New tech solutions needed for tackling disasters, says IT Secy

KSUM’s two-day Code for Kerala hackathon kicks off in city

Creating innovative global technical solutions to tackle the fallout of  natural disasters is the necessity of this age and the state government is committed to give total support to the efforts in that direction, said Sri M. Sivasankar IAS, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, on Friday.

He was addressing the participants at the two-day hackathon, meant for tracing solutions to mitigate the hardships caused by natural disasters by improving preparedness for relief operations, that commenced at Greenfield Stadium at Karyavattom here.

The programme, Call for Code Kerala Challenge, was organized by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in partnership with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

KSUM will incubate and support the startups that come up with good solutions. The best ideas from this hackathon  will also be given entry to the Summer School programme by the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) to be held in Kochi in December, Sri Sivasankar said.

Referring to the massive relief measures mounted in the wake of the devastating floods that hit the State recently, he said It’s high time that we thought about how we can innovatively, creatively and effectively extend our sympathies to those who are affected by the disaster.

Speaking at the event, Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM, said the agency has plans to set up an incubator for the startups that create disaster mitigation solutions.

Many of the participants attending the hackathon have been directly or indirectly affected by the recent floods in Kerala. This will be one of those locations where people will be coding with not just their brains, but also with their heart, he added. He also applauded IBM for this global initiative.

The event, significant in the backdrop of the floods that ravaged vast swathes of Kerala, is aimed at building solutions that will greatly improve the preparedness for natural disasters and relief operations.

Noting that state is still coping with the aftermath of the floods, Seema. P. Kumar, Country Leader, Developer Ecosystems and Startups, IBM, said the global technology major will support the initiatives to build innovative tools for natural disaster relief.

The recent floods in Kerala have been devastating. To help people in distress and safeguard against future incidents, IBM is bringing together the developer community around the world by giving them access to technologies, free code, and training with experts to help them build innovative tools for natural disaster relief, she said.

Leading technical experts from the IBM are supporting software developers design and build solutions that will help solve problems on the ground.

The event has been planned in line with the maiden Call for Code Global Challenge to encourage software developers who want to take their skills forward for the specific mission of easing human sufferings.

The global initiative has the support from experts, humanitarian and international organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross’ International team.

The inaugural Call for Code Global Prize Event and Concert is scheduled to be held on October 29 at the Regency Ballroom, San Francisco.

UN Human Rights Office, Red Cross, Linux Foundation and David Clark Cause are behind this initiative that unites software developers to solve pressing social issues. IBM is the founding member of the initiative.

It is the largest and the most ambitious effort to bring startups, academics and enterprise developers together to solve, prevent, respond and recover from natural disasters

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