New Technologies & Team To Support The Canadian Red Cross

By: Yasmin Ranade

January 15, 2020

The Canadian Red Cross (CRC) is embarking on a new business venture to amplify its response management and communications. To do so, the CRC has added new tech leadership by way of Bachir Halimi, Chief Technology Officer, and is expanding its tech team to design and creating an unprecedented suite of technological tools that will enhance the Red Cross’s work with vulnerable people, particularly in times of crisis.

Bachir Halimi, Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Red Cross.

Halimi will oversee the development of technological products that best-support the CRC in its critical work across emergency operations, health care services and fundraising. The design of new products will be based on consultations with emergency response and healthcare experts from within the CRC and its partners.

“The Canadian Red Cross is developing a cloud software solution that integrates a suite of innovative emergency management and health care services to help vulnerable populations,” began Halimi. “The system is accessible using multiple user interfaces; web portal, mobile app, phone, or through advanced speech recognition. Its backend architecture ensures dynamic scalability, high availability and security to make it ready to deploy and manage emergencies of different sizes.”

“The new software will allow Red Cross to manage online registration of disaster victims, case assessment, mass notifications and mass assistance, volunteer management, telephony and unified communications, online help, mobile services, and more.”

“Once developed,” explained Halimi, “the Canadian Red Cross plans to make its technology and related expertise available to help public safety departments in governments and municipalities when faced with disasters.”

Volunteers working at the Saint John resource centre during the 2019 floods response.

The CRC has the expertise and first-hand experience in responding to disasters such as wildfires, floods and tornadoes. “We know that with climate change these events are expected to increase in number and severity,” stated Halimi. “The Canadian Red Cross has decided to bring its expertise in disaster response together with this newly created team to better leverage technology to prepare and respond to emergencies in Canada and elsewhere in the world.”

“Open API’s will enable municipalities to easily integrate the Red Cross system with their information systems,” said Halimi. “The objective is to provide advanced technologies to register and provide reliable and fast relief to individuals and families affected by disasters while protecting their privacy and confidential information.”

Added Halimi, “The new platform will also be ready to deploy in other countries by the CRC International Operations team in collaboration with other Red Cross societies.

I asked Halimi if the new CRC solution will model crisis management solutions used in other countries.

“FEMA, the American Red Cross and the IFRC are good examples of how technology can be used for emergency management,” replied Halimi.

“Many Red Cross national societies and emergency management agencies have been using different types of solutions to manage their emergencies,” said Halimi. “In most cases, these solutions are made of software modules each handling specific emergency management tasks without any interoperability between them.”

“The Canadian Red Cross platform will integrate complementary emergency modules into one platform,” Halimi said.

“The Canadian Red Cross has built an internal research and development team to design and develop an integrated emergency management platform for national and international use.”

Added Halimi, “Now that most product modules are being developed internally, new features and technological enhancements can be designed and integrated efficiently. This provides the assurance that the product will always be equipped with the latest technologies to assist vulnerable people quickly and efficiently.”

Learn more about job opportunities with the Canadian Red Cross, here.

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