IBM calls on global techies to better prepare for natural disasters

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has announced a new global initiative at Viva Technology in Paris, to apply technology to help solve some of society’s largest problems.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

The first annual Call for Code Global Challenge calls on the 22 million developers in the world to join IBM, the United Nations and the Red Cross in building sustainable technology solutions that enable disaster preparedness and protect the health and well-being of victims.

Over the past two decades, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters have directly affected 2.5 billion victims around the world. Mitigating disasters and protecting the health and well-being of individuals and communities has increasingly become a daunting task for even the most advanced and prepared communities, cities and countries.

IBM is now committing $30 million over five years globally to the initiative, with the goal of bringing together NGOs, academic institutions, large businesses and startup developers to innovate and find new approaches to overcome life-changing, natural disasters using IBM cloud, AI, blockchain, IoT and other technologies.

Developers, designers and entrepreneurs over the age of 18 can enter in the Call for Code challenge, and the winning team will receive a financial award as well as access to longer-term support through IBM’s partnership with the Linux Foundation. In addition, the winners will have the opportunity to present their solution to leading venture capitalists to help secure funding to take their innovation to market.

To raise awareness and interest in the Call for Code challenge, IBM is coordinating interactive educational events, hackathons and community support for developers and startups around the world in more than 50 cities, including Dubai.

Tamer Elsawy, Cloud Business Unit Executive, IBM Middle East and Pakistan

IBM has placed particular focus on startups in the Middle East in recent years to ensure they continue to innovate and stay relevant in the technology revolution.

“Startups are directed by a leader who fervently believes in the mission and knows how to inspire people – but it’s also driven by the team that supports and innovates on a daily basis,” says Tamer Elsawy, Cloud Business Unit Executive, IBM Middle East and Pakistan. “In IBM, we have done this over and over again. Given the shifts in the technology revolution such as increased digital density, the amount of connected data, and the interactions that may be created through AI – we need to stay relevant and enable new kinds of business logic that threaten the status quo.”

Understanding how cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things or blockchain technology affects business today has led to a more acute need to understand how to work and collaborate with the startups pioneering solutions based on these technologies.

“At IBM, we provide access to all these technologies to over 50 startups in the UAE and over 280 in the Middle East and Africa, with mentoring and business support to scale their solutions and provide them to organisations that are ready to take embark on their transformation journeys,” adds Elsawy.

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