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Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - I-REACT (Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-05-31

"In the last ten years, natural hazards have caused 2 billion causalities and costed up to $1.4 trillion worldwide, as registered in the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT, 2017). In Europe, disasters caused around 7 million causalities and up to €113 billion of overall economic losses in the decade 2007-2017. In this period, floods is the biggest hazard in terms of occurrence, affected people and economic damage in Europe, while the deadliest hazard remains extreme temperature, followed by flood and earthquake. Wildfires are less impacting; however, it ranks second in affected people.
I-REACT (Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies) integrates existing services, both local and European, into a platform that supports the entire emergency management cycle. In particular, it implemented a multi-hazard system with a focus on floods, fires, and extreme weather events, as they are the most impacting natural hazard affected by climate change. To reach this objective, it brings together a multidisciplinary team of 20 partners from researchers and technologists to industry leaders, UN officials, consultants or communicators.
I-REACT targets all three emergency management phases. The first one mainly deals with the ""preparation"" of a community to reduce the impact of future disasters. For this, I-REACT integrated historical data, real-time reports, weather data and satellites observations to derive detailed statistics and accurate risk maps. These maps, coupled with a decision support system, allow decision-makers to effectively plan prevention measures aimed at increasing the resilience to future disasters. The second is the ""preparedness"". During this phase, the coordination between governments, civil organizations and citizens have been promoted to be prepared in case of an emergency. To reach this objective, I-REACT analyzed weather forecasts, data from both local and European early warning systems, such as the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) and the European Forest Fire Information (EFFIS), and warnings extracted from social media or received through crowdsourced reports from authorities and citizens, as well as using the I-REACT mobile application. The third one is the ""emergency response"", in which an effective reaction, first aid, and evacuation are crucial.
To help responders, he I-REACT solutions allow getting a quick and complete operational picture thanks to the ingestion of real-time citizen reporting and its integration in nowcast and forecast models. To improve self-protection behavior and reduce exposure, I-REACT supports public authorities to immediately warn citizens with real-time information and instructions"
The design phase (WP2) was based on a user-centred design and included the requirements definition. Within this activity, an international workshop was organized at UNESCO Headquarters, brought together policy-makers, emergency service providers, scientist and technology experts from different European countries. The workshop aimed to define the project requirements, the data architecture, the privacy and security requirements and the gamification strategy to engage the communities.
This phase feeds the technical work-packages such as the WP3 “External Services and Data Integration” that implemented the integration of open data and existing services such as Copernicus EMS, EFAS, and EFFIS. Moreover, it realized an automatic data chain for the production of flood delineation maps from Sentinel-1, and algorithms to enhance the positioning by means of European assets (i.e. Galileo and EGNOS). At the same time, WP4 “Modelling and Engines” focused on the realization of all the core models of I-REACT including weather, extremes weather and climate forecasting, flood and fire nowcast and forecast, risk forecasts, and a social media data engine. Furthermore, WP5 “Service Oriented Architecture” realized the I-REACT centralized platform and the technologies for data collection, analysis, and visualization. The core elements are: a mobile application to enable real-time reporting from both citizens and in-field agents, a wearable device and a smart glasses application for in-fields agents, drones capable to gather images and videos, big-data analytics and a web front-end capable to monitor and explore in real-time data and analysis coming from all I-REACT elements.
The outcome of the communication and dissemination actions in I-REACT is virtually unprecedented in terms of impact and KPI compliance, given the challenge posed by a high diversity of stakeholders and a long list of potential applications of the I-REACT project.
The dissemination strategy has leveraged on the combined expertise of the consortium to access different areas of knowledge through publications, workshops and conference attendance, with very successful completion, of which the most noteworthy is the celebration of 4 workshops and the publication of 27 research papers.
The communication strategy has achieved incredible engagement and repercussion around the project. More than 17.000 website visits, more than 11,000 app downloads, more than 10,000 followers on social media, and more than 30 events attended are a good measure of the outstanding performance. During the implementation of the I-REACT project, a total of 7 demonstrations were held in 5 different locations
I-REACT implemented a European-wide platform that integrates emergency management data coming from multiple sources. In this way, it is able to produce information faster and allow citizens, civil protection services and policymakers to effectively react to natural disasters and mitigate their impact on the society.
How? Leveraging on innovative cyber technologies and ICT systems, the I-REACT platform delivered an articulated and modular system based on different components. It integrated several information sources, including Copernicus EMS maps, early warnings from the EFAS and EFFIS, satellite data (Sentinels), social media streams and crowdsourced information from emergency responders and citizens. All this information have been merged to provide added-value products, such as a decision-support system for authorities and an app for citizens and responders. Also, a wearable device for positioning and an augmented reality application for smart glasses haven tested with first-responders.
Thanks to this architecture, I-REACT can provide greater emergency anticipation through accurate weather forecasts that, coupled with historical knowledge, satellite and risk maps, crowdsourced reports, and social media information allow to better anticipate extreme weather events, floods, and fire. Its modularity and interoperability with existing systems, allows strong flexibility of the platform in terms of future exploitation, making it able to answer to different market needs.

Moreover, a commercialization plan was defined with specific actions to maximize the potential opportunities of I-REACT both in the EU and outside Europe. Leveraging from the key recommendation provided by the implementation roadmap, three phases are foreseen addressing the following months after the project’s end up and beyond 2019

Starting from the overall I-REACT services, together with the main addressable markets i.e. government entities and insurance companies, revenues will reach c. 9€m in 2024 and c. 16€m in 2029. In this year c. 422 customers could adopt I-REACT