Working to help communities respond to weather disasters

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Written by: Gandhi Sivakumar, Executive Architect, APAC, Watson and Cloud CoC, and Master Inventor

Figures* surrounding the human cost of weather related disasters make for sobering reading, and highlight the urgency at which we must address the issue – especially given the frequency at which these events are occurring.

In the last 20 years, more than half of the global population (4.1 billion) have been injured, left homeless, or in need of emergency assistance due to weather related disasters.

Narrowing this down further, 2.3 billion people have been affected by flooding in the last 20 years.

Flood alert graphicIt was this damning realisation that inspired me to harness the power of technology to make a positive difference.

Having developed a stronger understanding of the causes of flooding, and trends to monitor, the team and I were able to build a patent for a Flood Alert System.

Using ultrasound and analytic technologies, the technology has the potential to warn people, and help local governments and businesses with evacuation plans.

The system works by capturing information around flood depths, and various alert parameters, such as water stagnancy, provided by registered users, to create highly personalised flood alerts and maps.

Car crossing flooded roadIn a flood crossing, as an example, a hidden sink hole could spell danger for a driver. The Flood Alert System would warn him before he attempted the crossing and provide a map with a safer route.

I’m proud to be a Master Inventor at IBM. Here, I not only can have an impact on industries and clients, but also the community and that makes my job very rewarding.

* Source: United Nations Office for Risk Reduction: The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters. (2015)

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