BlackBerry partners with the University of Windsor to monitor flooding

BlackBerry released a new flood risk and clean water monitoring solution on Aug 3 to provide autonomous early warnings before an impending flood strikes.

Based on BlackBerry’s AtHoc critical event management platform, the new solution was developed in partnership with the University of Windsor and aims to provide an affordable way of monitoring seasonal and nonseasonal water-related risks. The company says that its new monitoring system could save municipalities up to $1 million per year in operating expenses and disaster readiness.

BlackBerry hopes to deploy its new solutions in Canada in areas where natural disasters affect Indigenous people the most.

“Autonomous early-warnings and real-time monitoring are critical to provide enough time to address the risks communities around the world are currently facing,” said said Mike McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, in the press release. “We are proud to have partnered with BlackBerry on this important and unique technology.”

According to the Insurance bureau of Canada, flooding caused one of the most damaging events in 2020. Between April 26 to May 3, a Fort McMurray flood caused $562 million in damages. Additionally, Canada saw an increase in rainstorms, hailstorms and snowstorms, all of which have caused significant damages to civil infrastructures.

Top insured damage severe weather events in 2020
Severe weather caused $2.4 billion in insured damage in 2020. Source: IBC

The pressing need to improve natural disaster mitigation and response will only deepen in the upcoming years. According to BlackBerry, 1.5 billion people worldwide face flood risks. The issues are expected to increase in intensity as climate change worsens.

“Globally, societies must increasingly rely on the autonomous monitoring of air and water to inform our understanding of the environment and to alert us to impending danger,” said McKay.

BlackBerry was not immediately available for comment.

Update Aug 6, 2021 5:16 p.m.: Neelam Sandhu, senior vice president of BlackBerry confirmed in an email that the company has seen “early interest from some parties” in this solution.

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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