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From crisis management to crime networks, getting social pays off

Hospital emergency personnel and other first responders were — rightfully — heralded as heroes during last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Their valiant performance aside, there were still valuable IT lessons learned, detailed in this week’s Searchlight.

This year, Boston’s hospitals have noticeably improved their crisis management processes. Along with a new, centralized single-page disaster tracking system, which all Boston hospitals can access, social media and its by-the-minute updates will play an even bigger role for crisis responders. Hospitals will closely follow social posts, particularly Twitter, and use them as an early warning system to better prepare medical response teams.

Mining social data isn’t a boon just for crisis teams – law enforcement agencies are making interesting finds because of it as well. Turns out, criminal networks and our very own social and business networks look kind of similar. By applying social network theory to mobile phone data, police agents are getting a unique look into what really makes up the social side of crime.

Also this week: Install the Windows 8.1 update or bust!; (soft) robots of the future; bid on Bill Clinton’s ’90s laptop; and more.

Check out the week’s highlights over at our Searchlight column!

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