October 12, 2019      

NEW YORK – Prometeo, an AI-based platform that monitors and acts on a firefighter’s health and safety in real-time, won the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge. The sponsors, IBM and David Clark Cause, announced the winner during a ceremony at the United Nations Delegates Dining Room tonight. The team that built the system, which includes developers, a firefighter, and a nurse, won $200,000, and will also receive support from IBM, The Linux Foundation, and other partners interested in scaling the solution.

Call for Code is a $30 million, five-year global initiative which, together with Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, has become the largest and most ambitious effort bringing together start-up, academic and enterprise developers to solve pressing societal issues.

Building on last year’s inaugural challenge, Call for Code 2019 focused on creating solutions to help mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and enable first responders to better support survivors. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental revealed that July 2019 was the hottest month to ever be recorded on Earth—making it easier for wildfires to burn across the globe and igniting greater demands than ever from the local firefighters who fight them. In Europe, Copernicus’ European Forest Fire Information System has already recorded more than 2,000 wildfires to date in 2019, three times the annual average over the past decade Source: Copernicus Emergency Management Service. Using the expertise of first responders and technologists who have witnessed the human toll of the fires across Spain, Prometeo, developed in Barcelona, aims to protect firefighters by guarding them from the cumulative effects of the smoke and toxic substances inhaled while battling wildfires.

Promoteo IBM Call for Code Challenge

Team Promoteo, winners of the 2019 Call for Code Global Challenge Image: IBM

Promoteo origins

Joan Herrera, a veteran firefighter, Vicenç Padró, an emergency medical nurse, along with Salomé Valero, Josep Ràfols, and Marco Rodriguez, three IT services professionals, together created a combination hardware-software solution based on multiple IBM Cloud services. The health device—which is about the size of a smartphone and straps to a firefighter’s arm—has multiple sensors that measure key variables including temperature, humidity, and smoke concentration. This information is collected and transmitted to IBM’s Cloud IoT platform; then, a Node-RED workflow sends the data to the IBM Watson-based machine learning model, which distills the information into a simple color-coded status for fire command centers to monitor the health of each deployed firefighter in real-time.

“We need to do something to help our firefighters,” Valero said. “For me, they are our heroes. They are putting their lives on the line for us. My dream is to help them with Prometeo.” Prometeo stores all the health information in a Cloudant database over time, providing a historical and comprehensive view of the data. Any future client – such as authorized fire command centers tasked with tracking firefighters in the field – can connect to the Prometeo dashboard by simply using JavaScript and WebSockets.

The Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge awarded second-place to Sparrow—whose members hail from India, China, and the US. The Sparrow team developed an open source conversational AI platform that helps users address their physical and psychological well-being during and after natural disasters by matching them with automated support and live experts.

After experiencing a series of earthquakes over the summer, four undergraduate students from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) earned the third prize with the creation of Rove, an SMS chatbot that uses natural language understanding to give users health information during a natural disaster.

Sparrow and Rove were each awarded USD $25,000, while fourth-place solution AsTeR and fifth-place Helios each won USD $10,000. All five winning solutions will receive long-term open source support from IBM and The Linux Foundation through Code and Response.

More than 180,000 individuals including independent and enterprise developers, data scientists, activists, and students, from 165 nations participated in Call for Code and Code and Response this year. The teams used The Weather Company data and open source-powered technology – including IBM Cloud, IBM Watson, and IBM Blockchain among other technology– to create more than 5,000 applications to help prepare for and mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

“The response has been overwhelming—and signals the growing sense of responsibility felt by many members of the open source community to deliver on the needs of our communities and first responders,” said Bob Lord, IBM Senior Vice President Cognitive Applications and Developer Ecosystems. “From fighting wildfires to providing ubiquitous access to medical services for all, it’s inspiring to witness developers around the world unleashing the power of IBM’s technologies to empower our first line of defense for natural disasters.”

The Challenge’s judges included:

· Distinguished Judge: Bill Clinton, Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States
· Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack
· Steve Ewell, Executive Director, Consumer Technology Association Foundation
· Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
· Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
· Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO of Build Change
· Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
· Claudia Nemat, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management, Technology and Innovation
· Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA
· Tom Peck, Executive VP and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Ingram Micro Inc.
· Trevor Riggen, Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services, American Red Cross
· Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation

“Call for Code was formed to inspire and empower the 24 million developers around the world to create tech solutions to solve some of the toughest social challenges we face,” said creator David Clark. “Last year’s Call for Code Global Challenge was the largest engagement of developers in history, and this year it has nearly doubled in size! We’d like to thank everyone around the world who participated. It’s this kind of global effort that is going to create real change for the better.”