The Digital Year
Smart cities already on the rise following a hectic pandemic year
Last year, global citizens experienced dramatic shifts
to working from home in response to COVID-19
safety recommendations, with communication,
technology and security companies supporting
changing business and consumer needs with new
products, services and data security tools. At the start of 2021,
McKinsey & Company offers up “While a tumultuous and tragic
2020 will usher in a 2021 fraught with uncertainty, one thing is
crystal clear: it will be a distinctly digital year .”
Smart cities were already on the rise at the start of the 21st
century, with governments and institutions putting data to work
to improve the lives of residents and workforces. From artificial
intelligence-backed emergency response operations to traffic
management solutions and tracking carbon emissions, technology
is helping city’s improve lives.
Combined with rising smartphone use worldwide, advances
in AI technology used to track and analyze large data sets and
lowering costs for implementing smart city solutions, the way cities
use technology to improve health and safety is set for huge
advancements this year. As security professionals look to respond
to growing threats worldwide, mobility and connectivity are at
the heart of improved security efforts.
SMART CITY SECURITY: MOBILITY, CONNECTION AND AI
More than 66% of the world’s population is projected to live in
cities by 2050. As populations grow, mobile technology solutions
that support and connect law enforcement staff are growing in
importance. That is why a central component to implementing
cost effective smart city solutions is a strong digital network. As
police budgets and resources stretch, a greater reliance on technologies
that help security staff share, collect, store and use data
to respond to threats quickly and efficiently is also needed.
According to Gerhard Schaub, president of the Police Officers
Association in Zurich, Switzerland, “Police work is turning out
to become increasingly digitized, and the way we worked 40 years
ago is not an efficient way to ensure the security of a city. Police
need access to systems that are designed to be used across borders
to more effectively fight crime.”
As the amount of data cities and people collect daily grows, a
reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to collect, monitor
and understand that data is essential. Independent and disconnected
security solutions no longer offer the tools security professionals
need. For example, a security camera that doesn’t also
analyze the footage and alert officers when something important is
recorded, just adds more work to an officers’ busy schedule.
AI serves as the backbone of smart city solutions, from identifying
environmental patterns to improving transportation infrastructure.
With new mobile technology solutions collecting more
information than ever before and cloud storage solutions offering
cost effective ways to store and share data, AI-backed tools
are helping cities better understand and use that data. Across the
globe, cities are incorporating machine learning, data analytics,
visualization, and smart connected technologies to develop realtime,
dynamic systems that learn and self-regulate.
Ekin’s smart city security solutions use AI-backed data collection
and analysis tools to simplify implementation and use
by law enforcement. The company’s Red Eagle operating system
connects mobile devices, data capture and analysis, and reporting
tools to streamline citywide security, from traffic management to
surveillance cameras, with centralized management and communication
across systems. For example, it allows law enforcement
agencies and teams to compare footage from devices across the
city using multiple devices and from different locations.
Using mobile and fixed facial recognition tools, automatic license
plate readers (ALPR) and speed enforcement technology,
the Red Eagle system alerts partner police department and law
enforcement agencies when a tracked vehicle is located using push
notifications and collaborative communication tools. The system is
designed to easily share information across law enforcement agencies,
with features such as note attachments which makes it easy
to provide evidence for retroactive investigations and data sharing.
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND SMART CITIES
Smart city technologies offer affordable, long-term solutions for traffic
management, including optimizing infrastructure, reducing congestion,
improving air quality by reducing carbon emissions and lowering
traffic accident rates. That’s why traffic management continues to serve
as a central component to smart city development and the technology
that supports it will continue to dominate the future of the industry.
Law enforcement agencies tasked with managing traffic flow
and both driver and pedestrian safety are seeking more proactive
solutions that help prevent congestion and accidents before
they happen. For example, ALPR technology helps reduce the
time to identify violators who disrupt the flow of traffic. When
it is combined with mobile security solutions that offer citywide
connectivity, law enforcement professionals gain the ability to not
only detect a violation but also quickly and efficiently respond.
ALPR and speed detection technology dominate the field when
it comes to smart traffic solutions. However, cities have varying levels
and needs with respect to smart traffic management solutions,
so delivering solutions that are customizable and
work within a city’s current model are necessary.
And training is needed as new solutions are implemented,
to ensure they are used to the maximum
This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Security Today.