Users must have the app preinstalled in case of an emergency – or maybe not!

A well-known problem for everyone with a smart idea regarding how people could make use of innovative apps in case of an emergency or crisis, is the fact that people need to have these apps already installed ready to be used in critical situations. However, most people will never face an emergency or a crisis which means that most people will never bother to “pre-install” nice to have apps that most likely never will be used.

This means that app developers and solution providers must be come up with better solutions than just saying:

“People must understand that they have much to gain if they download our great app and have it ready at hand if they end up in a critical situation”.

Just recently, we have seen insightful approaches of solving this problem by designing apps that are made available when they are needed and only if they are needed. This means that app developers and solution providers have taken a new look at the well-known and standardized “sign-up -> receive user info -> get started and add details”.

Instead of using the above approach, innovations are emerging targeting what could be called a simplified user credentials approach. This means that apps could be designed using a range of new models concerning the role and need for user-id. When we design for “instant and short time use”, it opens up for radically different use cases and a potential for a much larger diffusion of apps in emergencies and crisis.

I hope that we at the Crisis Response Lab, in the near future, will be able to show a few examples of how these new approaches could be materialized.

Live-Video Experiment using Multiple Non-Synchronized Mobile Live-Video Streams

Live-Video Experiment using Multiple Non-Synchronized Mobile Live-Video Streams

Today, we conducted a simple yet fascinating experiment at the Crisis Response Lab, focused on using multiple streams of mobile live video to support a collaborative task. We used the LiveResponse mobile live-video application and two video streams from Bambuser equipped android phones to create a live-video collaborative work space.

The two mobile live-video streams were broadcasted to LiveResponse with a latency on roughly 1 second. The two video streams were not internally synchronized which in our experiment had the effect that one video stream faced the risk of providing lag in relation to the other stream. I took my Android phone (broadcasting video) and my laptop (consuming video) and walked through our lab and used the broadcasted video to communicate to as well as using my laptop to receive communication from colleague Fredrik ( that had a similar setup with his phone and laptop.) We gave each other simple tasks in order to evaluate if the communication between us would break down.

Our communication during the short experiment did however not breakdown, but rather showed how mobile live-video broadcasting worked very well to establish and use a mobile live-video collaborative work space. This simple experiment gave us inspiration and confidence to further explore the design space of collaborative work spaces based on low cost high quality mobile live video broadcasting technology.

Obama uses live video from war zones : Swedish firebrigades use live video from accident sites

American and even Swedish media (SVD.se, GP.se) is making a big thing about Obamas ability to follow the hunt-down of OBL using mobile real-time video.

From CNN.com

The White House and Central Intelligence Agency didn’t have access to a live audio feed, but they were able to tap other communications, a U.S. official told CNN. There was some live video, though the official declined to elaborate on the nature of that footage.

It is always interesting when the mobile live video over and over again is presented as a kind of science-fiction technology. Its not. Our friends at the Fire brigade in Gothenburg has been live-streaming from response operations since nov 2008. The small and yet functional prototype used back then did over time transform into a commercial service.

What is still a bit surprising is the lack of low-cost head-mounted cameras that have integrated SIM-card/mobile broadband capability so the camera can live-stream the video over public cell-phone networks to remote settings. When this device is available on the market, one could envision a very fast adoption of live-video use in professional work context.

The work of making mobile video from emergency response operations continues with some interesting explorations of geo-temporal traversing. There are so many fascinating visualizations that are now possible to do when we combine live video with footage from the same location but from a different location in time. This geo-temporal traversing is possible when we combine high quality video with data from commercial spatial data services.

Our work including geo-temporal traversing as well as other concepts has been made possible with funding and support from Lindholmen Science Park : Security Arena and the Traffic and Vehicle Safety Institute SAFER at Chalmers University of Technology, Dept of Applied IT at Gothenburg University and the Viktoria Institute.

Cellphone use in the heat of protests

At the ongoing protests in Egypt, journalists and photographers have worked in dangerous conditions in order to show the rest of the world what is going on. One of these are the Reuters photographer Amr Abdallah Dalsh that took this photo. The photo highlights many interesting details.

In the cropped-photo below, I have highlighted two such details where people in the background are using their cellphones to document and perhaps even broadcast the situation.

It is reasonable to believe that, the activists use of cellphones to capture and even live-broadcast visual media will be a fundamental and widespread activity in similar future events. Social media such as Twitter for text, Flickr for photos and Bambuser for live video has become and will continue to be important tools for live reporting.
There are some interesting challenges in how to make use of professional news organizations visual media in combination with photos and video from activists in future crisis information systems.
It would be exciting to run some form of workshop with an unfocused group of Swedish news agencies together with activists and explore this dynamic design space.

Video via alla möjliga prylar vi bär med oss.

I morse fick jag ett tips från Andreas D. på Enköpings räddningstjänst att det nu finns glasögon med inbyggd videokamera. Detta är en i raden av produkter som tydligt pekar på den starka trenden kring inbyggd video i alla tänkbara prylar. Sedan tidigare har vi på Crisis Response Lab testat, bluetooth-headset med inbyggd video, videoficklampa och naturligtvis Live-video via Mobiltelefon. Det kan bli dags att införskaffa ett par glasögon. Priset känns lite högt 239 USD + ev skatt för ett spontaninköp. Men man vet aldrig.
En lite begränsande aspekt i fallen med video via bluetooth-headset, ficklampa och nu inbyggd i glasögon är att det saknas möjligheter att sända live-video. I ovan produkter krävs handgrepp för att dela med sig av sin inspelade film. Jag ser fram emot de framtida lösningarna där live-video är möjligt. Poängen med live-video är inte bara att det går att ta del av video i realtid utan att live-video gör processen att överföra inspelad video från sin pryl och till alla de som vill ta del av videon så mycket lättare.

Dags att organisera ett CrisisCamp

Mot bakgrund av de utmaningar som Svensk krishantering står inför på lokal, regional och nationell-nivå så är det dags att organisera ett CrisisCamp.

Syftet med ett CrisisCamp är att genom extremt fokuserat arbete, tillsammans i större team med olika kompetenser, dra nytta av informationsteknologi för att skapa bättre förutsättningar till effektiv hantering av krissituationer eller större händelser.

Ett CrisisCamp är öppet för alla som vill vara med och bidra med sina erfarenheter och kompetens.


Planen är att köra ett 24 timmars CrisisCamp under senare delen av våren 2011 på Lindholmen i Göteborg. Vi söker nu engagerade deltagare från privata sektorn, kommuner, räddningstjänst, ambulanssjukvård, polis, länsstyrelse, smittskydd, sektorsmyndigheter och nationella myndigheter.

Vid detta CrisisCamp kommer deltagarna att formera olika grupper som tar fram förslag och prototyper på nya tjänster som förbättrar förmåga till samverkan och samarbete vid större händelser och kriser.

Är du eller din organisation intresserad av att medverka och vill veta mer? Anmäl ditt intresse på följande länk: [Intresseanmälan]

Läs mer om CrisiCamp och dess bakgrund på:

CrisisCamp began as an idea for an event to bring together people who were interested in leveraging technology and telecommunications systems to assist communities in times of crisis.

FEMA’s social media strategy

Learn more about FEMA´s thinking on how to leverage social media to better respond to major emergencies and disasters. FEMA chief Craig Fugate is interviewed by Wired about the use of social media in emergency and disaster response. In the interview, Carig underline the importance that governments must adapt their official websites to also fit a mobile context as well as see social media as a core and important technology. Further, two-way communication between the public and government officials are discussed. It seems as Craig has listen to the research results provided by Leysia Palens research group at Univ of Colorado, boulder. [The Wired podcast]