IBM is taking a step towards making cities smarter with new software for managing emergency services and an update to its police network Coplink.
Today IBM is announcing Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management. The software hooks into the Weather Company’s data network to predict and plan around major weather events and potential natural disasters. The weather data is not only available in real time, but it also provides details about how quickly a storm is moving and location down to a square kilometer.
In addition to storm data analysis, the intelligent operations center will give officials the ability to simulate how a storm will affect a city’s infrastructure before it hits. That means authorities can better determine where emergency crews should be located and how to prioritize repairs. It could also help hospitals and other institutions to better prepare ahead of a storm, so they have enough fuel or electrical generators to continue running during an emergency.
In 2014, damages from natural disasters worldwide cost $110 billion, according to Munich Re, a major reinsurer. The U.S. has certainly had its fair share. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina essentially dissolved the city of New Orleans in Louisiana; and in 2012 Hurricane Sandy washed away whole sections of New York and New Jersey. Federal, state, and local officials have all come under fire for the way these events were handled, with many people complaining that officials were slow to act. That may be because those cities lacked the kind of tools that IBM is purporting to offer.
In addition to the launch of its intelligent operations center, IBM is also updating Coplink, its 20-year-old police database. Today, Coplink is moving to the cloud.
Coplink allows police officers in different states to compare and compile data about potential suspects that have lived, traveled, and broken laws in multiple states. It also logs information about police behavior, allowing for accountability in investigations.
The network is used by 6,000 police agencies in 22 states and hosts roughly 1.1 billion shareable documents. Though Coplink tends to be a tool for larger police organizations, IBM hopes that by making the network cloud-enabled, smaller police outfits will start using the system. Putting Coplink in the cloud makes it more accessible to smaller police departments because it doesn’t need to be installed and is therefore less expensive.
Both announcements are a part of IBM’s Safer Planet initiative. With its new crisis management system and update to Coplink, IBM is certainly moving in the direction of making cities smarter with more digitally enabled tools.
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