Smart, Nokia present use of drones for PH Red Cross disaster response

In a country that experiences 20 typhoons in a year and sits in a major fault line, natural disaster is something that the Philippines, has, unfortunately, learned to live with. While these things cannot be prevented, preparations and disaster response can help mitigate its effects.

In an effort to save as many survivors as possible, Smart Communications (Smart) and Nokia partner to provide communications assistance to the Philippine National Red Cross (PRC) emergency response team using drones and other equipment.

Recently, representatives from Nokia showed the use of drones and Smart frequencies in a demonstration with PRC held in Subic.

The Nokia Saving Lives solution package includes drones, a portable rescue application center, a private mobile broadband network, and applications like video streaming, mapping, and analytics.

One of the challenges in search and rescue operations is locating survivors. In remote areas, people don’t have enough means to find people trapped or lost. The drone is equipped with cameras that can scan a broad range of search areas from a few hundred meters above the location. The situation is monitored by a team of experts in a response center not too far away from the disaster area.

This kind of ability to expand visibility is expected to save more lives than before. The images captured by the drone can provide information to prepare first aid and other responses ahead of the victims’ arrival in the hospitals or response center.

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“This collaboration with the PRC and Nokia underscores our commitment to using technology for good and enhance our capabilities, mechanisms, and partnerships toward a shared goal, that is strengthening disaster response, mitigating risks, and saving more lives,” said Mon Isberto, head of PLDT and Smart Public Affairs.

Smart’s LTE connectivity based on the portable Nokia Ultra Compact Network, the system that can create secure communications among drones, other equipment, and rescue team members. These solutions will allow PRC to analyze needs and gaps, enabling it to provide emergency assistance to communities in “timely, effective, and efficient ways.”

Nokia Saving Lives is an innovation and non-profit initiative, dedicated to supporting rescue personnel in catastrophe areas. An essential element is the creation of a local high-capacity network where it may have been destroyed or is otherwise non-existent.