The term ‘Smart Technology’ has been with us for a while and has witnessed intelligent technology being integrated with many facets of our lives. From the arrival of Smart Phones a decade ago, we are seeing the prevalence of Smart Homes and even Smart City technology.
However, with the considerable freedoms and automation of this technology, it’s also vital to consider safety and security as well.
Speaking as a security expert, I truly believe you can’t underestimate the need to ensure this most basic of needs, especially in our rapidly hyper-connected world.
When we talk about Smart Cities though, it makes more sense to look at things from the broader point of view of safety rather than just security. Smart City planners need to think about how they can use this technology to make a city safer and ensure the inhabitants feel safer too.
The Right Tools for The Job
The modern portfolio of powerful integrated security systems is perfect for deployment in a Smart City environment. Consider remotely connected CCTV and the analysis of ‘Big Data’ (the complex movements of the city infrastructure) or using online analytics to automatically detect when an incident is taking place. These systems can instantly alert an operator to an incident (or potential incident) and automatically marshal resources to where they are needed, ensuring the issue is taken care of immediately.
It’s not just about reacting either. Big Data can also be analysed to pinpoint where crime hotspots are, or where potential hotspots could be developing. This allows the city to deploy policing or security teams to tackle these issues. Criminals are far less likely to prey on an area if they see it is regularly monitored and patrolled by the police and security teams.
These applications of Smart City safety are already evident in locations such as New York, which is successfully utilising this approach to bring the incidences of crime down and to make its citizens feel safer. The ability to be able to predict problems using rules-based engines is taking away a significant percentage of the guesswork traditionally associated with policing in urban areas, making it more effective and far more resource-efficient too.
Broader Security Measures
There are other, perhaps less obvious ways of approaching the security and safety of smart cities too. Smart Streetlighting, for example, ensures the lights are always on when people need them, using proximity sensors which also ensure energy savings when they aren’t needed. These systems precisely and automatically adjust to the evolving needs of the area.
Smart Traffic systems can also monitor traffic volumes, giving greater control on the movement of vehicles and helping to reduce the number of potential accidents and incidents. Known ‘bottlenecks’ or high-risk junctions can be monitored closely and integrated with traffic control measures accordingly.
This is equally useful when it comes to people movement. Pedestrians on mass transport, in public spaces or entering large buildings, can be monitored and entrances/exits controlled to ensure people are safe and able to move around as quickly as possible.
Using Technology for The Right Reasons
When it comes to Smart Cities it’s easy to be dazzled by the potential of the technology, but it’s vital that planners and management teams take a step back and consider prime concerns such as safety from the very beginning.
Once you consider safety (and the perception of it) it’s much easier and more effective to plan a highly efficient Smart City. Technology is an amazing enabler, but the basic processes need to be in place to ensure it becomes a help rather than a hinderance!