Leading the Way

Technology is promoting a safer and more secure society

Keeping citizens safe and secure are the fundamental responsibilities of government and public services. With society facing new challenges, such as the changing nature of crime and pressure on police time, our cities are being forced to update their security responses to ensure they remain safe. With the UN predicting that 70 percent of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050, those in charge of public safety and security in our growing smart cities are turning to specialist technology to provide these solutions.

It is predicted that by 2025, public safety technology in smart cities will collate data from different sources into a single centralized control system. This system will then analyze information and distribute commands. Our smart cities will be made safer as a result.

Three technologies within this unified center are cybersecurity, video surveillance and digital policing. By easily and efficiently sharing information across devices, these technologies will protect our data and our cities.

Protecting our Digital Footprint

Integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into our social infrastructure, like energy networks, have significant benefits, such as connecting devices and sharing information. But, it also creates a heightened security risk. Hackers intent on causing harm to society now have more opportunity to access sensitive data or shut down systems. Cybersecurity technology has therefore been introduced to strengthen our cities’ systems and protect our data from hacking.

The best cyber protection takes a broad view, providing protection at the system, organization and operational levels. Tech such as Hitachi Vantara’s advanced cybersecurity analytics covers these requirements. Vantara’s solution allows users to act quickly to defend their property. The system detects and analyzes intrusions rapidly, in some cases cutting the time from months to days, thus preventing harm.

Watching Over Cities

As the dynamics of terrorism and criminal activity continue to become more sophisticated, and as our built environment continues to change, intelligent AI security cameras will become an integral technology in protecting our cities.

AI enabled video intelligence can detect more than 100 different personal attributes. These include height, approximate age, hairstyle, clothes, bags and even the way people are moving—all without the input of a human operator. The AI then takes these characteristics and turns them into a numerical description, or data profile, and stores them in a feature database that is shared between cameras. This solves the issue of a criminal suspect moving beyond the range of any single camera. This means that cameras are assisting in providing real-time updates and alerts to security services.

Smart video surveillance can also be trained to recognize and analyze situations and non-human targets to solve an issue like congestion on roads. By using AI machine learning technology, smart city surveillance cameras can monitor traffic flows, vehicles and even empty parking spaces. By sending commands to connected infrastructure, such as traffic lights, they can even prevent further safety issues.

Digital Policing

Police technology has also become more sophisticated to help officers manage their time. Modern police forces are under pressure to be out on the front line, whilst also completing necessary administration back at the station. To combat these time constraints, technology is being deployed to better prepare and equip our police forces.

By having data-enabled smart tech on the ground, such as smart phones and biometric recognition, information is quickly transmitted back to the station, cutting down time spent on reporting. Eight police forces in the UK which have been testing the use of smart devices saw better productivity, as officers were able to spend more time on the street rather than completing administrative tasks.

There has also been greater investment in connected technologies for officers on the beat, which includes smart body-worn video and drones. This technology allows for interactions to be recorded as they happen. Officers can also receive real-time information and instruction quickly from the control room. This means an officer arriving at an incident is armed with a wealth of information on the person involved, the environment they are entering and any previously reported incidents. This in turn allows for quicker decision-making and increased officer safety.

While we still clearly need police officers’ knowledge and judgement, integrating smart tech will help them spend more time protecting us effectively.

Looking Forward

To react to new concerns and threats, the authorities charged with our safety and security are looking to technology for assistance. From preventing low level disturbances to cybercrime, smart tech is vital. Having demonstrated its impact on our services already, technology’s capabilities will continue to be built upon, making our lives easier and safer.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Security Today.

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