Over the centuries, Japan has endured more than its fair share of natural disasters \u2013 such as the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 that resulted in close to 40,000 lives lost in downtown Tokyo alone and, more recently, the 2011 Tohoku quake and tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of Japan, killing 18,000 residents with approximately 20,000 more still uncounted for to this day.\n\nThen there\u2019s the southern island of Kyushu, the tail-end of Japan, which is particularly prone to increasingly frequent and more intense disasters such as heavy-rain events, typhoons, and earthquakes.\n\nA nation known for innovative efficiency was a failure in one key area\n\nIt goes without saying that the faster and more effectively disasters can be forecasted, detected, and responded to, the better the chance of minimizing damage and saving lives. And the key to success is having data that can be analyzed for actionable insights.\n\nBut until recently, gathering accurate and timely data from multiple sources had been challenging for the local island governments because of a lack of equipment, process and format standardization, technology, and human resources.\n\nIn many cases, manual and paper-based processes had been employed for analysis at disaster sites, with resulting data being siloed. So, it was difficult to put the data to use when and where it was needed, affecting disaster preparedness and countermeasures.\n\nHard to believe that all of this was still happening to a 21st century country famous for its global precision and innovative solutions.\n\nAnd yet\u2026\n\nEDiSON rises\n\n\u014cita University, a national university established in 1921 in \u014cita Prefecture, Kyushu, was interested in building a data-driven solution for enhancing disaster-response capabilities. In 2017, the university created its Education and Research Center for Disaster Risk Reduction and Redesign that focuses on disaster relief \u2013 including disaster medicine, prevention education, and reconstruction design.\n\nPartnering with SAP and Zynas Corporation, the university designed and implemented a hero\u2019s solution that integrates and analyzes disaster-related data, including information about prevention and mitigation. The solution also facilitates collaboration among organizations involved in disaster response.\n\nNamed EDiSON \u2013 an acronym for the cool-sounding Earth Disaster Intelligent System Operational Network (like something out of the old Ultraman TV show I used to watch as a kid) \u2013 the solution incorporates data management, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning capabilities offered by SAP products, including SAP HANA\u00ae Cloud.\n\n\u201cEDiSON provides an important way forward to achieve advanced disaster preparedness and countermeasures,\u201d says Professor Yoshihisa Tsurunari of \u014cita University. \u201cThe solution has wide application for disaster response, prevention and mitigation education, and reconstruction support, helping improve global and regional disaster prevention.\u201d\n\nEDiSON preparedness and countermeasure solutions are GO\n\nThe solution brings together data from various sources and in multiple formats. There\u2019s real-time and historical information from private and public sectors, including data from evacuation centers as well as more than 5,400 \u014cita prefecture records of disasters from the past 1,300 years.\n\nThe data is gathered from paper records and advanced technology such as drones, the Internet of Things (IoT), and AI, live and static. Access to the solution and data has provided the \u014cita prefecture, private companies, and municipalities with an advanced disaster-response capability. \n\nEDiSON\u2019s surveillance superpowers\n\nDuring normal times, EDiSON records weather-forecast data up to 15 hours ahead and observation data from IoT seismometers. Information from all sources is integrated and accessible from a central location. \n\nBy analyzing the data with AI, EDiSON can evaluate the degree of disaster risk and provide disaster forecasting in real-time, alerting authorities to the danger of an imminent event so that evacuation orders can be issued quickly and efficiently. So far, the solution has increased details about disaster-response risk by 40% over traditional methods.\n\nWith EDiSON, teams can plan disaster-prevention awareness measures with a better understanding of the potential impact of events. It also can help enhance communication and collaboration between teams.\n\nA vigilant sustainability hero for disasters today and the future\n\n\u201cEDiSON has great potential as a solution that leads to the sophistication of disaster countermeasures,\u201d says Fumio Okamoto, Director of the Disaster Prevention Bureau, \u014cita Prefecture.\n\n\u201cWe have high hopes that the EDiSON initiative will become a platform that will lead to the improvement of disaster resilience in Japan and the world,\u201d says Shinya Honda, Chief Manager of the Advanced Technology Challenge Division, Commerce, Industry, Tourism, and Labor Department, Oita Prefecture.\n\nFor EDiSON\u2019s accomplishments today and its potential for the future, SAP has named its creator, \u014cita University, a Sustainability Hero in the SAP Innovation Awards 2023. For more information, take a look at the university\u2019s Innovation Awards pitch deck.