A Vision for Humanitarian Uses of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs

Linda Raftree and I are proud to present the culmination of a global dialogue series organized by the American Red Cross and IFRC: A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs.
Last year, the American Red Cross engaged Kurante to help them conduct regional consultations in six technology hubs to explore barriers to resilience. We traveled to Buenos Aries, Dublin, London, Nairobi, Seoul, and San Francisco to explore attitudes, beliefs, questions and concerns of both community members and humanitarians that influence urban communities’ perceptions of emerging technology.
A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs explains how the American Red Cross, defined eight criteria for resilience-strengthening solutions, chose the initial eight emerging technologies, the many ways they can help urban dwellers cope with emergencies, and how ARC arrived at five key recommendations based on community-level requests and our humanitarian expertise.
The report also defines the following four priorities for 2015-2016:

  • Wearable devices for providing early warning, supporting search and rescue, and reconnecting families
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles for temporarily restoring communications networks and delivering critical relief items, such as medicines, post disaster
  • Smart home sensor networks for sensing and reporting fires in informal settlements/slums
  • Biometric scanners in ATM-like kiosks for restoring lost documentation to prove identity, access assistance and reconnect families

Innovation teams, comprised of at-risk community members and multi-sector volunteers will take these ideas forward in several countries around the world. They will co-facilitate experiments to help inform the technologies’ design, use and cost to ultimately support consumer access, management and ownership of these resilience-strengthening solutions.
Please consider joining one of the teams, sharing your time, wisdom and technical expertise to help ensure these solutions have sustainable impact.