BlackBerry unveils new flood risk and clean water monitoring solution

BlackBerry is working with the University of Windsor on the project.

BlackBerry announced the release of a new tool that will help address flood risk and clean water monitoring. 

The company is working with the University of Windsor on the project -- which runs on BlackBerry's AtHoc critical event management platform -- and testing it in Canada. 

In a statement, BlackBerry explained that Indigenous peoples across Canada are disproportionately impacted by flooding and a lack of clean water, which prompted the two organizations to join forces. 

The technology "provides autonomous year-round monitoring and an intelligent early warning system, collecting and processing large amounts of sensor data, and generating alerts based on the data insights."

"Its proven benefits include its ability to identify seasonal and unseasonal water-related risks and generate significant cost savings for governments, utility companies and local communities," the company said in a statement.  

"Using the solution, local municipalities could each save up to $1 million or more annually in operating expenses, in addition to the environmental, safety, health, and other benefits of early warning flood mitigation and clean water."

The two organizations added that more than two billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, and children under the age of five are the most threatened group when it comes to unclean water.  

Nearly two billion people live in areas considered a flood risk, and BlackBerry said both issues are being affected by climate change. 

Neelam Sandhu, a senior vice president at BlackBerry, said tools like theirs would be critical as the effects of climate change continue to worsen each year. There have been dozens of deadly floods across Turkey, Germany, the US, China and other countries this year, prompting fears that heavier rains and flooding may be here to stay. 

"Climate change is one of the most pressing threats to our everyday lives, and tackling it requires the urgent and combined effort of governments, organizations, and individuals," Sandhu said. 

"BlackBerry is committed to delivering advanced technologies that turn real-time data into intelligence and leverage our leadership in communications to enable the safety and security of people around the world. Furthermore, we are on track to be carbon neutral this year."

Mike McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, noted that globally, communities now need to rely on the autonomous monitoring of air and water to inform understandings of the environment and alert people to impending danger.  

"The BlackBerry solution announced today delivers on this need," McKay said. "Autonomous early-warnings and real-time monitoring are critical to providing enough time to address the risks communities around the world are currently facing.  We are proud to have partnered with BlackBerry on this important and unique technology."