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IBM Names Their Finalists and Winner of the "Call for Code"

By Chrissie Cluney

IBM has named the finalists and crowned the ultimate winner of its Call for Code Global Initiative. This is the largest and most ambitious effort to bring startup, academic and enterprise developers together to solve one of the most pressing societal issues of our time: preventing, responding to and recovering from natural disasters. 

A panel of judges including former President Bill Clinton assisted in judging this contest. 

“From mudslides and fires in California to earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia, hurricanes in the Southeast U.S. and continued recovery in the Caribbean, and volcano eruptions in Hawaii, our planet has been devastated by natural disasters in 2018,” said Clinton. “As more and more people around the world are affected by these catastrophes, the need for new approaches toward disaster prevention and response is greater than ever. Today, technology can play a major role in reducing the impact of these incidents. Call for Code has brought together software developers from all over the globe to create innovative natural disaster preparedness and relief solutions. I’m honored to be participating as a judge, and look forward to seeing the development of some of these cutting-edge technologies.”

The five finalists were: Post-Disaster Rapid Response Retrofit (PD3R) located in Kathmandu, Nepal and Bogotá, Colombia, Project Owl from Greenville, NC and New York, NY, Project Lantern – IRIS Dashboard from Mexico City, Mexico, Montreal, Canada and London, England, Green Coder – United Aid Net (UAN) located in Beijing, China, and Lali Wildfire Detection from Fremont, California.

The five-person, U.S.-based team was awarded the Call for Code Global Prize at a gala event at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom.

Project OWL was named the winner. It is an IoT and software solution that keeps first responders and victims connected in a natural disaster.

Project OWL (Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics) is a two-part hardware/software solution that provides an offline communication infrastructure to give first responders a simple interface for managing all aspects of a disaster.

The team was awarded the grand prize of $200,000 and the opportunity to deploy its solution through the IBM Corporate Service Corps.

“We don’t view this as the finish line for our work but a checkpoint in a journey,” said Bryan Knouse, team lead, Project OWL. “I can’t wait to get home so we can get back to work on the technology and the solutions for those who need it most.”


Chrissie Cluney has been a correspondent for IoT Evolution World since 2015. She holds a degree in English with a concentration in writing from the College of Saint Elizabeth.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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