Letter from Call for Code CTO: Answer the call in 2019

March 24, 2019 devadvin

To my fellow developers,

Last year, more than 100,000 software developers, data scientists, and technologists from 156 nations stepped up to answer the Call for Code. These developers selflessly gave their time and talent to build solutions that can help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. We began this global challenge with a hypothesis that developers have the power to change the world and save lives. We had no idea the degree to which they would commit.

Building on last year’s success, I’m thrilled to announce Call for Code 2019 and officially open the competition for submissions. We can’t wait to see the powerful, scalable, sustainable, and life-saving open source technologies you create using the power of cloud, AI, blockchain, and IoT.

A Look back (and forward)

In October, IBM, along with David Clark Cause, the American Red Cross, and the United Nations Human Rights office awarded the inaugural Call for Code Global Prize to Project Owl. This solution keeps victims connected to first responders through an IoT-based mesh network and simple user interface.

In addition to winning the US$200,000 grand prize, Project Owl received an introduction to a venture capital firm and potential investors, open source support from the Linux Foundation, and the chance to deploy their solution with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps as part of our new initiative, Code and Response.

As I type this, Project Owl is hard at work improving their technology and testing their solution in the field.

New for 2019: An added emphasis on healthcare

This year, we’ve decided to add an emphasis on healthcare needs in the lead up to and aftermath of natural disasters. It’s our goal to inspire developers to build solutions that keep people and communities healthy in times of greatest need.

Specifically, we’re calling on developers to create solutions that address the following aspects of healthcare:

  • Food and water safety
  • Medical supply distribution
  • Tracking and halting disease epidemics
  • Access to medical health records
  • Mental health
  • Serving vulnerable populations

We based our healthcare emphasis on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). You can learn about the specifics of this framework – and how it applies to building potentially life-saving application – in our blog post, “How the Sendai Framework aims to reduce the risk of natural disasters.”

Projects that don’t focus on healthcare will still be considered for the top prizes, but we want to provide guidance to developers on some of the most pressing needs in natural disasters.

Resources to get started

We’ve curated a ton of content to help developers gain context around affected community, first responder, and local authority needs in the wake of specific disasters as well as technical resources to provide you with the necessary tools to start building. This content will continue to be expanded throughout the competition.

Technical: IBM is making its technology available to participants. For inspiration to kickstart your solution, check out our library of IBM Code Patterns – open source roadmaps for solving complex programming challenges – in six technology areas: AI, blockchain, data science, IoT, machine learning, and traffic & weather.

Disaster: Each natural disaster brings its own set of challenges. To help you better understand these events and see where your technology can have the biggest impact, we’ve compiled expert interviews, research, data, and more for each major disaster type, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, hurricanes and typhoons, flood and storm surges, volcanoes, extreme weather, and wildfires.

Healthcare: We’ve added a section on healthcare to provide more details on the six areas I listed above. Understanding the healthcare needs of populations in advance can improve their overall resistance.

An invitation to build

Developers have revolutionized the way people live and interact with virtually everyone and everything. Where most people see challenges, developers see possibilities. Do you have big ideas that can create big change? Join us, accept the 2019 Call for Code Challenge, and start building. Once you join the Challenge community, you’ll learn how to use IBM technology and enter your solution into the 2019 Call for Code competition.

Once you’ve joined the Challenge community, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of our developer advocates via our Slack channel.

Happy building!
Daniel Krook, CTO for Call for Code

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