Last week, our project completed another important milestone in Ipswich, one of the oldest cities in UK, and an area under the risk of severe floods that still remembers the “cold night of terror” of 1953 when a huge flood took the lives of 41 people. In this setting, our industrial partner Aquobex hosted a two-day meeting in which we were able to interact with different potential end-users and test all our technologies in a real scenario.

Wednesday 13th was a day to share information and learn from many experts from different areas that accepted our invitation. The interactions were really insightful and enabled us to identify gaps, opportunities, risks and potential improvements that might be made in our products.

Thursday 14th was a day for real action in a flood simulation exercise at the Orwell river in Ipswich. In collaboration with the Environment Agency and the Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service, we successfully tested together all our tools for the very first time. Among others, we showed fully functional mobile app, wearables and smart glasses for first responders, numerous information layers for decision-makers and the app for citizens. And we were not only able to test our system but also to successfully compare it with one of the best systems available in Europe: the UK Environment Agency’s system.

After two partial demonstrations (in Sava river and in Piedmont, Italy) this third demo has shown us that the system is ready and mature enough to represent a real and complete alternative to existing systems and is already showing fully developed innovations such as the social media engine or the crowdsource information.

We are approaching the final stages of I-REACT, where we are going to test the technologies against disasters that we have developed in the last two years. Back in December, we organised our first in-field demonstration in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe and the Sava River Basin Commission. In March, we tested our technologies against floods in Piedmont, Italy. And finally, tomorrow we start our third practical demonstration of the I-REACT tools in Ipswich, UK.

Satellites, drones, augmented reality glasses, wearables, and our mobile application: these are the technologies that we will be presenting in Ipswich the 13th and 14th of June. It will be a two-day flood simulation exercise, in which we will put together all of our tools for the first time. The event is organised by our partner Aquobex, and it is supported by the Environment Agency and the Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service.

The drill will simulate the flood of the Orwell river, and it will serve as a practical exercise where the selected attendees will work together in this scenario. Among the participants will be representatives from the Environment Agency, the UK Flood Forecasting Centre, and County Councils, as well as insurance professionals

Floods constitute 47% of all weather-related disasters of the last 20 years. During this period, flooding has killed 157 000 people, affected 2.3 billion people, and meant an economic loss of $662 billion. Our technological tools provide protection agencies with services that offer real-time information before, during, and after the disaster situation. Furthermore, we have developed a solution that is highly modular, which ensures that the individual tools can be adopted separately by the emergency services, so they can integrate them with existing tools. These innovative cyber technologies can provide emergency responders with a more accurate situational awareness in flood-related emergencies, which improves their response time, and in turn helps them save lives.