How IBM will help police forces to find missing people faster at The Drum’s Do It Day

We caught up with IBM’s Julia Glencross to find out how the brand will be changing the world on Do It Day.

Thousands of people go missing every year in the UK, the majority of them 18 to 25-year-olds. And the first 24 hours in any missing person case are critical, the chances of a positive outcome after this time diminishing significantly.

It is with this in mind that IBM has created an app using cognitive technology to help UK police forces gain access to and analyse all relevant data – including historical cases, transport routes and even weather – with which to plan effective search campaigns within this 24 hours.

Police forces already have access to most of this information, but it is usually held in separate databases and in some cases by different organisations, meaning analysing it quickly and drawing insights from it can be difficult.

And so IBM challenged the teams at Plan It Day to think up ways in which it could improve the usability this app, as well as plan a campaign to drive adoption of it by police forces.

The two teams working on the challenge decided early on to come together and tackle the brief as one and before long Post-It notes scrawled with a multitude of questions, insights and ideas completely covered a nearby wall, ranging from an Amber Alert targeted at specific locations as determined by IBM Watson cognitive technology to gamifying the search process to redefining global standard for finding people from 24 hours to 12.

But the winning idea, as chosen by IBM’s Julia Glencross and which will be put into action on Do It Day, is a campaign called ‘Spotlight’ which will make use of location-specific digital out-of-home and social media to target and amplify missing person information for regional police forces.

The idea will utilise digital and physical media to raise awareness of the multiple benefits of the app to the target audience and, importantly, will aim to increase the success of finding 18-25 year-olds in the first 24 hours of them going missing by 50 per cent by 2017.

Winning team: Richard Coope, digital director, Radley Yeldar; Annabel Conn, event executive, The Drum; Konrad Jarosinki, web developer, The Drum; Laura Brady, communications planning manager, MEC; Martina Ciampolini, senior account manager, Rapp; Gary King, senior planner/buyer, Rapp; Jane Hales, managing partner, Sapio Research; Steve Lloyd, creative director, ICO Design.

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