Consumer tech can play an active role in helping these communities plan and respond. A few technologies that can help include:
Communications: Social connections and access to information are two critical pieces to planning and recovery. Many traditional forms of telecommunications like landline or cellular telephone systems are critical. Innovations in mesh networks or using drones to augment coverage in regions with outages can help people connect to alerts. Social media solutions like the Facebook Crisis Response allows users to report themselves safe to their networks.
Power: When the power grid goes down, there are automated operating functions in place to keep systems, and the devices connected to them, online. These include solar solutions like GoalZero and WakaWaka. Generators and battery systems also can help offset periods of time without power.
Transportation: Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber can help augment public transportation when residents are trying to leave a disaster area. Also, this could be an opportunity for self-driving vehicles to help provide fleets of cars that can operate for long periods of time without suffering the exhaustion of human drivers.
Health Tech: One of the biggest impacts for seniors amid a disaster is losing access to medication or other medical services. Technology can provide medication reminders, health tracking, and alerts to inform individuals and their caregivers about issues before they reach a critical state.
Many of these products and services that aid in the planning and response to a disaster will be at CES 2019. However, there are still lots of opportunities for the technology community to provide innovations to serve these groups. Recently Call for Code, a program supported by IBM and other companies, issued a challenge to developers to create new solutions for disaster response.
The CTA Foundation is excited to see the continued emergence of these types of technologies. Join us as we help support the use of technology in improving the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. Learn more at CTAFoundation.tech.
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