Innovation through analytics
Data is everywhere in cities, providing information about everything from traffic patterns to security breeches. Public systems collect this disparate, voluminous data that is collected by various public systems — and smarter public safety agencies use analytics to derive new insights and uncover trends before they become systemic issues. Here's how some cities are taking the proactive approach.
A series of conversations for a smarter planet
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.
Memphis: getting the jump on crime
With increasing crime rates, the City of Memphis Police Department (MPD) (US) needed to improve response time. But having to search through an array of spreadsheets and paper files added hours to officers' searches for vital information. So the city ambitiously resolved to implement innovative new practices to predict, track and respond promptly to crimes, while cost-effectively upgrading its resources and increasing the overall effectiveness of the department.
Since incorporating IBM SPSS predictive analytics software, the MPD has reduced serious crime by more than 30 percent and expanded its effective coverage area without a proportional increase in staff. The software analyses historical and current data quickly and updates it continually to evaluate incident patterns and identify the most likely crime hot spots. With its improved analytical and statistical capabilities and increased data visibility, the MPD can identify, target and respond to crime more effectively.
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 modelling — to make our public safety systems smarter, and drive a fundamental shift from responding to events to anticipating and preventing them, when possible.
Madrid, Spain: lessons from a terrorist attack
Created in the aftermath of the terrorist train bombings on March 11, 2004, the Integrated Security and Emergency Centre (PDF, 179KB) for Madrid coordinates the resources and efforts of the police, fire, highway, hotline and ambulance units, among others. A 90-foot wall of screens displays traffic video from surveillance cameras, maps with GPS data, and the status and location of personnel.
Chicago, U.S.: citywide surveillance
IBM has worked with the city of Chicago to develop Operation Virtual Shield, which is among the most advanced citywide intelligent security systems. Encompassing one of the world's largest video security deployments, Operation Virtual Shield includes large-scale video surveillance and incorporates licence plate recognition, advanced search and trending capabilities.
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.