Key to Building a Smart City: Part I – Safety and Security
Following on from where I left in my last blog, I would like to dwell upon first of the five key issues that need immediate attention in order to build a robust and sustainable Smart City – Safety and Security.
As Indian cities continue to grow in population, size and complexity, there is an increased focus on infrastructure and services. Smart cities are hotbeds for investments, businesses and skilled labour which are necessary for economic growth and development, however, it also attracts wrongdoers, ranging from petty criminals to lethal terrorist attacks. Therefore, it is important for a city to be equipped with monitoring mechanisms and safety systems like IP based Video Surveillance.
The Indian law enforcement agencies have already moved from manual to video surveillance by monitoring public areas in several cities. However, the current use of video surveillance technology has so far been sporadic and unsatisfactory in some cases but, if coupled with social media and analytics, this could be effectively put to use for tracking incidents and suspects thus helping the agencies to deliver quicker response.
In 2013, Mumbai Police launched a ‘social media lab’ in conjunction with NASSCOM and a social media app company which would track and provide sentiment analysis, identify behavioural patterns, influencers and advocates, monitor increase in chatter and generate alerts in real-time on social media platforms. This allows the police to understand citizens’ emotions and connect with them. By doing so, they have got the citizens involved in the law and order management and this could lead to Community Policing. Some of the Indian police agencies have a facebook page and a twitter handle to connect with the citizens.
The agencies are increasingly looking for sophisticated solutions which can give them an edge with a fully integrated solution comprising of video surveillance and social media and analytics with the key component being a reliable connectivity. Mobile networks are a fundamental to this requirement by serving a seamless communication channel between citizens and the agencies through these apps. Given that the agencies would lack the expertise to man the operations center where they could capture and store, analyze and orchestrate between the various pieces of the architecture, this presents a huge opportunity for the Service Providers to run these as a Service.
Real time availability and analysis would be the key requirements apart from securely storing the information in huge data banks. This could lay the foundation of building a single purpose data centre which not only allows exchange of information between different government agencies but also helps the government to monitor, coordinate and communicate with all its agencies in one go. An example would be that a crime scene could require the police, fire department, health services etc to coordinate effectively.
So, what are the key components for the solution?
- Tier 3/4 data centres with disaster recovery sites
- Smart street lighting with integrated video surveillance that is capable of motion detection and inbuilt Wi-Fi for connectivity
- Application platform or broker which would allow information exchange between the agencies
- Development of apps for the agencies and citizens to get and share information.
Thus, by addressing this issue effectively, citizens can:
- Be assured of safer streets and neighbourhoods
- Provide the ability to report city safety incidents
- Better communications about incidents to get to a quick response
Cisco has teamed with AGT International, a global leader in city solutions, to offer the first Smart+Connected Safety and Security solution. More details of this solution can be found at: AGT and Cisco City Safety Solution: Making Cities Safe and Secure