Helping police find missing persons faster with IBM Watson

for IBM

01 About the project

300,000 people go missing in the UK every year. When it comes to a missing person every minute matters. So IBM decided to create an app that used AI to help the UK police force find missing people faster.

How? By using IBM Watson’s cognitive intelligence to combine search data, transport, weather, CCTV and facial recognition software to rapidly narrow down search areas for the police search teams. Cases closed faster and lives were saved.

02 Our strategy

We are all responsible when someone goes missing.

Time-poor police forces and search teams need real-time insight to find missing people faster. By having a better-defined search radius based on instant data, police efforts can be more focussed and targeted, resulting in missing people getting found faster.

The key requirement was the app needed to be easy to access, fast to use and provide real-time insight.

Our strategy
Brightful's Searchlight App for IBM and the UK Police Force helping to find missing people faster.

03 For IBM we delivered:

  • Product strategy
  • Product naming, brand identity and MVP
  • Audience profiles and launch campaign planning
  • Marketing material (posters and pop-up banners for police conferences)
  • Internal campaign materials for IBM’s offices
  • A full year’s marketing plan for immediate rollout
  • A targeted Twitter campaign to increase adoption
  • A succinct video presentation for the IBM team to take to key stakeholders


For IBM we delivered:

04 IBM Searchlight Product Demo

We produced a video demo to explain how IBM Searchlight’s AI integration with IBM Watson works in practice.

05 The impact


of The Drum’s Do it Day Achievement and Challenger Award, 2016


IBM is now using product nationally


Average search times dropped from 24hrs to 12 hrs in initial pilot project.

“We are now at the prototype stage with the app and have something we can demonstrate to police forces. Here today, these great people have actually taken our app and come up with loads of great ideas and a full year’s marketing plan on how we can take it out to market.”

The core challenge that the IBM Searchlight app addressed.
Time is critical when it comes to finding missing people.
The core problem the IBM Searchlight app solves.
Brightful's logo for the IBM Searchlight app, powered by IBM Watson.
What the IBM Searchlight app does: finds missing people faster.
Brightful's Searchlight leaflet for IBM and the UK Police Force helping to find missing people faster.
Brightful's Searchlight App for IBM and the UK Police Force helping to find missing people faster.
Supporting International Missing Children's Day
Raising awareness at IBM's London Headquarters of IBM Searchlight app
IBM Searchlight App and Brightful team wins The Drum Challengers Award, 2016
The team that won the Drum Do It Award including Richard Coope, MD of Brightful
Winners of The Drum Challenger Award for the IBM Searchlight App, 2016

Want to find out more about IBM Searchlight?

Download our Drum Do It Day award-winning presentation here.

    Here's to you moving faster from MVP to product!

    Deliver clever solutions

    Move from MVP to product faster

    Sprints that make a difference >>
    Digital 25 November 2019

    How to move forward faster with AI