Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Personal Technology for Good Redux: Call for Code


In 2013 I had the opportunity to manage a $2M demonstration of how cloud computing could be used to support natural disasters. In that NCOIC Geospatial Community Cloud (GCC) demonstration, multiple regional clouds were managed using a cloud brokerage platform in a simulated response to a massive earthquake. Modeled after the disaster that struck Haiti in 2010, the project showed how interoperability and movement of data in an open, cloud-based infrastructure could be used to deliver a global, multidisciplinary disaster response capability. The relief simulation also showed government leaders how data sources from a variety of organizations coupled with cloud technology could improve capability and effectiveness while reducing cost, time and risk. These were critical lessons that, back then, I looked forward to maturing.
Now it’s 2018, and technology advances have continued to revolutionize our society.  The democratization of data and information have since changed our lives in many unexpected ways.  A sad fact though is that, although some government leaders have tried, our global society has not yet found a way to institutionalize the lessons we learned back then.  While cloud computing continues to upend industry norms, the disaster response community is still stuck with antiquated processes and technologies.  This unfortunate reality is but one reason why I have decided to put my energy behind the “Call for Code” initiative.

IBM is the founding member of the Call for Code Global Initiative, which was created by David Clark, a renowned leader in cause-related initiatives. David Clark's work includes iconic people and humanitarian organizations, such as President Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Prince, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and The Anne Frank Center.  The Call for Code Global Challenge is designed to leverage technology for good by asking software developers to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and relief. This competition encourages developers who want to pay their skills forward for a specific mission to alleviate human suffering.  A broad cross-section of experts humanitarian and international organizations are supporting this initiative which includes the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross’
GRAMMY nominatedsongtress Andra Day
International team. They will also benefit from the inaugural Call for Code Global Prize Event & Concert on October 13th, United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction.  The initiative also boasts some star power with GRAMMY-nominated singer and human rights advocate Andra Day, whose 2015 global smash hit song "Rise Up" quickly became the voice for the voiceless, leading a celebrity coalition.


Another motivation for joining this initiative was a recent video from Brad Kieserman, Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics.  In that video, he highlighted the importance of visualizing data in a way that helped responders make better decisions about the movement of resources during a disaster.  His vision of using technology to address unmet disaster need for me pointed out the value of the cloud as the application delivery platform and data repository.  The same value proposition we proved back in 2013.

Brad Kieserman, Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics
Over the next few months I will be blogging, tweeting, podcasting and vlogging on the many “Call for Code” activities and events.  Please join me in supporting this effort by retweeting, liking and reposting this content to your friends. 

Let’s all work together to help each other when disaster strikes.

This post was brought to you by IBM Developerworks. For more content like this, visit https://developer.ibm.com/code/



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