Smart cities must be safety cities Close

June 2017: Smart cities must be safety cities



Bottom Line: As municipalities across the globe evaluate their smart-city strategies, they must ensure that their smart-cities are safe. Case studies from Asia Pacific demonstrate the diverse approaches for using smart city initiatives to enable situational awareness capabilities to improve public safety for safer cities.


Background

Public safety, conjures up images of unsung heroes who regularly confront adversity to save lives. Traditionally dedicated and specialized technologies have been used to ensure the needs of public safety are supported securely and reliably. However increasingly, public safety agents rely on commercial technologies like 4G-LTE, and smart-city solutions such as video surveillance, sensor networks, and data analytics and intelligence to provide situational awareness capabilities.

While smart-city initiatives have diverse objectives, we believe that a core tenet must be that if a city is smart, then it needs to be safe. This requires cities to pay attention towards public safety services and technologies and their integration with smart-city solutions. Public safety primarily includes law enforcement, emergency response, and emergency medical and information services. Cities have varied approaches towards public safety depending on the challenges that they face. We profile several in this article to illustrate the diversity of solutions that are being implemented within Asia Pacific region.

Indonesia

heroes who regularly confront adversity to save lives. Traditionally dedicated and specialized technologies have been used to ensure the needs of public safety are supported securely and reliably. However increasingly, public safety agents rely on commercial technologies like 4G-LTE, and smart-city solutions such as video surveillance, sensor networks, and data analytics and intelligence to provide situational awareness capabilities. While smart-city initiatives have diverse objectives, we believe that a core tenet must be that if a city is smart, then it needs to be safe. This requires cities to pay attention towards public safety services and technologies and their integration with smart-city solutions. Public safety primarily includes law enforcement, emergency response, and emergency medical and information services. Cities have varied approaches towards public safety depending on the challenges that they face. We profile several in this article to illustrate the diversity of solutions that are being implemented within Asia Pacific region. Indonesia In Indonesia traffic accidents and fatalities cost $25 billion annually, with many accidents occurring in Jakarta. Indonesia also terrible flooding during the monsoon season, and will be hosting the Asia Games in Jakarta in 2018. Jakarta Smart City (JSC) was launched in 2014 to address these challenges. JSC has launched a variety of public safety orientated smart-city solutions that rely on a growing online population in Jakarta, that has an insatiable appetite for social media. In addition to video streams from 6000 surveillance cameras and other sensor devices and data sources, JSC has developed innovative platforms for crowd sourcing data from its citizens. To address traffic safety, JSC has implemented smart technologies to track and optimize the routing for public vehicles, efficiently identify and fine those who violate road rules and to report real-time flooding data during monsoon season. Smart technologies are also being used to improve public transportation and pedestrian access, to reduce congestion and the likelihood for traffic incidents. JSC has plans to advance its solutions with improved data analytics and visualization capabilities.

Singapore

Singapore is a smart-city pioneer and is now focused on becoming a "smart-nation". In the context of public safety, Singapore plans to densify its city surveillance with cameras and other sensor technologies. It is working towards enabling autonomous vehicles to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety, and residential sensor technologies to enable proactive medical care amongst its elderly. The Singaporean Government is uniquely positioned to implement large scale residential sensor networks because 80 percent of Singaporean citizens live in government housing and most citizens are already accustomed to a heightened level of surveillance relative to other countries. However, to avert privacy concerns, we believe that the Singaporean Government would require sufficient and demonstrable benefit from the "smart-nation" solutions that it implements.

A global forecast for PS-LTE subscriptions amongst law enforcement, fire and rescue and emergency medical services is illustrated in Exhibit 2. The forecast predicts that LTE-PS subscriptions will reach 69 million by 2030, of which 29 million will come from the Asia Pacific region. PS-LTE will see robust growth after 2022, when increased demand for broadband capabilities is anticipated, and the availability of radio spectrum and suitable funding and mobile operator support assumed.

Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh

There are many more smart-city solutions for public safety throughout the Asia Pacific region. For example, Project NOAH, (now UP-NOAH) in the Philippines uses advanced geophysical data, and sophisticated reporting schemes for effective first responses in the event of natural disasters. Anyang City, in South Korea, has integrated over 3500 surveillance cameras with analytics and law enforcement to reduce the crime rate in the city by 20 percent. In 2016, Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam embarked on a project to deploy thousands of security and traffic cameras, analytics and data visualization systems to support a variety of smart-city applications, including proactive public safety. In Dhaka plans have been made to upgrade its street lights with wirelessly connected smart-lights that incorporate surveillance camera technology and a variety of other innovations including "SOS buttons" for citizens to call for emergency services. This initiative is capitalizing on the maturity of smart-street-light infrastructure in other regions, with adaptations specific to the Dhaka market.

What could possibly go wrong?

The stakes are high when public safety relies on smart-city solutions for mission critical capabilities. This was exemplified in January 2017, when foreign hackers seized control of 70 percent of the security cameras in Washington DC with Ransomware, just ahead of the Trump inauguration. Other more benign attacks have targeted smart-city transportation systems and data streams to demonstrate critical vulnerabilities that cities must address.

Smart cities must also address the privacy concerns of their citizens and the implications when their data is hacked for malicious intent. While data is generally regarded as an asset, it is also a potential liability. Instead of collecting and storing raw data to support public safety services, cities might benefit from filtering techniques to reduce the sensitivity of the data collected, without necessarily compromising public safety demands.

Although smart city solutions have implementation challenges for public safety, the potential benefits are tremendous, so long as cities have measured and pragmatic implementation strategies. Cities must also provide sufficient funding to ensure ongoing operations are reliable and secure.

Exhibit 1: SWOT analysis for safe smart cities
Source: Tolaga Research, 2017

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