Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Embarking on a study of ICT use in Indian Emergency Communications

Image is from DownToEarth:
2014 has been a busy year for Indian Emergency Managers. The Uttarakhan massive landslide, Jamu-n-Kashmir floods, Mumbai Stampede, GAIL gas pipeline explosion, Cyclone Hudhud are few of the many disasters they faced this year. Communications failed during these major crises. The Citizens and the Crisis Managers were disconnected without any telecommunications. Responders had no way of contacting remote Taluks and Hamlets to assess their situation. Local Officials couldn't contact State of Central Government to share their distress.

Realizing the shortcomings in the robustness of telecommunications in serving crises the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) of the Government of India and the International of Telecommunication Union are committed to intervene. I am honoured to be granted the opportunity to lead the study in determining the gaps and then recommending best-practices that can be leveraged in improving the Indian emergency communications.

The objectives are:
  1. Evaluate the current situation of ICT use in Emergency Telecommunications; specifically in the preparedness and response components of a Disaster Management cycle.
  2. Suggest optimal use of satellite and terrestrial systems to developed redundant stream-less communications by first assessing available ICT resources and processes to effectively meet the challenges.
  3. Create ecosystems where investments made for deploying telecommunications infrastructures for economic development are also used for disaster response for public safety.
  4. Challenges to bring in coordinated approach from different government departments, Service providers, private sector, intergovernmental organizations for effectiveness and quick response.
  5. Recommend any areas that require capacity building, systems development, and procedures for resilience. Thereafter, provide best practices that would support those recommendations.
A primary activity is a mission to India. The meetings in New Delhi are scheduled from December 11th to December 18th and in Bangalore (State of Karanataka) from 19th to the 22nd December, 2014. Interviewees are planned with Resource Persons affiliated Community-based Organizations, United Nations Agencies, Private Entities, Special Interest Groups, and Government Organizations. The mission findings will be recorded in mission report.