IBM tackles emergency city systems as hurricane season approaches

IBM and The Weather Company are working together to forge effective real-time emergency response plans through data analytics.


IBM and The Weather Company have teamed up to develop forecast systems to give communities the keys to better prepare for natural disasters and weather events.

As the hurricane season in the United States gets underway, a collaboration between Big Blue, The Weather Company and its global B2B division has been announced. On Monday, the companies revealed they are developing a new emergency management solution which combines weather data analytics and data to "help communities predict and plan for natural disasters far more accurately and deploy the right resources in advance."

Hurricanes are known to cause chaos across the US in the majority of cases the season comes around. Unfortunately, the weather event not only can cause serious destruction to homes and leave citizens destitute, but can also destroy communication channels.

If government agencies and emergency response teams are given a more accurate heads-up as the season approaches, this can direct them to the areas most likely to be hit and the people in the most need.

The Weather Company runs a number of global weather forecast centers designed to track tropical weather, climatology and severe weather events for the company's clients and is also a well-established broadcaster. The company's contribution to the effort is the collection of weather data, while IBM's new Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Emergency Management will collect this data -- as well as historical records and sensor data from a variety of sources -- in order to analyze patterns, create visualizations and predict what's coming next.

Weather predictions and the subsequent analysis will then be forwarded to agencies to help people prepare for natural disasters and for organizations to support more effective response efforts.

According to IBM, integrating weather data within the IOC will lead to an increased tropical weather forecast of a day and a half over publicly available hurricane alerts -- and WSI algorithms will give emergency response teams a better idea of where the worst areas hit will be and respond as a result.

In addition, the forecast system is expected to give government bodies the option to create more realistic prediction scenarios of how particular weather events -- such as snowstorms or hurricanes -- could unfold, leading to improved decision making in the event of a natural disaster or serious weather.

"Big data is revolutionizing emergency management and transforming how communities protect citizens and property in times of emergency - which can range from hurricanes and snowstorms to highway accidents and riots," said Robert Griffin, General Manager, Safer Planet at IBM. "The IOC for Emergency Management from IBM enables data sharing across organizational boundaries and applies sophisticated analytics to provide insight for future incident planning and response."

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