Team Rubicon and DocuSign Drive 'Hack-For-Good'
LONDON, July 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The power of technology is being brought to bear on disaster relief efforts, thanks to software developers who took part in a 'Hack-For-Good' at an event hosted by DocuSign in partnership with Team Rubicon UK in London recently.
Team Rubicon UK is the local arm of the international non-profit that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams in the UK and around the world. It teamed up with DocuSign, the global leader in electronic signature and digital transaction management solutions, to challenge developers to create compelling solutions that helped Team Rubicon with its missions in the field.
"Veterans are coming out of a highly technologically-enhanced military environment," explained John Leach, CEO of Team Rubicon UK. "When we send them out into disaster situations, they ask why they can't have similar technological capabilities. Since its formation, Team Rubicon has been working hand-in-hand with companies like DocuSign to help improve disaster response."
To that end, five teams of developers spent just over 24 hours behind closed doors at DocuSign MOMENTUM '16 London, working on solutions to two sets of pre-defined challenges.
The first dealt with field disclaimers – such as those for volunteers arriving spontaneously or when home-owners are impacted by disasters – ensuring documents are backed up when devices are offline; and of course signing Web-based disclaimers. The other dealt with membership and field operations processes – tracking the availability and mobilization of volunteers, proposing and planning events, and transitioning project leadership.
Those challenges are based directly on real-world scenarios faced by Team Rubicon in disasters as far afield as Nepal, Haiti and Mozambique, among many others.
"Among the many operational issues that Team Rubicon faces, one of the most prevalent is how paper-intensive its processes are," explained Marie Huwe, the VP of developer relations at DocuSign. "The problem is, paper isn't well-suited to a mobile office environment anymore, let alone the conditions out in the field during a disaster – it can get lost, rendered unreadable, or even destroyed. DocuSign is all about creating viable electronic alternatives to paper, so having the developers work together on solutions like this fits directly with our mission to empower the world to go fully digital."
Two teams ultimately advanced to the finals during the event – one focused on the automation of homeowner disclaimers using the DocuSign application programming interface (API), and one focused on the the availability tracker.
The former solution won, and it makes it possible for a homeowner to electronically-sign the authorization that is necessary before Team Rubicon can start assisting – given it could be just a damage inspection, or could escalate to the demolition of a severely-damaged home. That solution also included a mapping app for mobile devices that not only mapped the location of each affected home, but also coded its status with a colored pin on that map.
The availability tracker scenario created an app whereby Team Rubicon volunteers could enter their availability into a web-based calendar to indicate their availability to mobilize and support in the case of a disaster. Team Rubicon leaders could then generate a report to understand the resources available at any moment's notice. Given that minutes can save lives, understanding volunteer availability to effectively deploy aid and relief is key.
The Hack-For-Good concept was first put into play in San Francisco in early April this year, when DocuSign held its MOMENTUM '16 US event. A host of workable solutions came from that event including an innovative way to replicate documents offline using multiple iPads, smart options for mobilizing volunteers, and new ways to onboard volunteers. More information can be found at https://www.docusign.com/blog/docusign-and-team-rubicon-join-forces-to-streamline-disaster-relief-efforts-in-hack-for-good/.
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