Hala Systems, Inc. announces 3-year project leveraging AI-powered technology to drastically reduce civilian casualties and trauma in war zones.

Sentry, the first publicly available product by Hala Systems, is a threat-prediction system designed for use by civilians in conflict zones. Launched in August 2016, it employs transformative technology to generate early warnings in advance of threats such as airstrikes, providing civilians crucial minutes to find shelter.

Sentry is  an  indication  and  warning  system that  utilizes  a multi-sensor  network to generate a credible, real-time situational awareness of threats in the toughest places on Earth. Sentry uses artificial intelligence (AI) to instantaneously validate information from multiple sources, allowing stakeholders to detect, identify, model,  and  predict  threats.  Sentry acts  as  a low-cost,  exportable,  and  locally  administrable  knowledge platform  designed  to  gather critical  data from areas where it is  scarce:  war zones,  disaster  areas,  and wilderness, providing an independent and immutable record of events.

Hala’s interactive real-time analysis portal, Insight, provides an interface to data  aggregated from multiple sources.  In  addition  to  mapping  and  the visual display  of quantitative  information,  Insight  also  features AI-driven  tools  to  identify  trends,  predict  change,  and  instantaneously  recognize  the impact  of myriad events at scale.

Hala’s first deployment of Sentry is in areas of Syria under constant threat of indiscriminate bombing. In the last two years, Sentry has  made over 105,000 observations of threatening aircraft, reported on 6,981 airstrikes, and reached an estimated 2,100,000 people inside of Syria with its automated warnings.

According to a preliminary analysis,  Hala’s technology solutions resulted in an estimated 20-27% reduction in casualty  rates in several areas under heavy bombardment in 2018.

Hala Systems is a social enterprise that uses AI, remote sensing, and the internet of things to save lives in conflict zones, to combat disinformation, and  to protect everything that matters. We have 21 full-time staff as  well  as  49  part-time  partners. The three founders  are a rocket scientist, a former US diplomat, and  a former McKinsey consultant specialized in tech-driven social enterprise — each of whom has more than 15 years of experience.  Our team has  five PhDs and  come from institutions such  as Stanford,  MIT, Wharton, Cambridge,   UCL,  Imperial,  London  Business  School,  MIT-Lincoln  Laboratory,  Johns  Hopkins  Applied Physics Lab, Deloitte, Booz Allen, and the World Bank.

The Martin Agency had the unique opportunity to partner with Hala Systems to produce a social video, encouraging Syrian civilians to download the Sentry Syria app, which provides advance warning for random air strikes near them prompted by the Bashar al-Assad regime. The technology was covered recently in WIRED.

“The Sentry early  warning  system is  already  saving  lives,”  exclaimed  John  Jaeger, Founder and  CEO of Hala Systems. “Our plan now is to do more for the two billion people living in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.”

Genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass  rape, and  scorched earth policies continue as strategies of war. Yet technologies  such  as  AI and  the internet  of things  have radically  reduced the costs  and  increased  the feasibility of empowering civilians to protect themselves and to avert tragedy — even in the most difficult of circumstances.

“With emerging technologies, humanity has the opportunity to reduce suffering on a massive scale in ways that were previously impossible – and,  in many ways, totally unimaginable,” said Dave Levin, Founder and COO of Hala. “Our team aims to play a small part in this transformation, restoring a modicum of hope for civilians caught in conflict.”

Hala’s  work was  made possible  by an  early  investment  from global  philanthropist  Frank  Giustra, whose family foundation seeks out innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that support vulnerable populations in conflict-affected areas. Hala has also received seed funding from angel investors such as Brian Paes-Braga of Quiet Cove Foundation, Tim Young of The Young Family Foundation, and Dr. Evan Malone.

“Fast, strategic investments for groups on the ground helping to mitigate conflict and  humanitarian crises can  save lives,” said Giustra. “We plan to continue this work, with Hala and others who aim to alleviate the suffering of communities affected by conflict.”

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