Monday, 11 October 2021 11:45

London (UK) - Public safety and technology

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A new study by Motorola Solutions reveals trends related to Public Safety and Innovative Technology. The study in question, carried out by Dr. Chris Brauer of Goldsmiths, University of London, is called "Consensus for Change”: it involved 12,000 citizens, 50 public safety agencies, commercial organizations and experts from 10 countries. Areas of interest include Germany, Italy, Australia, UK, USA, Scandinavia, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. 

The results of the research show that expectations in terms of security and health are rapidly changing. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital innovation of 360-degrees, from governments to businesses. The global health emergency has fostered people's awareness of the fundamental role of technology in improving public safety. The way of evaluating and doing things has changed. The way of assessing risks has changed through a better forecast of the areas of probable operational interruption, assessing and integrating the most suitable technologies to support business continuity.

The pandemic has reinforced the need to improve collaboration with communities to ensure the extensive use of advanced technologies. It has given a strong push to innovation, to the use of technology for emergency services and for businesses around the globe with significantly compressed implementation times.

The “Consensus for Change" study highlights the extraordinary way in which companies and public safety continue to adapt to constantly changing policies and needs.

Public safety and businesses need technology to respond to new threats

According to the Motorola Solutions study, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for security-related innovation. The pandemic has been a lesson for everyone: today we are more aware of how technology can support emergency services and the defence of the territory and citizens. Biometrics, artificial intelligence, video surveillance, terminals for emergency communications represent a valid ally of the law enforcement agencies and critical in specific contexts such as stations, airports, mass events, etc. 

The problem to be solved remains the regulated use of these technologies, defining some limitations, as already done in many European countries. 

71% of the average of the 10 countries involved in the study consider advanced technologies such as video cameras, data analysis, cybersecurity and cloud to be necessary to face the challenges of the contemporary world. 

70% of the general average thinks that emergency services should be able to predict risks using technologies such as predictive analytics.

75% of the global average say they are willing to trust the organizations that hold the information, provided that use them appropriately. 

The trends identified by the report

The “Consensus for Change” study highlighted the important steps to be taken today to ensure greater security for the future. In this regard, it has identified 3 trends that reveal how public expectations in terms of safety and technology are evolving: 

  • the pandemic has redefined our security expectations with a view to a prompt response to new threats;
  • the pandemic has accelerated technological innovation;
  • the public demands that advanced technology be used in a fair, transparent and inclusive way. Transparency and trust are key to increasing public support for technology deployments.

The global health emergency of Covid-19 has greatly contributed to speeding up technological innovation for public safety agencies and companies, especially in areas where the use of video, interoperability between organizations and distributed systems and the adoption of the cloud are consolidated realities. At the same time, it confirmed the need for reliable and resilient communications.

The great challenge related to Video Surveillance that uses AI

It is essential for public safety agencies and companies to ensure that their technological progress is made for the benefit of people and as such understood by the public. The Motorola Solutions study highlights the need for greater involvement of people to increase the understanding of innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence should be designed in such a way as to respect the human decision-making process, taking into account the needs of citizens. At the same time, it should enable users to make more informed decisions and respond to complex threats. The big challenge of video surveillance using AI is to design advanced technologies that allow all this, that are able to maintain the decision-making process as the sole responsibility of human beings.

Public Safety and Artificial Intelligence: an efficiency never seen before

For decades, law enforcement agencies have used surveillance cameras to monitor the territory. In the past, in the control rooms, officers had to observe non-stop a set of monitors that showed video feeds of various cameras. The monitoring was just as effective as the officers' attention span. In addition, manual searches were carried out by drawing on a huge amount of recorded videos, an operation that required hours and hours of work. Investigations and evidence acquisitions were slow. 

Artificial Intelligence (with video analysis that, for example, recognize normal activities from anomalous ones) today supports law enforcement agencies by making their activity much more efficient and timely. What once took hours if not days of work is now achieved in minutes by allowing agents to quickly intervene in critical events. Intelligent video analytics allows you to focus on important information saving time in high-risk situations where every second makes a difference.

Currently, there are software that can quickly analyse large amounts of video recordings of an entire territory to intercept specific vehicles or people through physical descriptions (gender, colour of clothes, etc.). It is a valuable tool for investigations.

The machine learning of Artificial Intelligence can identify anomalous situations that, normally, would go unnoticed by the agents: they are able to provide instant alerts and monitor in real time the positions of suspicious subjects on the run to promptly organize checkpoints.

AI makes efficient not only the interventions of law enforcement agencies but also data storage systems to manage large streams of video as well as data protection systems. 

Today, data and information are crucial for technology and are also revolutionizing public safety in smart cities thanks to intelligent video surveillance systems.

For us, the ultimate expression of technology-related civilization is this: using data to fight crime while fully respecting privacy. 

Francesco Ciano – ANCDV Advisory Board member

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