IBM has announced its Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Emergency Management software, designed to inject big data analytics into operations that help communities prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes.
The IOC was developed in partnership with The Weather Company and its professional division, WSI, to integrate weather data with IBM's analytics technology, which will allow local governments and emergency organisations gain more information further in advance of extreme weather.
Set up in time for the American hurricane season, the IOC will tap into the WSI weather tracking algorithms to follow storms and better inform rapid response services on where the worst affected areas are. IBM said this will remove the need for the emergency services to try and guess which areas most need their help.
Access to WSI's forecast system via the IOC gives authorities responsible for handling natural disasters the ability to simulate the probability of how a dangerous weather event will unfold, allowing them to better position emergency services in areas where they will be most needed.
By looking into the probability of a weather event unfolding in a different manner than forecast, emergency services gain more insight ito where to set up contingency plans to be able to respond to changes.
IBM said this technique leads to better and more informed decision making from the emergency services, which will not have to solely rely on traditional forecasts.
IBM's IOC uses a combination of data analytics, visualisation and real-time collaboration with other organisations to crunch and dig through historical and Internet of Things sensor data collected from a variety of sources.
The IOC is part of Big Blue's Safer Planet portfolio, which provides cognitive computing-powered data analytics services to aid public safety, intelligence, cyber threat intelligence and counter fraud professionals.
In an IBM blog post, Robert Griffin, general manager of Safer Planet at IBM, noted that data analytics is changing the way emergency organisations gain insight into dealing with disasters and danger to their local communities.
"Situational intelligence is the key to making the world less dangerous. The more we know, the better prepared we are when the worst happens - and the more likely we are to be able to prevent it," he wrote.
"To know more, we need to be able to sift through all the evidence to understand what's happening now, and why, and what's likely to happen next."
IBM is applying its analytics systems to numerous sectors, in particular healthcare, which has seen Big Blue bring is cognitive computing technology to the sector with Watson Health.
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