Answering the call to promote healthy, resilient communities

September 2, 2019 devadvin

For more than a century, IBM has been committed to finding new and innovative ways to apply our talent and utilize our technology to develop solutions for some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Today that means using digital tools responsibly to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, combat human trafficking, address environmental challenges, enable social impact at scale, and develop tomorrow’s workforce through education and skills. And because those challenges are experienced uniquely by different communities, it means we’re responsible for crafting solutions that can be applied to specific issues at the local level, with the potential to scale more broadly if they prove effective.

That’s why last year IBM joined the Creator of the Call for Code Global Challenge, David Clark Cause, as the Founding Partner to launch the $30 million, multi-year program. Under the umbrella of IBM’s Code and Response initiative, Call for Code is dedicated to uniting developers around the world to create applications powered by open source technology to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. Top solutions are further developed and then deployed via Code and Response, which is enhanced by the collaboration of some of the world’s leading disaster, technology, and human rights organizations including: United Nations Human Rights, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative University, The Linux Foundation, AT&T, FirstNet Authority, Consumer Technology Association Foundation, and Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.

The inaugural Call for Code Global Prize went to a group of developers who created Project Owl, a hardware/software communications system that gives first responders a simple interface for managing all aspects of a disaster. Devices cluster together to provide a Wi-Fi network hotspot that allows civilians and first responders to contact one another and coordinate help, even when other forms of communication fail.

Given the magnitude of the issue, the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge once again focused on mitigating the effects of natural disasters.

We have been overwhelmed by the response. This year, more than 180,000 developers, data scientists, activists, students, and industry colleagues from 165 nations answered the call. These teams used data and open source technology – including cloud, artificial intelligence, and blockchain – to create more than 5,000 solutions to help tackle natural disasters, optimize response efforts, and help promote healthy, resilient communities around the world.

From fighting wildfires to providing ubiquitous access to medical services for all, the breadth and depth of issues that this year’s participants identified and rallied to address is truly inspiring. The global winner will be announced on October 12, 2019 and will receive hands-on support from IBM, The Linux Foundation, and other partners interested in turning their idea into a real-world deployment for communities in need.

The Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge touches countless lives in all corners of the world. So we are honored that some of the most eminent leaders in human rights, disaster response, business, and technology are serving as judges to decide the winners:

  • Distinguished Judge: Bill Clinton, Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States
  • Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack
  • Steve Ewell, Executive Director, Consumer Technology Association Foundation
  • Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
  • Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO of Build Change
  • Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Claudia Nemat, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management, Technology and Innovation
  • Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA
  • Tom Peck, Executive VP and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Ingram Micro Inc.
  • Trevor Riggen, Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services, American Red Cross
  • Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation

After much deliberation, out of thousands of compelling ideas and applications, our judges have identified the top solutions from Japan, Greater China, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

The solutions are truly inspiring, and you can see them all here: https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/projects

I want to extend my deep appreciation to everyone who answered, supported, and championed the Call for Code. And I look forward to sharing additional news on this year’s winner on October 12. Stay tuned!

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