Chennai’s Marina crowds to be part of communication experiment

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on July 25, 2014 Published on July 25, 2014

People throng the Marina beach in Chennai on a public holiday. Photo: R. Ravindran

An IIT-M, Japan pilot can change the way emergencies are managed

Weekend crowds at Chennai’s Marina Beach are going to be part of a communication experiment, which is going to change the way the world responds to emergencies.

The Chennai police are going to use a communication system developed in an Indo-Japanese collaborative project that works on a different GSM spectrum than what we use in our phones.

The communication system that is based on GSM and GPS has been developed jointly by a clutch of IITs, NGRI, IMD and Tokyo University.

The system can be deployed quickly in an emergency situation. As it works on a different layer of transmission, it will not face the congestion in the local communication networks that we generally see in times of disasters and other emergencies.

“The Chennai police will use it for crowd management at the beach as a pilot. The police will use the GSM bandwidth of the railways to communicate with team members to keep an eye on the teeming crowds. They might allow others, such as NGOs or journalists, if need be,” Prof. R David Koilpillai, Dean of IIT (Madras), told Business Line.

“If we grant permission (like the police in the upcoming pilot), people can look for the exclusive network in their phones and can call an emergency number to send an SOS. It also allows you to send a voice message that will be made available on a website.”

The system has been developed as part of the DISANET (Information Network for Natural Disaster Mitigation and Recovery), a five-year (2010-15) programme taken up by India and Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The Indian side comprise IITs (Madras, Kanpur, Hyderabad), IIIT (H), Indian Meteorological Department, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), while Japan is represented by the University of Tokyo and Keio University.

The Rs 35-crore project, involving 50 researchers, has been working on weather monitoring, pre- and post- disaster management, a sustainable communication infrastructure and an ICT platform that can give you a bankable communication medium in times of emergencies.

The stakeholders of the project met here on Thursday to take stock of the outcome so far.

“This project involves a wide variety of disciplines in engineering, environmental sciences, software and communications. The 100 smart cities we are talking about should factor in the outcome of this project to build safer cities,” Prof. U B Desai, Director of IIIT (H), said.

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Published on July 25, 2014
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