Integration is key for smart city security

Issue 9 2020 Security Services & Risk Management

While smart cities are about enhancing the lives of people through smart technology, security is an essential aspect of the success of a smart city. This is simply because the main priority for municipalities, as well as the private sector, is to provide citizens with a safe place to live and work.

In today’s environment, security is about much more than keeping crime at bay, but also plays a key role in governance, monitoring and control functions of the smart city. More importantly, security is not a government-only responsibility, but a business and community one too. For smart city security to be successful, there are crucial considerations to take into account.

The role of security

For city planners, security needs to be a primary design consideration. Security is essential during every step of the development lifecycle. In today’s complex and technology driven city environment, security surveillance has become much more than surveillance cameras and fighting criminal activity, it means taking a holistic approach. Crime is still a key challenge in the South African environment and relies on much more than physical security.

If we consider that today, sensors coupled with Internet of things (IoT) cloud based databases monitor things like weather, air quality, traffic, radiation and water levels, these can be used to automatically inform vital services like traffic and street lights, security systems, and emergency alerts. This makes the rapidly growing population of cities work more efficiently and without the exhaustion of resources.

We could also consider the effect of COVID-19 on our everyday lives, where places of work and public facilities need to ensure social distancing for the safety of citizens. Surveillance plays a critical role here where the data can be used for crowd control, infection risk areas and governance decisions.

Furthermore, smart security with technology innovation at the core, and at multiple touch points, can ensure that the private security sector’s deployment of crime prevention technology supports the larger policing of communities. These technological deployments reduce the pressure on the local policing and government structures by providing a solid supporting function to the larger security mix in South Africa.

The technology

How smart a city is, is typically observed by the degree of technology advancement and deployment within a given city. It is important for businesses and municipalities to partner with manufacturers that supply sophisticated security transmission technology and applications if we are to move into the smart city space. For municipalities, it is even more important that partners have a national distribution arm providing countrywide access to a vast array of security technologies, electronic products and an established network to ensure unification of smart cities that efficiently communicate with each other.


Duran Vieira.

Integrated, smart technologies

When the concept of smart cities first came into play, many imagined a world of seamless cohesion. But the reality is, smart cities are made up of an overabundance of devices that often come from different manufacturers and utilise different wireless technologies. Security can be a challenge due to the involvement of many technologies and the interconnections of different networks and components. Therefore, interoperability management can be challenging. This is often due to the change of security solution providers, or the adoption of technologies that do not speak to the existing security infrastructure – amongst other challenges.

Therefore, adoption needs to be deliberately strategic in ensuring interoperability to save developmental costs and ensure systematic inclusions of solutions are put in place that may be used by response teams, the police, and whatever other response structures that exist. This will ensure resources are used properly, and that data is central – while ensuring the core function of a safer city is achieved.

Smart cities present a truly aspirational future for African economies that will be part of the global community. While evidently playing a key role of fighting the challenge of crime, in the smart city the role of security will extend to protecting citizens from much more than crime and in fact, create opportunity for businesses, government and citizens to live and work in a much safer environment. The price for peace of mind and economic sustainability is certainly not too much to pay.

For more information contact Duran Vieira, Amecor, +27 11 477 2600, duran@amecor.com, www.amecor.com


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