The New ICT Driven Safe Cities

2017/02/08 • New ICT, Public Safety • Views: 119

For the first time in history, there are more people living in urban areas than in rural areas. Moreover, this migration is set to continue as cities offer better employment,improved living standards and financial prosperity. However, prosperity comes at a cost. Urbanization is putting pressure on the infrastructure, resources and security of cities around the world pushing leaders to invest in solutions to combat these challenges.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving a revolution in how cities are organized. Cities are leveraging integrated information and communications technology (ICT) to help solve problems with transportation, energy supply, social infrastructure, economic stability, physical infrastructure and security. Security and Safety form the basis of the Safe City concept and can be defined as follows:

“A safe city integrates more than one type of security- related information onto a consolidated IT platform. The consolidated IT platform is able to combine public-safety information obtained through video surveillance and other security-related sensors, sometimes with additional city-specific information related to infrastructure. The aim of the consolidated IT platform is to provide situational awareness to the various stakeholders.”

Market Drivers and Project Enablers

The risks that modern cities face range from high impact-low probability threats such as terrorism andnatural disasters,to low impact-high probability scenarios such as petty crime. In the modern climate there is a clear need to protect public spaces from terrorist and lone-wolf attacks. Terrorist attacks have devastating consequences and are difficult to identify with traditional physical security systems. Consequently, data and intelligence sharing along with new techniques, such as social media analysis, could be a game changer for public safety.

Safe cities can also use communication technologies to provide early warning and facilitate clear action planning in the event of a natural disaster: saving lives and reducing the economic impact of these events. In addition, crime prevention is a huge driver for public safety systems, protecting citizens from the effects of crime and improving the general well-being of the city’s inhabitants. As criminals and terrorists change their behavior, new and innovative technology solutions are required to protect cities from these actions.

Political motivation is another driver of Safe City projects. Improving the perceived safety of a city is a vote winner as well as a catalyst to drive economic growth and job creation. There is also an opportunity to leverage big data as these projects pull together inputs from an array of sensors in the IoT.

The implementation of a Safe City project is often the combination of one of these market drivers and the ability of the city to implement or fund the project. Consequently, project enablers are important in making these projects happen. Enablers include economic prosperity, population growth, and stability.

Safe City Drivers and Enablers

Governments around the world are highly motivated to protect their citizens from threats to their security and safety. Nearly $13 billion was spent on public safety solutions such as command and control, trunking, PSIM (Physical Security Information Management), video surveillance and storage equipment in 2015. This investment is forecast to increase to almost $20 billion by 2019.

Market Drivers for Safe Cities

The Safe City market is driven by different challenges and requirements depending on the country and region. The following figure provides are presentation of the regional differences.

Middle East

Terrorism remains a significant threat in the Middle East. In response, the region has been quick to adopt the latest technology, such as facial-recognition and license plate recognition (LPR). These solutions often go beyond standard LPR and into the realms of video analytics, recognizing the vehicle type, make, model, andcolor.

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Data sharing has also become an important issue for many of the cities in this region as the authorities try to interconnect security systems to achieve mass surveillance. The requirement for mass surveillance typically involves bringing the data into a control center andhas resulted in successful PSIM deployments.A third driver of safe city projects in the region is the need to foster economic growth. Safer cities can attract foreign investment and help diversify the economies of Middle Eastern countries which have significant oil dependence.

Latin America

Relative to other regions, Latin America has been slow to adopt city-wide video surveillance systems. As the major cities in the region catch-up, they are deploying network-based systems.

The threat of terrorism is not a primary driver for safe city projects in Latin America. However, crime is a major issue in many of the largest cities, whether organized crime, as is prevalent in Mexico, or petty theft, which is prevalent in Brazil. A primary objective of safe city projects is therefore to combat these crimes.

Another reason for safe city projects in this region is to foster economic growth. In many Latin American cities, there are informal settlements, some very large, which pose a challenge for public safety and security. The crime rate is above average in these informal settlements. Furthermore, natural events, including earthquakes and, more frequently, landslides have to be dealt with. Thousands of people die each year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and La Paz, Bolivia because they have no access to prior warning of these events. Cities which experience these natural disasters have an incentive to protect themselves and their citizens.

North America

Most safe city projects in North America are in the United States and are federally funded and driven by counterterrorism. Funding for safe city projects is highly focused on counterterrorism, to the extent that the technologies chosen are often specific to counterterror is mmeasures. Examples include video analytics to identify abandoned packages and chemical and biological sensors.

These technologies do not protect against other activity, for example organized crime andgang warfare, and they do not directly foster economic growth. Larger cities using federal funding for safe city projects are concerned not only with their citizens and assets, but also in protecting the visitors that these cities attract.

There is interest from some smaller cities in the public-safety and law-enforcement aims of safe city projects. These projects will not typically use high-end technology.Their aim will be to decrease organized crime and gang activity and improve response times for both emergency and non-emergency services.


The primary driver for safe city projects in Europe is the desire to share data between agencies to proactively protect a city. European cities want to centralize their data into a command center which is then used as an operations center for the various stakeholder agencies in a city. These projects are generally not focused on using the most advanced technology available, but instead focus on integration and connectivity.

The desire to share data is driven by factors including budget cuts affecting staffing levels, the requirement to improve counterterrorism operations, and the need to improve policing and crowd-management operations. The desire to improve counterterrorism operations is important. Recent terrorist attacks have highlighted the challenges in protecting city center locations as well as the need for a common operational picture and the ability to identify and act in real time to these threats.

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Asia-Pacific is a large,geographically diverse market with many cities at different stages of development. Developed countries, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand, have mature cities which are facing vastly different challenges than cities in developing countries such as China, India, and Pakistan. In the developed markets safe city projects follow similar drivers to Europe with a focus on data sharing to improve emergency service responses and counterterrorism operations. In developing countries, safe city projects are driven by economic growth, data sharing,and political considerations.

India’s approach to safe city projects is similar to the approach taken in the Middle East – the focus is on automating the systems currently in place. Safe city projects tend to be focused on aggregating data and projects present big data problems. In China, political considerations are an important driver for safe city projects with city leaders ensuring that their city is protected as outlined in China’s five year plan.

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Read the Report - SAFE CITIES : A Revolution Driven by New ICT

The Safe City represents the future of urban security and safety. A future built on data, connectivity and interoperability. Cities are looking towards smarter solutions to meet the challenges created by an ever increasing population. Key to this is providing more efficient emergency response services and quicker threat mitigation processes, ensuring public safety.

In this report, you can learn the technologies enablers of safe cities, including:

• How Video surveillance, LTE and command and control solutions are critical in driving the adoption of Safe Cities.

• The importance of IoT and converged communications in Cloud services and big data in the Safe City market.

• The demand and diversity of Safe Cities by country and region; What are their market drivers under the following: security threats, economic growth, data sharing, crime, political motivation and cost savings.

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