SAFER CITIES CAN BE DESIGNED INTO SMART CITIES:

Let’s Connect Machines & People, Let’s Collaborate Across The Culture

Published: 04/25/2018

Using smart technology for public security is an opportunity for those investing in improving physical infrastructure to embed safety innovations as part of the strategy, plan and budget.

Public safety and security is always at the top of the agenda or priority list for cities and municipalities worldwide.

The corporate world is teaming up with the public sector to build private Internet of Things and real time communications networks, providing, municipal, police and emergency services that keep a watchful and respectful eye to ensure the safety of the public at large.

As our cities get larger, civic resources are increasingly under pressure. While there are many examples of security cameras enhancing local public safety efforts, it is the real time quality of the images captured, artificial intelligence and automation analyzing real time images for patterns, and software that triggers faster responses to emergency situations that are making a difference.

Using a secure, private extranet connecting devices to networks, clouds and applications, command and control experts in cities are enabling public and private services to work together more efficiently. For example, cities are starting to allow business owners with security cameras to register those cameras to a common database, making it faster to compile image capture and act on it.

The improvement in secure, wireless broadband capacity (and related improvements in economics) and the advent of increasingly automated movement of data between cellular, fixed, fiber and spectrum network technologies is making the monitoring of our public assets and spaces more available than ever.

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And while things - including innovations like drones, traffic rerouting systems, smoke and chemical detectors, water security systems that can sense harmful toxins, police cameras in vehicles and worn as part of the new everyday uniform of police officers - are providing oceans of data to next-generation city management platforms- it is the ability for human beings to interact with data that will bring cities to a new level in the digital transformation age.

IP networking including proximity tuned networks which improve the availability and quality of voice, data, video and secure messaging applications can turn a vulnerable community into a smart and safe community.

Advanced digital infrastructure programs can be rolled out along with new roads, bridges, tunnels, waterways and public spaces integrating a diverse range of information across applications, departments and regions.

Sensors can trigger automatic alerts to employees - including any “subscriber” of that data, whose human communications devices can include software clients that allow them to immediately join a voice or video conference.

Now that communications networks are virtualized, and cloud communications has matured dramatically, these high-performance, completely “dark” interactions can be orchestrated and managed with policy.

These private networks can be programmed based on well-thought through “in case of emergency” logistics, with every relevant first responder notified, along with city officials, administrative leaders, hospitals and even citizens depending on the application.

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Amber and Silver alerts are just two early examples of how messaging within a community and region can help authorities find abducted and missing children and older adults. Weather alerts are another potentially life-saving service, particularly important in times of extreme storms, floods, fires and more.

The real time nature of human collaboration is the next big thing in building smart cities, with mobile applications that can coordinate immediate responses, while also coordinating with citizens to improve collaboration and coordination efforts in emergency situations.

With smart devices joined to a private broadband extranet, officials can pick up live feeds virtually throughout the city and can coordinate across dozens or hundreds of officials.

Even as visionary leaders bake digital communications technologies into their massive physical infrastructure projects, and more and more systems are interconnected - including, for example, a community’s energy grid - security across multiple networks is mission critical. Every session - whether a voice conversation or a machine talking to another machine - must be fully secured, managed, monitored and hack-proof.

With planning and partnership, private and public sector engagement, machine and human communications sessions on high quality networks connected to local clouds with low latency features will allow society to implement real-time coordination, with voice and multimedia service, playing a critical role in dealing with emergencies and guaranteeing the safety of people, even while remaining discretely in the background.

While privacy issues must be and are being addressed, the combination of cameras, sensors, GPS systems, and automatically triggered human collaboration has such huge potential that it only makes sense to make sure we are building not just safe - but smart - and secure cities protecting democracy, safeguarding children, and keeping all people out of harm’s way.