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Technology is an enabler and a force multiplier. It can bring a lot of things together and make new sense of it. It can dive deep into small bits of information and highlight that for someone looking specifically for it. Technology solutions help demystify the complexities behind large volumes of data and simplify it for the user to find what they are looking for. It can delight people & businesses by providing them with an experience like never before and deliver on the promise of #RUNSIMPLE

Great news when times are good. But what about times of crisis. Aren’t these the times that people, business and the community need to come together and help demystify all the complexities that it brings with it. Like the #NepalEarthquake, and the aftermath unfolding right now in front of us on our television sets, computers and devices. Latest reports put the death toll at over 1800, and still counting. This number will multiply in the days to come since many areas affected by the quake have been unapproachable and no confirmed statistics available on the impact of the disaster on people’s lives there. The human catastrophe that has followed is mind boggling, as in any disaster of such magnitude. The impact on survivors, many of them stranded include tourists, adventure seekers, mountaineers looking to ascend the world tallest peak, and more importantly Nepal’s own citizens who make up most of it, some of them injured; quite a few left homeless; others even with their homes intact still living outside in open areas, for fears of the after shocks and not knowing what’s round the corner; children, pregnant women, old and differently abled people; all impacted in equal and different ways by this disaster – Can technology play a role here to alleviate their suffering and provide them a better experience?

With an earthquake that measured 7.9 on the ritcher scale, this is just the beginning of things to come. Rescuing people trapped in rubble and debris is a huge challenge. The next 48 hours are extremely critical to ensure they have a chance at survival. Weather pattern will also determine how quickly and effectively relief operations can be deployed and function. The after shocks which have been more than 30 till now (quite many of them measuring more than 4.5) have instilled a deep rooted fear and resulting confusion that people are in a sense of panic. Apparently Geo-Physicists have long been monitoring this region and had predicted something of this nature. Despite all that, little done to prevent this eventuality. How can technology ensure that this can be prevented or atleast its impact minimised in the future?

Communication is a key element in such times. Usually telephonelines lines go down in such instances, and a lot of associated aspects and services too get crippled. However thanks to mobile technologies, social media and all the debate around #netneutrality, there still exists channels that help people communicate and update statuses. This again is available to only to a privileged few with smart phones. But with so many smart devices and most of us owning mobile phones (smart or not smart), with all the buzz around #IoT as a technology platform connecting people and devices, how can these day to day equipments with some amount of computing power in it be turned into a communication device and play a more effective and meaningful role. How can survivors trapped in this situation let their loved ones know that they are safe, and thereby prevent a different set of chaos and confusion and ensure that relief operations are focused in the deserving areas. Can technology enable that?

Thanks to the role of media – news outlets, social media et al – the entire world is waking up to this disaster and very soon there will be a deluge of aid pouring in. Nepal closest neighbour #India has already rushed in with aid and relief. The problem with aid, which is an absolute necessity right now, is that most times it is un-cordinated. Aid needs to be matched with people and provide them with want they desperately need, and in the right order. While food, water, medicines, shelter, clothing and protection are the basic necessities; when not co-ordinated properly, as we have seen in many disaster situations prior – the right aid doesn’t reach the people needing those particular aspects. There is an aftermath to the disaster, when people need to return back to their homes and begin to put their lives together. That is again a time for aligning aid with necessity. So many times we have witnessed disaster victims being presented with relief which has no value. Raw rations when they have no means to cooking fuel and a stove. Medicines which they have no use for. Clothing when they do not have any access to clean water! How can technology help eliminate these challenges?

We live in a #NetworkedEconomy. It is so easy to connect, collaborate & co-innovate – amongst people, and enterprises. How can aspects like the #Ariba #BusinessNetwork engage with its 1.8 Million participants and help them engage and play a meaningful role is such a crisis?

The problem with natural disasters is that you can never prepare fully well to cover all eventualities. The amount of complexity involved is mammoth and many times unimaginable. How can technology be a leveler, cut through all the complexities and help deliver on the #RUNSIMPLE promise? So that aid workers can provide their services in a timely manner, relief agencies can co-ordinate their efforts best, Governments can monitor their progress and ensure everyone is attended to, people who have lost their kith and kin can bury their loved ones and mourn in a dignified manner, importantly survivors can hope to start a new life all over again.

This is a time for innovative minds & organisations to come together. Connect, Collaborate & Coinnovate.  And help the world Run-Better. This is definitely the time to #helpnepal

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