Rio de Janeiro, IBM collaborate on emergency response system

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is working with Brazil's Rio de Janeiro municipality to add new capabilities to further improve the city's emergency response system and provide real-time information access for citizens, the company said in a release.

The new automated alert system will notify city officials and emergency personnel when changes occur in the flood and landslide forecast for Rio. As opposed to a previous system where notifications were managed manually, the new alert system is expected to reduce drastically reaction times to emergency situations by using instantaneous mobile communications, including automated email notifications and instant messaging, to reach emergency personnel and citizens.

IBM is working with the city is through its local operations center, opened last year, which has integrated information and processes from across 30 different municipal agencies.

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Operations officials from across the city collaborate daily to manage the movement of traffic and public transportation systems, and the efficiency of power and water supplies.

The new alert system, developed by IBM's Software Labs, can track the receipt of messages to ensure response is immediate and effective. Because responses to each emergency are tracked from start to finish, the alert system also provides a wealth of data available for analysis after the fact. Responders can use this data to improve their system settings and operational procedures, further boosting response time and coordination.

Residents of Rio can also access daily data feeds from the Rio Operations Center. The center's profile on Facebook and Twitter provide frequent updates on weather and traffic, as well as recommended alternative routes around the city during special events, such as concerts, soccer games and festivals.