Creating a “Safe City” has universal appeal to governments and their citizenry. As recent implementations around the world have proven, the use of next generation communications—things like 4G LTE (News - Alert) and other broadband technologies— enable higher touch experiences between government and citizens, faster responses in emergency and non-emergency situations, and cost-effective video surveillance. The result is cities that are not just figuratively but literally are safer.
A good example of how this is all playing out was highlighted in a recent series of Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) LifeTalk articles. The first, Collaboration Driving Safe City Economics. It explores the safe city initiative taking place in Chattanooga,Tennessee.
The city has a cutting-edge safe city program that incorporates nine different city departments and agents across nine counties. The next gen solution supplied by Alcatel-Lucent with partners includes 56 separate applications, 2,500 voice devices in a robust telephony network and 100 database and application servers. It serves a regional constituency of more than 400,000 residents. And, the good news is that this safe city deployment has demonstrated a strong ROI.
The case for public safety leveraging 4G LTE is compelling. It has enabled greater interoperability between city agencies and departments, which is effectively changing the value models in terms of city security. The ROI has been quantified with pilot projects and dashboards, proving the business case for the implementation and management of the safe city.
The collaboration between public and private entities, as well as new partnerships formed among providers, is bringing added value born from the intelligent design that was implemented not just with short-term but longer term objectives in mind. In fact, the benefits are expected to continue to rise as new technologies, such as live video streaming, further penetration of 4G LTE, RFID, machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and unmanned aerial vehicles are put in place.
“The problem a lot of organizations have with accelerating safe city development is trying to convince first responders and other stakeholders that the investment is worthwhile,” says Steven Webb, Vice President, Aerospace, Defense and Security, Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) in the LifeTalk article, Collaboration Driving Safe City Economics. He added, “Quantifying that across multiple departments can be quite challenging, but we are seeing that there are a number of organizations working hard to provide a live city dashboard by leveraging more and more data.”
Another LifeTalk posting, Intelligent Design for Safe Cities, has an expert’s view on the importance of intelligent design for assuring proper outcomes. Gaspar Viega, Alcatel-Lucent’s Senior Director, Public Safety & State/Local Government, Strategic Industries-Public Sector, says that such designs can be viewed in terms of three questions:
- How is crime reduced?
- How is mobility promoted?
- How is a better environment for a safe and quality life created?
He notes that, “You have to look at this concept in the context of a particular city, its environment and its needs.” Gaspar Veiga further says, ”If you think about safety only in terms of reducing crime, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the city will be kept safe. For example, you can look at casualties from poor traffic management and auto accidents. It’s also about the level of pollution in a city, traffic safety or even the limits of the deployment itself. This is how a safe city should be analyzed.”
The implementation and management of the safe city, through collaboration and consulting initiatives, helps to ensure a better quality of life, as well as economic attractiveness. As urbanization and population growth continue to cause new security and safety threats for the safe and smarter city, a balance must be achieved between city security, mobility and the environment.
It seems increasingly clear that authorities currently in the process of deploying safe city initiatives should align with a trust partner to leverage a complete solution, including implementation, consulting and management. As metrics indicate, the success of a safe city initiative depends on the upfront intelligent design of the overall communications network, as well as the smart solutions layered on top. Alcatel-Lucent is working with cities around the world to design, develop and manage networks that leverage network intelligence to enable better coordination, collaboration and ultimate a safer city with enhanced governmental responsiveness to everything from the mundane to time-critical emergencies.
Edited by Peter Bernstein