Canadian Humanitarian Initiatives Committee

collaborative technology addressing humanitarian needs


HIC Humanitarian Communication Applications, ICC 2012

Currently, the HIC is organizing its First Humanitarian Communication Applications Workshop: Solutions for the next billion people. Our goal is to:

  1. Give a tutorial on the current state of rural wireless technology with an emphasis on IEEE 802.22 and related standards
  2. Showcase a wireless network deployed in the Peruvian Amazon to aid in medical treatment of patients in remote rural communities
  3. Review technical, business and community impact of the current deployment
  4. Discuss avenues available to achieve sustainable development of wireless networks through interactive round table discussions
  5. Facilitate multifaceted interaction between participants and speakers representing rural, medical and engineering communities
  6. Engage new volunteers and facilitate synergy between existing experts to design hardware and software applications for rural telemedicine

More details at: ICC 2012

We will be sharing experiences learned from the IEEE HTC Data Connectivity project in Peru with the goal of forming a group of volunteers to work on a similar project planned for Bolivia.

Alfredo Herrera, Ericsson, Canada
Dr. Sawsan Abdul-Majid, University of Ottawa, Canada
Prof. David Wright, University of Ottawa, Canada

Workshop Program:

  1. Unlicensed spectrum and Carrier WiFi, Stephen Rayment, CTO Ericsson Carrier WiFi
  2. Making rural communications work, André Brandão, CRC; Michael Christensen, Industry Canada
  3. The Peru experience – an IEEE HTC solution, Martin Murillo, IEEE HTC Data Connectivity technical lead
  4. Roundtable on appropriate wireless technology


  1. Considerations for humanitarian uses of technology
  2. Roundtable on humanitarian context


  1. Business model for telemedicine in Peru, David Wright, Telfer School of Business, U. of Ottawa
  2. Roundtable on business model


The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge Data Connectivity Solution (HTC-DCS) team was created in early 2009. The HIC team has been involved in the human networking part of one key activity of the DCS, the HTC Proof of Concept Test (PCT) in Ottawa. Through networking, it has provided valuable contacts and input for the launch of the PCT. Although the vast majority of the work has been done directly by the HTC-DCS team, our goal is to make HIC an integral part of various activities of the HTC.

The HTC-DCS team early selected long distance WiFi as the technology of choice to establish data links among villages in remote rural areas. However, alternative technologies will be considered as needed according to the specific details of each trial location. For this reason, the HTC-DCS team is in contact with leading wireless manufacturers.

IEEE Canada HIC participation in HTC-DCS Activities

The IEEE Humanitarian Technology Challenge ended in 2011; this three year partnership between the IEEE and the United Nations Foundation was the first time that a major humanitarian organization and a major technology association formed an up-front, collaborative relationship, to:

  1. Bring a more systematic approach to applying technology to solve world problems,
  2. Identify three challenges and drive solutions that are implementable and sustainable,
  3. Formulate solutions through a combination of workshops and the use of on-line collaboration tools.

Data Connectivity of Rural District Health Offices was one of the HTC projects where our group collaborated. It aimed at developing the capability of exchanging data among remote field offices and central health facilities. Usage scenarios included the access to patient treatment protocols, the creation and monitoring of health trends, and the sharing of treatment results.

The HIC team was involved with the HTC-DCS group when the implementation of a Pilot project was started in Ottawa in March 2010. HIC has provided local support, valuable contacts with the local IEEE branch, Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. HIC is in the process of setting up agreements with the HTC to further and increase the collaboration.

The following is a summary of the main activities carried on by the HTC-DCS team since March 2010:

  1. Multi-stakeholder meeting in Ottawa to plan the Proof of Concept Test.
  2. Field survey of the Philippines and Thailand trial sites.
  3. Planning for the PCT deployment in Ottawa.
  4. Engagement of local volunteers to carry on data connectivity trials.
  5. Agreements with institutions in Peru and Bolivia for Pilot tests; work with Brazilian NGOs for a eventual solution deployment in the Amazon.