Urbanisation across the globe and the changing climate are posing significant challenges to citizens, communities, cities and regions, and countries when it comes to their preparedness to face incidents of adverse nature whether be it from man-made disasters, accidents or criminal acts or be it from the rising intensity of extreme weather events resulting from the changing climate. As a community of global citizens, it has become a universal expectation for us to feel safe and secure and to gain assurance from the cities, governments, and countries that we can expect to receive help in a timely manner from agencies charged with such roles. Socio-economic impact of such incidents can be catastrophic to communities and their ability to regain and bounce back to progress is a significant factor sustaining the quality of life and socio-economic viability of a vibrant community.
Rapid deployment of connectivity across the globe is making it possible to contemplate that the deployment of such systems should help us better anticipate, ameliorate, and recover from natural or man-made disasters and accidents. The wide deployment of IoT has the potential to dramatically change our resilience and preparedness in how well we deal with disasters and incidents in the future. The necessary step is a deeper deployment of monitoring and tracking systems, and better sensor networks that warn of an earthquake, a tsunami, a likely volcanic eruption, forest fires, accidental releases of chemicals, or that allow us to forestall a biological epidemic. At the same time, the IoT technologies will also improve our ability to recover from such incidents. More importantly, such a deployment need to foresee a significant degradation of such infrastructure in the face of extreme events and the design of such infrastructure should factor this to enhance the resilience and rapid restoration of key functionalities post incidents. In particular, such response requires a massive coordination between government and international agencies as well as industry organizations with the significant expert knowledge to allow rapid restoration capabilities and services to provide humanitarian responses at time-scales much faster than what we can deal with now. Approaches based on IoT need to factor a diversity of connectivity technologies, communication, sensing and computing devices or platforms and psychological state of people affected to arrive at effective ways to provide humanitarian responses in a responsible, sensitive and effective manner.