Central American country El Salvador is devastated by mudslides and floods every year. The local government only issues vague warnings, and concrete early warning steps aren’t taken. This results in several lost lives and material damages. To solve this problem, a company named Reaccion decided to use Internet of Things. Reaccion has a team of software, electronics and community management experts, who worked day and night to develop an IoT-based disaster prevention system.
Reacción’s team rigorously surveyed those areas in El Salvador which are struck by mudslides and floods the most. For hundreds of years, folk communities in the outskirts of the country are struggling with natural disasters. Over the course of these years, the locals have developed an instinct to feel the impending disasters. Reaccion’s team found out that mere automatic sensors-based system will not be feasible in the area. They decided to leverage the instincts and knowledge of local elders and harness it in an Internet of Things solution.
Reaccion came up with a hardware device which could be used by laymen to issue alerts to other people. The device has a red button on it, which sends an SOS message when pressed. This early warning system uses Internet of Things at its core, as most of the devices used in this system are always “connected”. But the alert is only triggered based on human input. This system was developed in collaboration with FabLab, which was started as a result of efforts of famous MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld. FabLab mainly focuses on solving problems around the world by harnessing the abilities and expertise of local actors and using them in latest technological platforms. FabLab made the basic prototype of this system. Apart from the human input, this IoT solution uses weather sensors and accelerometers to detect tremors that are generated during the initial stages of mudslides. Villagers can also use this device to get connected to a radio signal power mesh network via GPRS links. Additional data and backups are stored on Cloud.
Reacción IoT is based on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) mesh networks, and every villager is connected to each other. This network ensures guaranteed communication because there is almost a zero chance of failure. If a node fails, that is, a single device stops working, another nearby villager could still alert his connected peers.
Reaccion’s disaster prevention system is powered by battery, and can work even without phone communications. The company distributed devices to the locals. These devices are rugged and water proof, and can function in harsh conditions.