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Hurricane Sandy: Testaments to Agile tech in the eye of the storm

This week Searchlight looks at agile tech's role in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, from Google's new alerts to the birth of Instacane.

What a week. On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, we here at Searchlight hope all our East Coast readers are safe and sound. What, aside from concern about the resiliency of disaster recovery and business continuity plans, could this natural disaster mean for IT? As it happens, as millions were plunged into darkness, technology provided a beacon throughout Sandy's duration.

Karen GoulartKaren Goulart

For starters, the story of the storm played out in social media like no other natural disaster before it (10 storm photos per second on Instagram). And the stories behind the storm -- the technologies that enabled the story to be told -- are a testament to the power of agile tech.

Take, for example, Google, which planned to release a new public alert system for emergency resources sometime in the coming weeks. By the time the first raindrops began to fall on the Jersey shore on Monday, the system was up and running!

Online picture-sharing is nothing new (see above), but in the midst of Sandy, up sprang minimalist Web site Instacane, essentially a running album of hurricane photos. Does it sound opportunistic? Sure. But besides being an impressive example of turn-on-a-dime ingenuity, the site has become a sadly beautiful chronicle of communal experience.

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Which brings us to Twitter. Love it or hate it (and it's so easy to feel the latter), it has more than proved its value beyond mindless musings and celebrity chitchat. The Arab Spring showed us that. This week it was a tool of truth and a keeper of calm, spreading as-it-happens information and slaying rumors just as quickly. Like we said, what a week. Here are but a few testaments to agile tech in the eye of the storm.

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