Technology could help with flood prevention

Could the problem of flooding in Ireland be solved using cloud technology? That is one of the questions being thrashed out at a two-day Hackathon hosted by Analog Devices International in Limerick.

Technology could help with flood prevention

Photo credit: Claire Frawley, Jason O’Neill, and Margaret Naughton discuss flooding problems on the banks of the River Shannon, Limerick as part of the Analog Devices International event. Picture: Sean Curtin

The prospect of one kind of cloud addressing the spoils of another doesn’t sound far-fetched to the 60 young employees of ADI who have gathered at Thomond Park in Limerick to examine how the multinational’s technology could be used to minimise the impact of flooding Ireland.

The brainchild of locally-based employees, the theme of flooding in Ireland was chosen because of the impact it has had on so many lives in rural and urban Ireland, including Analog staff.

Colin Lyden, fellow, Analog Devices, explained the concept behind the Hackathon: “ADI has a well-established record for engineering innovation but our products have evolved and are now more deployable, with the distance between our technology and problems being solved shortening. This event is about showcasing how ADI technology can be used to address significant issues and how our technology and our people can make a difference.”

Flooding experts from the ESB, JBA Ireland, Garland Concepts, and the Tyndall Institute briefed the participants on the issues involved, while those who took part also investigated whether Analog’s radar and sensor technologies, as well as its cloud-based services might assist in combating what has become a frequent seasonal problem nationwide.

“Over the years we’ve all become more than familiar with the devastation that flooding can cause,” said Mr Lyden. “It has become apparent that flooding defence mechanisms alone are no longer sufficient. An important aspect of this initiative is our interaction with various civic, commercial and community partners in Ireland. It is through such collaborations that truly informed and intuitive solutions can be realised.

“Industry has a part to play in addressing these challenges,” he said.

Advance warning and prediction systems, flood relief and maintenance of critical systems, identifying coastal threats and emergency defence measures were also examined over the two-day event by the 10 participating teams, made up of representatives from a wide variety of functions and skills in ADI.

Yesterday, each team pitched their idea to the judges, Dragon’s Den style. The judges will decide which team wins, based on their assessment of which idea is the best use of ADI technology in alleviating the impact of flooding. Details of the winning design will be unveiled today. The company will then examine the feasibility of developing the winning concept into a solution for actual deployment by a relevant organisation.

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