Daily Management Review

New mobile technologies will warn about natural disasters


The development of mobile and Internet technologies gives new opportunities for various industries. Companies are increasingly introducing technologies that can report about emergency situations not only through mobile operators and local services, but also via preinstalled mobile OS, as well as through sensors. New communication protocols make it possible to use artificial intelligence (AI) systems and the Internet of things for the rapid detection or prediction of the first signs of earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and other cataclysms.

Official U.S. Navy Imagery via flickr
Official U.S. Navy Imagery via flickr
This year, Japan began the introduction of a new system of alerting citizens to emergency situations: in addition to the usual SMS alert system through mobile operators, the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Japan, together with emergency services, built this function into the new version of Android 8.1. It is reported that when upgrading smartphones to Android 8.1, users will receive notifications of earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters, regardless of what mobile operator they use. The feature can also be used on devices with iOS.

Mobile operators are also presenting new developments. Spanish Telefónica, widely represented in Latin America, in particular in Chile, where there are many seismic regions, has created a joint project with the social network Facebook for this country. The AI platform from Telefonica, called Aura, is integrated with Facebook user profiles, and in the event of earthquakes or other emergencies it allows you to quickly notify friends and relatives through the social network.
AI systems already provide an opportunity to learn about suspicious seismic activity in some regions before traditional services. According to the Financial Times, ConvNetQuake, a neural network developed in the United States, identified 17 more seismic activity cases in the state of Oklahoma than the local geological service did. American scientists believe that the experience in creating this neural network can be extended to seismically dangerous areas located at the junction of lithospheric plates, such as the tectonic fault of San Andreas in California. The newspaper also told that former Stanford University researchers developed an early detection system of seismic activity that smartphone owners can use.

One of the creators of the system founded Zismos, which developed an eQuake application that allows users to track the first signs of tremors. The application transmits data from the accelerometer of a smartphone, located on a fixed surface, for example, on the window sill of a house or a table in a café, to the server. After that, the system compares data from other smartphones that use the same application and are located in the same area.

If the data obtained suggests an increased seismic activity, the owner of the smartphone is almost instantly alerted - even before the official alerts from emergency services or a mobile operator, which may sometimes be late.

Currently, the company is working to create a network of stationary sensors and sensors in areas with increased seismic activity. The data received from them can more accurately and quickly determine the information coming from users. The company has already received a grant of $ 1 million from the leading mobile US operator Verizon, and the number of downloads of the application exceeded 100 thousand.

The new LoRa data transfer protocol employs a more systematic approach to the use of AI and the Internet of things, including for prompt detection and notification of emergencies. Since 2015, this protocol has been developing by an alliance of companies, including IBM, MicroChip, Cisco, Semtech, Bouygues Telecom, Singtel, KPN, Swisscom, Fastnet and Belgacom. The chip supporting this protocol can be integrated into a modern mobile device, smartphone or tablet, which will give the owner of such a device considerable advantages over Wi-Fi and cellular networks due to the possibility of deploying inter-machine (M2M) communications.

The LoRa protocol allows mobile devices to independently exchange data from their sensors and accelerometers, as well as emergency services, after which they are transferred to cloud servers where the AI system analyzes them, and in case of danger warns device owners. Members of the alliance argue that the new data transfer protocol can significantly improve the quality of communication, even in areas already affected by disasters, due to the wider range of operations of data transmission stations.

source: ft.com