Making fact-based decisions with a people-focus approach
Leverage the power of data
In an emergency or natural disaster, access to information can be just as critical as access to food, shelter or medical supplies. By leveraging the power of data — whether by pushing relevant information out to residents and first responders or concentrating rescue efforts in areas with more severe damage and vulnerable residents — cities can maximize the value of their resources.
Readiness, responsiveness; resilience
During Hurricanes Harvey and Irma respectively, Houston and Miami took on the responsibility of pulling together useful information from a variety of sources to assist residents and responders during and after the storms. The cities prepared staff members to input flood data from their smartphones. Residents could provide their information to rescue teams, visualize emergency shelter locations and access safety tips and emergency contact information.
Even if citizens are empowered to act as the eyes and ears of our communities, the speed at which this information is relayed can mean the difference between safety and tragedy. In the past, there have been numerous examples of miscommunication or delayed communication costing lives.
Driving innovation in emergency management
Data and analytics are considered to be the next frontier for innovation and productivity in business. Successful business transformation programs have a strong correlation with technology due to its scale, speed and cost benefits.
Every year, public safety dispatch centers in the US handle approximately 240 million 911 calls, and agility, effectiveness and efficiency are the cornerstones of effective emergency response. Since chatbots are highly scalable, they can be employed to address some of the volume challenges and initiate the dispatch process. Conversational AI promises to fundamentally change the way machines support and improve human lives.
Making your emergency response faster and safer
Communication isn’t one-way. In a mass casualty incident, many responders and agencies may be involved. Rather than follow a hierarchical approach (usually implemented by an officer or chief of the agency in charge) automated text messages can be used to engage communities, request help and enable organizations to escalate information to safety and security leaders. Those leaders can then survey the affected citizens to determine who is safe and who needs assistance.
By utilizing this automated text mechanism and integrating it with a city’s urban data platform and sensors, the organizational structure becomes flat, resulting in increased communication, connecting important decision makers, establishing relationships and building trust. The ability to make effective, real-time structured representations and computations is key to realizing the quality and strength of the connections between entities.
A knowledge graph empowers stakeholders closest to the issue to make decisions, reducing the chance of time-sensitive information changing before a decision can be made. Because it can find patterns in the connected data in real time, it grows organically to group similar entities or create new ones based on explicit relationships, allowing time-sensitive tactical decisions to be made.
The growth of cloud computing has led to the need for integration and APIs that offer easy access to business-critical information. Through knowledge graphs, next-generation ML-assisted APIs will reduce complexity and identify associations, anomalies and trends, empowering organizations with new services and options.
Use cases within critical vertical markets
To make informed decisions about mobility, public safety and waste management, smart cities must employ vast lakes of data from a growing number of IoT applications, sensors and edge devices. The power of data can be harnessed using a single platform, creating a new data economy.
Imagine a connected smart home that warns occupants to evacuate during an overnight emergency —not only calling the occupants on their cell phone, but waking them up and telling them to evacuate. What if there were two-way feedback that aggregates the locations or movement of devices or cars so we could detect the effectiveness of evacuations? What if emergency managers could access consolidated data which shows that the majority of people went from standing to a prone position during an earthquake?
By creating a “speak-up” environment where thoughts and feelings can be shared and heard, we can make a huge impact, and enabling fact-based decisions both in the short-term and long-term. Forward-thinking leaders need to develop innovative ways to tap into community inputs and explore new opportunities to collaborate and strengthen the eco-system and the role of civil society in mission critical environments.