SOTERIA - On-line and Mobile Communications for Emergencies

Emergencies throughout the World recently prompted new attention to the role new mobile technologies and social media platforms play in emergency situations and response efforts. With a century old history of investigation, the sociological study of emergencies is aware that ICT expanded the reach of disaster sociology and is now focused on the emerging trend of the growing citizens’ participation through online social media and mobile communications (computer-mediated interaction), providing, seeking and brokering information, connecting those within and outside the emergency's geographical space, with implications for both the informal and the formal response effort. However, Public Safety Organisations (PSOs)1 and their traditional command and control models, do not easily adapt to the new emergencies’ trend of including a global, digitally enabled social arena. The SOTERIA Project will research the impact of social media in emergencies and develop the SOTERIA Prototype, comprising the:

  1. SOTERIA Recommendations, to provide guidelines and courses of action for PSOs and citizens in order to create an effective and efficient use of social media in emergencies, that understands its impact, preventing and/or mitigating hurdles and maximising related added-values;
  2. SOTERIA Toolbox, integrating emergency-related ICT tools and functionality (e.g., social media tools and mobile applications) that offer additional (bi-directional) communication channels between PSOs and citizens and enhance high-quality situational awareness for PSOs and citizens in emergencies.

Joining large, medium and small companies (SMEs), Universities, Research and Technological Organisations (RTOs) and a wide community of end-users and experts from Europe, the Soteria Consortium is one of the Project’s strengths, for it is a multi-disciplinary and complementary collective, with solid competences and experience developing research and development (R&D) projects.