?During disasters and emergencies, good communication is of vital importance to life-saving efforts. In recent years, numerous digital communication tools have made their way into emergency management. Using a grounded, applied approach, Digital Emergency Communication (DIGeMERGE) examines the scope and implications of the digitalization of communication in responses to emergencies in four highly digitalized countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Digital communication tools under study range from pandemic tracing apps and other smartphone applications that use location data to mass alerting via text messages and the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for issuing advice as well as situational data collection.
The primary goal of DIGeMERGE is to understand both everyday practical challenges of emergency services digitalization as well as deeper implications of the use of new emergency management technologies for the state-citizen relationship. The project pursues this goal by investigating challenges associated with new digital emergency communication tools and related debates about societal and individual responsibility, protection needs, vulnerability and rights.
DIGeMERGE is led by Åshild Kolås at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and includes Stine Bergersen as co-investigator from PRIO. The research team further consists of principal investigators Linda Paxling at Malmö University in Sweden, Vasileios-Spyridon Vlassis at the IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and Mourad Oussalah at the Centre for Machine Vision and Signal Analysis, University of Oulu in Finland. In addition to the research partners, DIGeMERGE further involves stakeholder cooperation partners, including the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid, a major rescue service organization in Norway, and Finland’s 6G Flagship program. DIGeMERGE will also establish a stakeholder reference group of emergency management practitioners, geared towards knowledge co-production.