Internet of things, it is a word often used these days. But how do you apply it to improve the life of the refugees that dominate the world news? Dick Klaassen is inspired by this subject and it shows in his talks. During the second Gulf War he guarded the border between Turkey and Iraq and later served in Afghanistan. He saw what conflict can do to people. After 11 years he ended his career in the Air force. Because as he explains with wide gestures: “I’d rather go to places where people want my help.” So his work with ‘Doctors without Borders’ began. He lead the technical department of a hospital in South Sudan and had a first-hand look at the conditions that force people to become refugees. As he worked here he realized things aren’t as black and white as they are often portrayed. Today, back in The Netherlands, Dick has become a real family man. With a second daughter on the way, Dick wants to help the millions of families stuck in refugee camps to create humane living conditions for themselves. Deploying internet of things in refugee camps, Dick wants to get a “camp in the cloud” using LoRa technology. If that wasn’t enough he aims to do it using something he calls Symbiotic Entrepreneurship. What that means and how he plans to do it, you will learn from his talk.

“When I worked in a hospital in South-Sudan I met Steven”, Dick Klaassen tells. “Steven’s village was attacked and half the huts were burned. The attackers only burned the huts with people in them. Only the huts with people in them! Steven’s wife and daughters were burned…”

Steven’s story doesn’t stand alone. His story is representative for refugees worldwide.

What if we could solve any problem with any refugee? Dick decided to use technology and the internet to develop a device which could help refugees. An intelligent ‘box’ called ‘node’.

There are various possibilities to use the node. To offer vaccines on time, keep vaccines at the right temperature, sending messages to the right people, to send help to women in need using gps, to find lost children and measuring the taurine level in drinking water. Many people can be saved.

Of course, there are countless initiatives. And we’re trying to solve a global problem. Having an idea alone is not enough, it is just the beginning. We can only influence solutions on this scale when we work together. If we refuse to close our eyes.

What can companies and individuals do to improve living conditions for refugees?

What could you do? Don't underestimate the power of the crowd. Your power and skills. Everyone can help.


During Dick’s engaging talk his website went live. See what you can do and visit: