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Author's profile photo Klaus Wigand

The Future of Emergency Management – very much like in the movie ‘Minority Report’

Do you remember the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise? Where he is a cop who responds to a homicide before is actually happens?


Well, be aware, something very similar is about to become true in emergency management.

Currently many emergency services pretty much act like in the 1940s.

Once they get a  911 call or a fire alarm they get started.

But some innovative emergency services are about to change this.

Their vision is that in the future their resources will no longer wait in the next station for something to happen. Their vision is that in the future resources will get deployed based on real time information and best even before hazards happen to prevent them altogether.

But to immediately or proactively deploy resources you need a pretty good understanding on where your expected risks are. And here is where SAP with SAP HANA comes into play. 

But let’s first take a step back and look at the options:

In principle there are three levels to accomplish the vision of these forward thinking emergency services.

  1. A real time heat map of risks, based on data feeds from historic incident data, sensor data, AVL data, social media, data from the bureau of meteorology, social-economic indexes (cheaper homes or appliances and even McDonalds correlated with the number of incidents) and so on.  A map where the risks will constantly change for example if a weather front moves through the state. For example, if there is a history of kids to lighten a fire at the end of the school holidays and there is chatter on social media indicating that something in this direction is about to happen, well our fire service will be forewarned to be forearmed.  
  2. The system is predicting and learning in real time. Based on the outcome of the last predictions the accuracy of  future predications is constantly improved with the ultimate goal of better pro-active deployment of units.
  3. The system is recommending where to deploy resources. Emergency Mgmt is sometimes associated with decisions about death or live. If you send a helicopter to  spot A instead of spot B, people might actually die at spot B.  A system that actively supports mgmt in these critical decisions will be a very valuable contributor to modern emergency mgmt.

Key is also that an IT solution needs to be generic enough to be relevant not only for a single hazard type such as fire, but for other hazards such as storms or floods. And that is open for multiple players in emergency management not only for a single agency. For example, a council can as well check on how a fire risk will be reduced through a  new street and launch multiple simulations. Or residents will get an app where they can check their own property risk to make better informed decision in the case of  large emergencies such as bush fires or flooding.

Is it really still a vision of the future? Not exactly, Future has already started.

Look for examples at Argentina, where the City of Buenos Aires has implemented SAP HANA to prevent flooding. They collect and analyze data from multiple sensors, citizen complaints, weather bureau,  garbage collectors and so on and SAP’s in-memory technology SAP HANA identifies immediate areas in need of support.  In 2014 it rained more than ever in the history of Buenos Aires, but the city stayed flood free. To be precise, those areas stayed flood free that used the new technology.

But watch  yourself: Buenos Aires Stays Dry on YouTube.

Screen shot from YouTube.PNG

We will likely hear more of these stories soon.

Klaus Wigand

Global Solution Manager for SAP Public Security
Industry Business Solutions

Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, Walldorf 69190


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