How the Internet of Things can prepare cities for natural disasters

Source(s): Harvard Business Review

By Kris Tremaine and Kyle Tuberson

When a disaster strikes, federal, state, and local governments need a coordinated strategy, accessible data, and a skilled workforce to manage the response. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods have devastating effects on communities across our country. Since 1980 the U.S. has sustained more than 200 weather and climate disasters, with cumulative costs exceeding $1.1 trillion.

Government agencies should consider leveraging the internet of things (IoT) and other web-driven technologies to obtain timely and accurate data that can better inform decisions and actions. Using the most current technology could help them more efficiently and safely address these costly disasters. However, this type of progress will require more than just employing the IoT to improve emergency preparedness and response; response teams have to be ready to receive, interpret, and take action on the data.

Gathering data before a disaster strikes

Today, disaster responders gain reliable, timely information only when they reach an emergency zone and take stock of the situation. In the case of hurricanes and major weather events, physical and technical roadblocks often prevent response teams from obtaining critical data to track damages, prioritize response needs, and keep the public informed so that people know how to stay safe. Ineffective communication channels, overburdened response systems, satellite disruptions, and internet blackouts further impede people from getting the help they need.


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