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Industry rallies to disaster victims

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The IT industry has been offering technical help and donations to aid the relief effort in south east Asia following the tsunami that hit the region on Boxing Day.

IT professionals across the UK have played their part in the workplace collections that got under way following the holiday season and many suppliers have given substantial cash donations to the relief effort.

Among the technical help offered, volunteers at BT spearheaded the company’s efforts in the disaster-hit Aceh region of Sumatra, responding to calls from Indonesia Telecom for help to re-establish local communications as well as international links.

The group is working to provide satellite uplinks from one of the islands back to the provincial capital and to assess what equipment and skills need to be shipped to the region.

A group of IBM volunteers in the US prepared 1,000 Thinkpad laptop computers destined to help with recovery efforts. The volunteers installed fingerprint scanning technology needed to identify victims. Along with fingerprint scanners, the laptops are being shipped to the area with extra batteries, country-specific power supplies and webcams.

Cisco is working with the Net- Hope consortium to make its Netrelief kits available for deployment to the stricken areas. The kits aim to provide easy to set up and operate communications hubs for disaster management where normal communications infrastructure is absent. They are augmented by NetHope with mobile satellite communications capability from Inmarsat.


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