With the increasing frequency of crime, terrorism and natural disasters, public safety has become a critical issue for governments worldwide. Protecting citizens’ lives and properties means building safe cities that are able to withstand external shocks.
Using new ICT solutions and services, governments can enable a properly connected safe city where visualisation and collaboration are embedded into the city’s infrastructure to maximise public safety. This enables the safe city to become a critical component in smart city development.
New ICT, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile broadband, video cloud and big data, are developing rapidly, and are widely used in areas including integrated monitoring, warning plans, emergency communications, and decision-making support. With safe city solutions, comprehensive perception, emergency command visualisation and effective inter-departmental coordination can be realised, creating a three-dimensional, intelligent public safety system for a city.
Huawei hosted its Safe City Africa Summit & Kenya Showcase 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya from October 14-15, 2016, attracting more than 200 global customers, partners, experts, and industry analysts in the public safety sector. Entitled ‘Leading New ICT, Making Cities Safer’, the summit showcased safe city best practices in cities like Nairobi and Mombasa, and gave attendees the latest insights on industry trends.
The government of Kenya has embraced safe city solutions as a national strategy. Huawei teamed up with Safaricom to implement the first phase of Kenya’s Safe City project, covering the most densely populated cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. Following the completion of the project, these cities have improved their local security and according to the Kenya Police annual report, crime rates from 2014 to 2015 decreased by 46% in areas covered by the safe city project.
Kamal Naim, head of ICT, UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlement Programme), stated in his keynote speech that a safer city is grounded on three main pillars of prevention: law enforcement and CJS reform, social prevention and urban design. An integrated, multi-sectorial approach to improving the liveability of cities and quality of life for all urban residents, predicated on the confidence that good urban governance, planning and management can improve safety.
According to the latest research from IHS Markit, the market scale of public safety equipment is estimated to increase from US$ 13 billion in 2015 to US$ 20 billion in 2020.
Hong-Eng Koh, Huawei’s global chief public safety expert, said in his keynote speech that while intelligent video surveillance, broadband trunked radio and computer-aided dispatch are crucial, they are not enough to create a safe city. There is a need for policing cloud to link up the silos of different public safety agencies for better information sharing and user experience. With the exponential growth of data from traditional policing records, video surveillance, social networks and the Internet of Things, big data analytics are important too. Together these technologies can help in threats prevention, and if not preventable, early detection for faster response and recovery, with the aim of reducing loss of life and property, and bringing justice and normalcy to society.
Partner cooperation to build an ecosystem
At the summit, Huawei displayed its new smart safe city solution, co-developed by Huawei and its partners. The solution consists of the world’s first visualised and converged command system, the industry’s first 4G professional trunking system, cross-region and cross-agency video cloud, and business-driven safe city ICT infrastructure.
Additionally, Safaricom shared its cooperation with Huawei in the development of the Kenya Safe City project. According to a speech from Shaka Kwach, who is the head of the special projects department at Safaricom, the deployments of Huawei's Safe City solution in Nairobi and Mombasa has drastically improved criminal investigation, cross-agency collaboration, and emergency response efficiency for the national police service. This has resulted in tangible benefits to both the citizens of Kenya, as well as the officers using the solution.
Huawei’s deployment of a new communications network, which links over 1800 surveillance cameras with 195 bureaux and 7600 police officers in Nairobi, is of great strategic importance in terms of national and economic security. The National Police Service Commission of Kenya, for example, has a high-speed private broadband network that partly relies on the company’s propriety wireless enhanced long-term evolution (eLTE) solution.
“The wireless infrastructure links the National Police Service Commission’s command centres with over 1 500 high-definition cameras in downtown Nairobi. Furthermore, it supports more than 200 cameras that are installed at city checkpoints and several wireless devices distributed to officers in the field,” said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Joanita Roos. “Thus, authorities can conduct panoramic video surveillance of Nairobi’s urban centre, as well as maintain a highly-agile command and dispatch setup that runs on satellite-based global positioning system (GPS) and software-based geographic information system (GIS).”
Additionally, with the video cloud storage platform that Huawei offers, cross-agency video sharing is possible. Through comprehensive security-video linkage, the platform meets multiple service needs, including real-time surveillance, video browsing and evidence collection.
Over and above the video cloud storage platform, Huawei provides sophisticated analytics tools to improve authorities’ ability to identify, classify and match stored video data. The company has also secured its safe city solution against cyber attacks and ensured it is cost-effective.
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