Lte | 2018-11-28

Red Cross to Employ Nokia Drone Networks Solution to Aid Disaster Response

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Rescuers benefit from broadband networks, connected drones, automation and analytics, as well as solution-trained volunteers.

Nokia and mobile operator Smart Communications are collaborating with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to bring innovative technology like LTE-connected drones and a portable network into areas struck by disaster. The collaboration was unveiled at an event on November 23 in the PRC logistics and training center in Subic Bay, Philippines, that also served as the inauguration of the non-profit Nokia Saving Lives (NSL) solution, which PRC will now incorporate into their toolkit for demanding search and rescue activities.

The event showcased how the NSL solution integrates into Red Cross teams, and how a high-capacity mobile broadband network combined with drones and on-site computing power effectively supports Red Cross emergency operations. Aerial insights and data analytics improve situational awareness and help the incident commander prioritize resources for people in distress. The demonstration also highlighted how NSL provides a critical communication channel in remote areas where there is no network coverage, or when disaster destroys existing network infrastructure. The collaboration with PRC and Smart is the first deployment of the Nokia Saving Lives concept.

The NSL solution is comprised of a portable LTE network, which connects to drones equipped with cameras, sensors or speakers; a high-performance server; and analytics applications. A team of 25 Nokia employees have been trained to become technical experts to serve as volunteers in the Red Cross organization. In addition to the technical training, these volunteers have thus far contributed 1,000 man-hours to the Red Cross disaster preparedness education in support of Nokia's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development goals.

Ramon R. Isberto, group head/FVP, Public Affairs, Smart Communications, said: "We are proud to be part of this program that provides support to response teams in times of disaster. As we continue to improve our network to ensure the availability of our services, we also work with partners to develop and support technologies that can ultimately result in better lives for all."

Richard J. Gordon, chairman & CEO, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), said: "With the help of Nokia Saving Lives, the volunteers and the collaboration with Smart we are better equipped to provide emergency assistance to the people of the Philippines in a timely and efficient way."

Christina Cabrera, head of Nokia Technology Center Philippines, said: "With this event we highlight how dedicated industry collaboration can truly leverage technology for humanitarian benefit. In addition to our financial and technological contribution, I'm also particularly proud of our engineers' expertise and engagement. Likewise, we are grateful to the GSMA Disaster Response Innovation Fund, which has provided partial funding for the Nokia Saving Lives project and helped make this event possible."