Making cities safer means making security simpler
When it comes to managing multiple security systems within a city, a good rule of thumb is simpler equals safer. This happens by moving away from inefficient, siloed technology systems that require constant monitoring and input, to information-based systems that proactively manage the increasing amount of data flowing into a centralized control room.
The era of greater collaboration, security and safety insight is upon us. Government leaders who understand the value of proactive operational management are best placed to protect their residents from potential and real threats, and keep their cities moving forward.
Making the shift
As we know, citywide sensors and communication networks—both public and private—collect enormous amounts of public safety data. Maximum situational awareness can be created from gathering this information from sources such as the police, schools, private businesses and transportation networks, together securely in one place for integration and monitoring. The amount of data available to provide threat intelligence will also increase dramatically. Combined with optimum efficiency and simplicity, this also contributes to the deployment of innovative policing practices which can help keep crime levels falling.
Bringing independent systems together into a single user interface enables real-time intelligence and guidance for operators. It also allows video surveillance and crime data to be combined with other technologies, such as analytics, mapping and communication systems. Distributing this information to all stakeholders results in rapid and appropriate responses, whatever the incident or emergency, as well as more effective resource planning and incident management.
Simplification reduces the cost of evidence gathering, investigation, analysis and case management. Leaders who simplify their systems also enjoy the reduced cost of aggregating new and legacy video systems, including video export to central and remote operations, and enhance reporting features covering all centralized systems.
The bottom line is that greater situational awareness and effectiveness creates operational efficiencies and reducing costs.
Keeping it simple
Bringing systems and data together in one place is the key building block to making cities safer. Maximizing use of sensors and instrumentation, as well as data collection and analysis, becomes the foundation of a truly smart and safe city. And this, in turn, breeds more resilient and sustainable communities. The aggregation of separate systems increases the value of every part, as well future-proofing essential digital infrastructure.
Partnering on crime
Safe cities need effective security solutions for surveillance, incident prevention, emergency response, evidence collection and investment decisions. Enabling these, and the safer cities they create, brings great benefits to all those within the city. And this can work both ways, organizations within cities can help to make cities safer.
An example of this is asset sharing between the private and public sectors, and the creation of public/private partnerships, which can bring multiple benefits. Leveraging existing networks of street-facing cameras helps improve policing and transparency, through more effective and safer responses. It also saves significant amounts of money, by reducing the need to buy new public cameras in areas already covered by private CCTV, as well as reducing overall crime levels.
Focusing on what matters
With the enormous amount of data generated within an integrated safe city, understanding what is important is key to making informed decisions. Too much data can overwhelm operators, so effective integration needs to include proactive information management. This can be achieved by ensuring information collected is available in real time and can be filtered by location, incident type, historic data, etc., which helps to inform and support decision making and incident management.
The first step to making a city smart is making it safe. It’s that simple.
Daniel Bloodworth is director of emerging technologies at Everbridge. He is a seasoned security product thought leader and practitioner, having designed and delivered security integration projects for safe cities initiatives, critical infrastructure protection and corporate security. He operates at the intersection of business and technology, advancing the role of IoT in Everbridge’s critical event management strategy.