American Red Cross: A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs

American Red Cross has been transitioning its focus from dialogue about emerging technology to experiments that harness their potential to strengthen urban resilience. Its capstone report from the initiative’s first phase is available online – A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs. The 36-page report and executive summary review the global dialogue series organized by the American Red Cross and IFRC, defines its Eight Criteria for Resilience-Strengthening Solutions, announces its plans to test four experimental technologies with partners this year, and makes five key recommendations based on community-level requests and humanitarian expertise The report is available at
The publication explains how ARC chose the initial eight emerging technologies, the many ways they can help urban dwellers cope with emergencies and how it arrived at the following four priorities for 2015-2016:
• Wearable devices for providing early warning, supporting search and rescue, and reconnecting families
• Unmanned aerial vehicles for temporarily restoring communications networks and delivering critical relief items, such as medicines, post disaster
• Smart home sensor networks for sensing and reporting fires in informal settlements/slums
• Biometric scanners in ATM-like kiosks for restoring lost documentation to prove identity, access assistance and reconnect families.
Inside, you will also learn about the innovation teams, comprised of at-risk community members and multi-sector volunteers who will help us take these ideas forward in several countries around the world. They will co-facilitate experiments to help inform the technologies’ design, use and cost to ultimately support consumer access, management and ownership of these resilience-strengthening solutions.

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TIDES Research Assistant Intern
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