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Source: Media Outreach

Providing launchpad for technologies that help protect and save lives
SINGAPORE and HONG KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – 27 June 2019 –  Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia, and AVPN, a Singapore-based funders’ network committed to building a high-impact social investment community across Asia Pacific, have announced the winners of their inaugural Disaster Tech Innovation Competition . The competition is at the core of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme, which seeks to reinforce the importance of innovative technologies in protecting and saving lives before, during and after natural disasters (or “Disaster Tech”).

Following a worldwide call for applicants earlier this year, the competition culminated in a Live Pitch Event in Singapore where five finalists [1] from across the world, comprising both for-profit and non-profit social purpose organisations (SPOs), went head to head in front of a panel of expert judges [2] . With operations covering markets such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Taiwan, the finalists demonstrated how they would leverage technology solutions for disaster prevention and recovery efforts in the region.

FieldSight took home the First Prize with its mobile platform which supports disaster reconstruction activities, securing a grant of US$100,000 to support the implementation and scaling up of its Disaster Tech solution.

“The frequency and scale of disasters around the world are unfortunately growing, but Disaster Tech solutions are in a unique position to help communities better respond to and recover from these destructive events,” said Mr Justin Henceroth, Director, FieldSight. “We first launched our platform in Nepal following the devastating earthquakes of 2015 but have since implemented it at 60,000 sites in 16 markets to monitor and supervise the quality assurance processes of humanitarian and post-disaster infrastructure activities. The Disaster Tech Innovation Competition has further connected us to a wider network of contacts, technical expertise and financial support that we did not previously have, which will be critical to FieldSight’s efforts to minimise the impact of natural disasters in Asia-Pacific and globally.”

The Winners

FieldSight: Competition Winner — US$100,000
SeismicAI: First Runner-up — US$30,000; in recognition of its Artificial-Intelligence-powered early warning system that detects seismic activity within two seconds
PetaBencana.id: Second Runner-up — US$20,000; in recognition of its free web-based platform that produces megacity-scale visualisations of disasters using both crowd-sourced reporting and real-time statistics

The Other Finalists:

OpenAerialMap; in recognition of its drone imagery platform for rapid sharing during disasters
People in Need; in recognition of its early warning system for floods using Internet of Things-based sensors

The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the most at risk from natural disasters. Over one billion people in developing countries across Asia are viewed to be at risk from multiple hazards[3], including tropical cyclones, floods, earthquakes and more. It is also estimated that 200 million children each year will have their lives severely disrupted by natural disasters in coming decades.[4]

“Technology advancement is not only increasing the connection among communities, it is also serving a higher purpose of protecting and saving lives. We are confident the ground-breaking technologies from our finalists will make a difference in helping communities in Asia be better prepared and recover faster from the devastation of natural disasters. We are grateful to all our partners who supported the competition and look forward to working with more organisations to make our communities safer, more secure and more resilient,” said Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman of Prudence Foundation.

In addition, as part of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme to support Disaster Tech SPOs, the finalists were invited to showcase their solutions and seek further partnerships at the annual AVPN Conference from 26 to 28 June 2019 in Singapore, the largest gathering of social impact funders and resource providers in Asia.

“AVPN is pleased to partner with Prudence Foundation to bring together collaborators to develop and realise innovative solutions to limit the adverse impact of natural disasters,” said Mr Kevin Teo, Chief Operating Officer of AVPN. “At AVPN, our mission is to move more capital towards impact, so initiatives like these are ideal because they both directly mobilise funding for high impact organisations as well as expose these organisations to the broader AVPN community to inspire even more action.”

Building on the ongoing efforts of Prudence Foundation to promote disaster preparedness and recovery across Asia since 2013, the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme aims to encourage more organisations to contribute in this area. Similar to other Prudence Foundation initiatives focused on disaster risk reduction, SAFE STEPS and Safe Schools, the programme supports UN Sustainable Development Goals; specifically Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 13 (Climate Action).

As technology continues to evolve and offer more ground-breaking solutions that can help prevent and enable communities to recover from the impact of natural disasters, Prudence Foundation plans to continue building the awareness and supporting Disaster Tech organisations with a view to discovering and maximising the collective impact of technologies available. To find out more about the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme, visit https://avpn.asia/disaster-tech/ .

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Disaster Tech Innovation Competition was judged by an esteemed panel of professionals from both the profit and non-profit sectors, who donated their time and expertise to the programme.

The final panel was composed of the following experts:

Andrea Hajdu-Howe, Partner, Head of Global Capital: Antler
Birger Stamperdahl, Chief Executive Officer: Give2Asia
Kevin Gibson, Chief Investment Officer, Equities: Eastspring Investments
Marija Ralic, Head of APAC: Google.org
Sylvia Cadena, Head of Tech Programmes: APNIC Foundation
Xavier Castellanos, Regional Director, Asia Pacific: International Federation of Red Cross

For the full list of competition judges and partners, visit https://avpn.asia/disaster-tech/ .

High-resolution images are available for download here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tlzv2vg0w3iq2p9/AABpOg8QGcw5QN9L9rIrWgaoa?dl=0

(From left to right) Naina Batra – CEO of AVPN, Donald Kanak — Chairman of Prudence Foundation, Jan Gelfand of IFRC, Jared Tham of Give2Asia, Justin Henceroth of FieldSight, Amir Diner of SeismicAI, Adhitya Yusuf of PetaBencana.id, Nate Smith of OpenAerialMap, and Sylvia Cadena of APNIC Foundation.

FieldSight is a tech platform with a mobile app for monitoring that works offline and in the most remote locations paired with a web app for viewing, analysing, and reviewing data. 

An engineer uses FieldSight to monitor the construction of a school in Sarlahi, Nepal. 
Credit: John Wray.

APPENDIX

Winners and Finalists of the Disaster Tech Innovation Competition (by alphabetical order)

About FieldSight
Following the devasting Nepal Earthquake of 2015, FieldSight was founded as a Humanitarian digital platform for remote project supervision and monitoring, as well as infrastructure quality assurance. Developed in partnership with UNOPS, FieldSight is built to work on mobile devices and in remote and difficult-to-access locations, creating actionable data and interfaces that help partners deliver higher-quality, lower-risk recovery projects.

About OpenAerialMap
Founded by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in Washington, D.C., OpenAerialMap (OAM) is a set of tools for searching, sharing, and using, openly licensed satellite and drone imagery. The open source platform provides search and access to this imagery, which ultimately helps decrease loss time in time-sensitive decision making by providing disaster managers and responders with up-to-date, high-quality imagery data.

About People in Need
Headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, People in Need (PIN) co-developed and piloted the use of automated water gauges in Cambodia following the 2013 floods, which have substantially improved the responsiveness of Cambodia’s Early Warning System. The solar-powered water gauges continuously record water levels and transmit data for immediate evaluation. Where it is deemed that threshold levels have been reached, a pre-recorded audio message is sent to registered users in affected areas using Interactive voice response technology.

About PetaBencana.id
First founded in Indonesia in 2013, PetaBencana.id  is a free web-based platform that produces megacity-scale visualisations of disasters using both crowd-sourced reporting and government agency validations in real time. The platform harnesses the heightened use of social media and instant messaging during emergency events to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data processing.

About SeismicAI
Currently under development, the Israel-based company SeismicAI looks to provide its customers with a commercial-grade Earthquake Early Warning system that can detect seismic activity within two seconds, reducing the amount of time to send out warning messages. The company’s goal is to replace outdated seismic models with unique physics and machine learning systems with their more cost-efficient model.

[1] Refer to the Appendix for details of the finalists.

[2] Refer to the Notes to Editors section for details of the judges.

[3] Global Risk Hotspots Analysis 2015, UN ESCAP.

[4] Disaster Impacts on Education in the Asia Pacific Region in 2015, Save the Children.

– Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.