IBM’s ‘Call for Code’ to encourage internal and external coding talent for a social cause

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The initiative invites developers to create new applications to better prepare communities and people for natural disasters.

IBM just launched the Call for Code Global Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together start-up, academic and enterprise developers to solve one of the most pressing societal issues of our time—prevention of, response to and recovery from natural disasters.

The goal of the initiative is to unite the world’s developers and tap into data and AI, blockchain, cloud and IoT technologies to address social challenges. During a keynote address at the VivaTech Conference in Paris, Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, called on the technology industry to help build a better future, committing IBM technology and $30 million USD over five years, to the annual Call for Code Global Initiative.

Call for Code invites developers to create new applications to help communities and people better prepare for natural disasters. For example, developers may create an app that uses weather data and supply-chain information to alert pharmacies to increase supplies of medicines, bottled water and other items, based on predicted weather-related disruption. Or, it could be an app that predicts when and where the disaster will be most severe, so that emergency crews can be dispatched ahead of time in proper numbers to treat those in need.

KARAN BAJWA

Call for Code offers a perfect opportunity to all the developers in the region to harness their creativity and talent with a dose of empathy and create new applications for humanitarian relief efforts.

IBM’s $30 million investment over five years will fund access to developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. While the winning team will receive a financial prize, perhaps the more rewarding part is the access to long-term support to help move their idea from prototype to real-world application! This includes ongoing developer support through IBM’s partnership with the Linux Foundation.

In addition to development support, the winning team can join one of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) teams to apply their idea to a community in need. IBM CSC teams comprise multi-disciplinary IBM experts who spend four to six weeks in underserved communities around the world, to apply technology to local issues and opportunities.

Karan Bajwa, MD, IBM India says, “Call for Code offers a perfect opportunity to all the developers in the region to harness their creativity and talent with a dose of empathy and create new applications for humanitarian relief efforts.” He mentions in a post on LinkedIn that the award winners will receive long-term support through the Linux Foundation, financial prizes, an opportunity to present their solution to leading VCs, and deploy their solution through IBM’s Corporate Service Corps.

Chaitanya N Sreenivas

For IBM it has always been about good tech and driving positive impact in the world through the application of technology. Call for Code facilitiates our collective goal, which is to help people in need and build a better future

Today, developer teams (internally and externally) can answer the call and register interest to compete in Call for Code, which begins officially on June 18 and closes on August 31. “By opening the challenge to IBMers, we stay true to our corporate philosophy of constantly encouraging, nurturing and infusing an entrepreneurial spirit and out-of-the-box-thinking in our workforce,” says Chaitanya N Sreenivas, vice president & HR head, IBM India / South Asia, while talking about how this initiative not only encourages talent within the organisation but also pulls in great external talent.

“For IBM it has always been about good tech and driving positive impact in the world through the application of technology. Call for Code facilitiates our collective goal, which is to help people in need and build a better future,” says Sreenivas.

IBM is the founding member of the Call for Code Global Initiative, which was created by David Clark, a renowned leader in cause-related initiatives. Clark has worked with iconic people and humanitarian organisations, such as President Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Prince, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and The Anne Frank Centre.

Through Call for Code, IBM and David Clark Cause are joining forces with the United Nations Human Rights Office and its human rights-based approach to humanitarian action, which focusses on securing the participation of affected groups in preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and bringing attention to the most excluded and marginalised populations.

Call for Code also integrates the American Red Cross’ focus on new ways of bringing support to disaster victims. This is especially important as 2017 was ranked as one of the worst years on record for catastrophic events, including fires, floods, earthquakes and storms.

To raise awareness and interest in Call for Code, IBM is coordinating interactive educational events, hackathons and community support for developers around the world in more than 50 cities, including Amsterdam, Bengaluru, Berlin, Delhi, Dubai, London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.

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