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How do I improve flood resilience through digitalization?

One of the areas of concern for government is public safety. Within this area falls disaster preparedness, response and recovery. With the unusual weather the past few years, flooding has become a serious problem. This is especially true in areas where weather has become more unpredictable. Fortunately, digital transformation is making a big difference in government technology. Digitization makes it easier to mobilize pre-planned disaster response through a multi-jurisdictional approach. Additionally, analytics can help government spot risk areas and identify trends in response and recovery. Digital technology has made it easier to keep citizens informed and respond to a wide range of incidents. Here’s a scenario of how using digital technology makes it easier to build flood resilience into your systems. So how does digitalization improve flood resilience? Through a variety of channels. Field workers armed with mobile devices can enter information about the situation in the area of operation.  Sensors fitted onto assets can send signals and alerts about water flow and flood levels.  Let’s take a look at a community scenario utilizing cloud computing, mobile, analytics and the Internet of Things (IOT).   This specific community may have periods of rainfall and occasional flooding over its history.  It has seen an increasing flooding risk as urban sprawl has left more areas paved.   The city has encouraged permeable paving solutions. Unfortunately, the shear amount of existing paving is making this a slow fix to the problem. This year’s spring rains have been higher than usual, which is attributed to climate change and ocean current effects such as El Niño. The city has an effective emergency operations plan in place. The plan has been well tested using flood simulation software.  It includes decentralization of operations using cloud computing and mobile technology. There are sensors in place to alert city officials to rising water levels and rate of water flow at known problem areas.  The city is prepared for most workable disasters.  As rains continue,  an intelligent operations center manager receives an alert. Based on current rainfall and flood history, the alert states that the chance of flooding has increased dramatically. Rule-based predictive tools advise initiation of the flood action plan. As soon as the plan is initiated, citizens, businesses and government officials are notified of the risk. They’re also told what actions they can take. This can be done through mobile alerts and recorded calls and through personnel in the field.  Constituents are informed about were shelters are being set up and who to contact to report problems or for specific issues. Past flood history and flood patterns are combined with rain flow sensors providing real-time data. Prepared resources are deployed to where they’re needed.  The response follows the flood plan, adding situational awareness and monitoring of needs and tasks. As more intelligence is gathered, more resources are mobilized. When drain sensors pick up a significant flow increase, it’s paired with a tree-down report at a low-lying street. Teams are guided through individual tasks. Data is gathered from the teams’ wearable devices to gain insights.  This helps responders gain a better picture of localized needs and impacts. The different devices, sensors and data points help create a comprehensive picture of the flood and response.  Since the government digitized their processes and procedures across organizational and technical boundaries the flood is managed with minimal impact and personalized citizen services are provided.  Following the flood, the government evaluates what worked. They’ll also look at what needs work so future flooding can be averted. So how do you build a better disaster plan? You need to anticipate by predicting risk and vulnerabilities to extreme events such as disasters. You’ll need to remain adaptable to reduce risks and provide more resilient obtainable solutions aligned with policy.  Whether you’re facing flooding, public unrest or a terrorist attack, having the right resources in place makes all the difference. Are you still working in e-government and need to step up to digitalization? Read about more about SAP’s perspective on Digital Government

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  • Hi Martin,

    Thanks for sharing the insights.

    Would love to see some real time examples on how govt.'s gained the control of their systems, mainly with SAP modules and what are the key modules being used in such cases.



    • Hi Dev,

      A great customer example is how City of Buenos Aires used this model for flood


      The solution itself depends on the customer landscape.  In the case of Buenos Aires the customer uses SAP HANA to analyze real-time sensor data from drain sensors and the SAP Mobile Platform to ensure streets and drains are clear before and during incidents.  They integrate with their own applications and partner components for their overall platform approach.  Keeping in mind that many cities want a flexible platform that grows with the city.  Buenos Aires built their platform to incorporate additional services of which another is a remote management system for street light services.

      A complete SAP solution with SAP Digital Innovation and Transformation for Public Services using SAP HANA, SAP BuinessObjects, and SAP Mobile Platforms solutions for similar platform uses cases would be the SAP Digital Storm City conceptual design.

      Thanks, James

      • James, thanks for the elaborative information.

        When you say SAP HANA, which module in SAP hana are u referring to?

        Would it be possible to have a look at the features visible on these videos, from the trial version of SAP S4HANA, so as to get an idea on how it would help our client.



        • Dev,

          In most these examples we are using SAP HANA as the In-memory db.  So native In-memory Computing, calculation and planning engine, data management service, HANA graph engine, data modeling, replication server, and data integration services.  We are also using the Fiori UI, or SAP UI5.  For applications we are using SAP BO.

          These solutions for most part predate S4HANA, so we have not integrated S4HANA yet.  If using the SAP Business suite/ERP, we would integrate through data management services.  We will start integration to S4HANA based on the customer use case.

          More than happy to have a call with you to better understand how we can help you with your customers.

          Thanks, James