around the world. Intel invested $9.5 million to fund 63 projects across six areas that align with the Intel RISE pillars: accessibility; economic recovery; education; health and life sciences; social equity and human rights; and sustainability and climate. Intel differentiated technology was utilized in 67% of the projects to solve unique challenges that plague individuals and organizations globally.
At Intel, our experts drive the success of IRTI projects, and we actively work with partners to identify issues and provide unique technology solutions to some of the world’s most complex challenges. Some of the most compelling projects funded by IRTI support diverse communities and strengthen our goal to support social equity and innovation.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of this evolved initiative, here are some IRTI projects that have leveraged Intel employee expertise and technology:
Accessibility: Helping the Visually Impaired Find Their Way Indoors – For the blind and visually impaired, having the right tools and technology to effectively navigate indoor spaces can result in greater independence and confidence when traveling. To support and empower this community, Intel partnered with GoodMaps to optimize high-quality wayfinding solutions. We worked with Portland State University to implement and test camera-based positioning technology, encouraging locals to experience the positioning and mapping algorithms to identify issues and suggest improvements. We’ll continue to investigate volumetric mapping algorithms and spatial audio integration to improve the accuracy of indoor wayfinding services to advance our commitment of implementing inclusive technologies.
Economic Recovery: Upskilling Program Supports Sports, Entertainment Workers – As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re faced with millions of workers who lost their jobs looking for new opportunities, including 9.3 million people in the sports and entertainment industries. We partnered with Microsoft and the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience to launch a joint initiative to address the skills gap and provide workers with a path for upward professional mobility. This program provides access to online curated content to help workers increase their competency, grow their professional skills, and enhance their capabilities for current and future roles. Ensuring an inclusive economic recovery requires opportunities for those hit hardest by job losses to develop essential skills.
Education: Community College Engagement Through the AI Incubator Network – There is a rapidly increasing need for a well-trained workforce with artificial intelligence (AI) skills and STEM-related education. To support this demand and implement higher education training programs, we launched the AI Incubator Network in partnership with Dell and the American Association of Community Colleges to design and build AI incubators across the country. AI labs will provide students with greater access to technical skills and training in AI, ensuring the future of AI technology is shaped by diverse voices. Community colleges that join the network can participate in discussions, connect on economic development, strategize on student engagement into AI programming, share lessons about student projects between the participating colleges and gather best practices from the field of AI incubation. We’re committed to advancing programs that will enable and accelerate STEM learning, including engaging partners like Khan Academy who share our collective goal of implementing equitable educational experiences and resources.
Health and Life Sciences: Integrating AI in Healthcare and Help Improve Patient Safety – Through IRTI, we’re implementing Intel technology to help improve patient safety and care. One project leverages Intel AI technology to establish zones around a patient’s bed, implementing virtual rails that, if crossed, trigger an alert for the medical team. A trained technician also monitors multiple patient rooms from a central station with this AI-assisted tech and alerts the care team to help prevent falls in the hospital setting. Built with Intel® OpenVINO™ technology to ensure enhanced performance on Intel AI hardware, the solution has been deployed at Intermountain Healthcare. We will continue to uncover and address both patient and provider needs and optimize Intel technology to maximize our potential impact within the medical industry.
Social Equity and Human Rights: Increasing Digital Access in Zambia – We also formed an alliance with 50 partners from Fortune 500 companies, NGOs and academia to build up the N50 Project focusing on closing the participation gap in the digital world. N50 works with the Welcome to America Project in Phoenix, where they provide digital literacy skills, online English as a second language tutoring and job searching for local refugees. The partners also support the rollout of technology in Luumbo, a rural community in southern Zambia, to ensure that education, health and agricultural needs of the community are met. Mwabu provides education content for a local school to improve learning outcomes, and doctors are supplying virtual support for the rural health clinic. N50’s project goal is to provide marginalized communities with better web and technology access, which will, in turn, give them access to resources for education, health, social and financial benefits. This pilot project will track progress during 2022 and provide data that will help create a blueprint model for sustainable network integration. With nearly 3.9 billion people yet to be introduced into the digital world, this is the beginning of a long road for N50.
Sustainability and Climate: Establishing a Solar Community Hub in Brazil – To address environmental and educational needs of the Boa Esperança community in Brazil, we partnered with Dell and the Sustainable Amazon Foundation to establish a solar community hub. Powered by solar energy, it provides internet access, technology and services that benefit about 1,500 people. The community hub provides access to digital literacy skills, business management training and healthcare through telehealth connections. In addition to education, training and health, the Amazon Deforestation Alert System will be implemented for territorial management activities that will identify occurrences of deforestation or environmental degradation in the Amazon region. Inputs from local environmental monitors combined with AI technology create probabilistic and geostatistical models to predict locations of new deforestation in the short term with over 90% accuracy.
Continuing IRTI’s Momentum
These are just a few examples of the influence that IRTI can have in improving the lives of every person on the planet as it continues to deliver impact in 2022. We are encouraged by the tangible results the IRTI projects have achieved to date and motivated by the collective desire to do more.
Rick Echevarria is a vice president and general manager of the Intel RISE Technology Initiative at Intel Corporation.