Innovation for public safety: handling communication challenges in an emergency

In the era of smart cities, we need new solutions for dealing with communication and real-time data collection during major crises.

For the fourth edition of InnoBahn Ubisoft, Acclr – Business Services teamed up with the Ville de Montréal to explore solutions to improve the ability of major cities to respond to serious crises. The event was held at the same time as the XII Metropolis World Congress, chaired by Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre, an association that brings together international cities. InnoBahn Ubisoft was an opportunity to reflect further on challenges that affect the world’s major cities. The theme of the Metropolis World Congress was “Global Challenges: Major Cities in Action.”

The Ville de Montréal identified four needs in its search for solutions:

  1. How do we capture signals and relevant information?
  2. How do we aggregate, interpret and share data to make the best decisions?
  3. How can we better communicate with citizens?
  4. How can we mobilize citizens to empower them and have them take responsibility?

The proposal from the winning start-up, Wemap, also chosen as audience favourite:

Smart-card technology that allows for better local information from the general public. Using a range of content, Wemap makes it possible to create maps for the general public in mere moments and to deploy them via all available channels, such as websites, mobile apps and public screens. The map is automatically fed by location-based information. It is connected to social media and uses a hashtag introduced by civil authorities to facilitate data collection and the circulation of information.

The finalists’ proposals:

Protect Yu: Protect YU is a free mobile app for reacting more effectively in the event of an emergency. When an incident occurs, users simply press a key to send alerts to friends, contacts or law enforcement agencies when help is required.

Patterns: The start-up uses the latest natural language processing (NLP) artificial intelligence technology to effectively organize unstructured information. The technology captures and maps information from social networks.

reelyActive: The company’s technology platform uses Bluetooth technology to enable municipalities to collect anonymous data about citizens and visitors circulating in the city. They also have the option of identifying themselves and being located to receive personalized services on their devices. Collecting this information about people’s movements gives the city a better understanding of the habits of its citizens and emergency situations in real time.

What is Metropolis?

Metropolis is the international association of major cities around the world. Denis Coderre has been its chair since December 2015.

The association, created in 1985, has almost 140 members, and its mission is to be an international forum for major cities to discuss shared problems.

Members gather at congresses every three years to pool their experience and mobilize around a wide range of issues that are both local and global in scope.

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