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How to Enhance Public Safety With Emerging Technologies

Security leaders are investing in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, biometric solutions and advanced communication networks.

When an unforeseen act of violence, theft or cyber attack takes place, it catches us off-guard and shatters our sense of well-being. It can take form in an active shooter situation, a robbery, terror attack, or any other threat taking place that puts the general public and commercial sector in danger. To shift to greater prevention and more real-time response and mitigation, the use of emerging new technologies is creating the opportunity for organizations to be better prepared and to prevent or diminish the impact.

 

To prevent threat situations from happening, and to be prepared to react swiftly when there is danger, governments, businesses and schools alike can effectively deploy emerging technologies – like converged cyber-physical security monitoring, alert and detection sensors, biometric technology for access control, and advanced communication networks and analytics that enable predictive modeling and much faster response times – in order to eliminate or reduce the amount of potential loss, injuries/casualties and damage.

 

Below are some ways that emerging technologies are changing how organizations think about and enhance security and public safety today.

 

Converged Security

 

Organizations across the globe have a responsibility to keep their employees, visitors and assets safe and secure. To do this, it’s important to embrace the ability to map one’s security systems across physical security, IT/cyber security and operational technology platforms – to avoid and eliminate gaps and risk. Across the spectrum of “PS, OT, IT” technology integration, it will also stimulate greater collaboration between cross-functional teams and departments.

 

This is extremely important for a wide range of organizations – from those open to the general public day-in and day-out, such as malls, schools, amusement parks, museums, and sports venues, to large manufacturing and industrial environments with a high value of physical and data assets, and to government and critical infrastructure facilities and systems.

 

To integrate converged security solutions, business and government leaders are investing in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, that connects to smart cameras to alert them of suspicious activity, equipping security guards with wearable technology to notify them of any known dangers, deploying ground robots and drones to enhance human security teams, building technology sensors into perimeter security, and advanced monitoring systems to connect the private and public sector and law enforcement.  

 

With these solutions, organizations are able to build a stronger, more secure environment by integrating both the technology and teams.   

 

Detection and Biometric Technology

 

A key part of improving public safety today is with the use of advanced technology that can detect threats, such as gunshot detection systems, facial recognition cameras and sophisticated AI-based surveillance systems – which are extremely beneficial to law enforcement, emergency response personnel, as well as private organizations.

 

For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) have adapted gunshot detection systems – first used by the military – to help law enforcement identify gunshots over a large area to an accuracy of within a few feet. With access to this type of advanced technology, police officers are able to accurately and immediately respond when there’s an active shooter in a crowded, public area to reduce the amount of potential carnage and collect data from the scene for evidence later on.

 

Advanced cameras that responsibly use facial recognition are growing in popularity and an effective way to protect everyday citizens from people with malicious intent. Law enforcement agencies, including the DHS, have already begun implementing this type of technology in airports to verify the identity of people entering or exiting the United States. Additionally, other law-enforcement agencies, such as regional police departments, are using the technology to help identify suspects or missing people.

 

As these systems continue to develop via government use-cases and development labs, they’re also gaining traction for businesses and consumers by using facial, fingerprint and or/retina biometrics as an added security measure on public and personal devices and for access control in buildings.

 

Advanced Communication Networks

 

Finally, to connect all of these technologies and ensure emergency personnel and the general public are able to communicate in the case of an emergency, advanced communication networks like 5G and first responder-dedicated networks have been developed and are being used to better protect the public when disaster strikes.

 

While 5G is currently in its early stages of deployment, the technology promises to revolutionize connectivity for everyone by delivering new levels of performance and efficiency to elevate mobile communication and the Internet of Things (IoT). The technology will power smart cities, offer real-time communication for law enforcement and emergency medical response, to interconnect and control machines, and much more – all of which will contribute to improving public safety.

 

Similarly, public safety-dedicated networks like AT&T’s FirstNet, Verizon’s Responder Private Core and more, have already began to vastly improve public safety by giving emergency personnel a way to safely and accurately communicate with one another at all times – even when public cell networks are extremely congested or lines are down during a natural disaster. For example, at a sporting event that might congest cell networks for the general public, police officers would be able to communicate seamlessly on a dedicated network to speak with other emergency responders and have them dispatched in real-time in case there’s a threat to public safety that requires immediate attention.

 

Implementing Technology and Strategies Within Your Organization

 

As a security professional, no matter what type of organization you’re involved with – there is a great responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of your employees, customers or citizens  – whether at a school, restaurant, stadium, commercial building, airport or wide open public spaces.

 

Embrace pilot projects for emerging technology, align and motivate your cross-functional teams to collaborate, aim to build it into the standard procurement process, and get executive leadership buy-in and commitment for both funding and long term organizational change. Today’s innovation can be tomorrow’s proven best practice, charting the course for a safer and secure future.   

 

For additional security and public safety industry resources that can be of value to you during this challenging economic and COVID-19 timeframe, refer to ISC resources and Security Industry Association resources as follows: ISC West, ISC News and Security Industry Association.

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