When natural disasters strike, our first instincts are to phone or text loved ones; check news and social media sites; and go online to lend support. These connections become our lifelines. In the process, mobile devices become paramount in connecting people to people and people to data.

That’s why the Internet of Everything (IoE) is so critical. In the moments immediately following a disaster popular social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, serve as quick ways to locate loved ones. At the same time, social media allows those affected to inform multiple people at once that they are okay, with a simple tweet or post.

In a recent Forbes article titled “Everything Changes with the Internet of Everything,” Kevin Maney discusses how the Internet of Everything changes the way we respond in time of crisis. For example, the Google Person Finder (launched during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti) shows how the Internet can make a big difference during emergencies. People can access the site via mobile device or computer and enter into one of two portals to exchange information: “I’m looking for someone” or “I have information about someone.”

Similarly, a networked power grid can pinpoint outages, enabling faster trouble shooting and allowing fellow citizens to lend support (or even power strips, as seen during Superstorm Sandy) where needed. These connections bring communities back together.

We often talk about the power of IoE to connect the unconnected. For disaster recovery, that power is amplified. Through the Internet of Everything we can help expedite recovery and create a more efficient disaster-response effort by connecting processes, data, things and, most importantly, people. When that happens, we’re able to improve the human experience.

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