Keeping our cities safe is a critical factor in their economic viability
Public officials are turning to the same technology advances that businesses have been using—autonomic sense-and-respond capabilities, analytics, visualisation and computational modeling—to make our public safety systems smarter, and drive a fundamental shift from responding to events to anticipating and preventing them, when possible.
Chicago, U.S.: citywide surveillance
IBM is helping the city of Chicago develop Operation Virtual Shield (US), one of the most advanced citywide intelligent security systems. It includes large-scale video surveillance and incorporates license plate recognition, advanced search and trending capabilities.
Finland: smarter military engagements
The Finnish Defense Forces (US) take part in peacekeeping missions, such as Kosovo and Afghanistan. They needed to improve the coordination and agility of their information systems and enable "a common operational picture." With IBM, they developed a service oriented architecture (SOA)-based hub that has significantly improved their flexibility in adapting to the complex, ambiguous nature of today's military operations.
Colombia: united front against organised crime
The Financial Information Analysis Unit of the Colombian government worked with IBM to develop a tool that could systematically gather information across different agencies, and analyse it to identify potentially related crimes. The SOA-based system links 16 government entities into a single, united front to fight organised crime.
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Victorian bushfire warning system
In Victoria, IBM worked with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Department of Sustainability and the Environment (DSE) to develop the One Source One Message (OSOM) system for writing and sending bushfire emergency messages. The OSOM system is based on the Whispir platform and allows the CFA and DSE to send timely and accurate alerts that can help save lives and property.
Smarter Public Safety Solutions
Progressive leaders around the world are undertaking a transformational shift. Instead of merely responding to crimes and emergencies, they are analysing, anticipating and actually working to prevent them. They’re doing so with smart systems that capture data from myriad instrumented and interconnected processes, devices and objects, and then apply intelligence to this welter of information to detect patterns and take action in real time. IBM can help (PDF, 179KB) Australian and New Zealand emergency services agencies improve public safety through analytics, intelligence and improved situational awareness. Our Emergency Planning and Response Solutions and Crime Analysis and Intelligence Solutions are designed to enable coordinated incident planning and response, increased speed of command, faster crime response and improved terrorist threat detection.
NYPD Big Blue
It's often a mundane detail that ultimately solves a crime. A nickname. A parking ticket. A past address. And it is mundane details—billions of them—which populate the data warehouse of the New York City Real Time Crime Centre (RTCC).
New York is now the safest large city in the United States, one example of how cities are getting smarter about public safety.
IBM worked with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to create a data warehouse that could bring together information buried in filing cabinets, on index cards and in handwritten notes. Today, the RTCC stitches together more than 120 million New York City criminal complaints, 31 million national crime records and 33 billion public records...just to name a few.
Sophisticated analytics and search capabilities make connections across multiple databases. Information can be visualised in seconds on a two-story video wall: a photo of a suspect appears with details—tattoos, past offenses, addresses with maps—quickly filling in. Critical data can be relayed instantly to officers at the scene. What once took days now takes minutes.
Lessons from a terrorist attack: Madrid, Spain
Across the Atlantic, in Madrid, specialists watch a similar huge bank of screens...only this one displays video and computerised images for the purpose of coordinating emergency response services. This is the nerve centre of the Integrated Security and Emergency Centre for Madrid, which coordinates the resources and efforts of the police, fire, highway, hotline and ambulance units, among others. The 90-foot wall of screens displays traffic video from surveillance cameras, maps with GPS data, and the status and location of personnel.
The Centre was created in the aftermath of the terrorist train bombings on March 11, 2004, which triggered a swift, massive, but uncoordinated medical response. Radio communications were on incompatible frequencies and communication at the scene was limited to personal contact or telephone. Today, the Centre coordinates a fast, integrated response from the right team to a wide variety of emergencies.