Emergency Response: Smart safety and security initiatives

Smart safety and security initiatives

Smart cities are incorporating technologies such as integrated surveillance systems in command and control centres to ensure safety, security and immediate emergency response in case of a disaster or crisis. Smart cities are adopting many information and communication technology (ICT) solutions such as CCTV cameras, smart street lighting, and intelligent traffic management systems in their day-to-day operations.

The integrated command and control centres (ICCCs) being implemented in Mangaluru will enable the city administration to take strategic decisions in the areas of transport, surveillance, solid waste management and disaster many other city operations based on real-time data analysis. The applications of an ICCC include intelligent transport management, solid waste management, unified messaging, public information system, and disaster management and emergency response. The city also has smart poles, which come with inbuilt surveillance systems, cameras, sensors and communication technologies that create an intelligent environment. Smart poles are connected to the ICCC to help the authorities in monitoring various services. Smart poles can also help the administration in identifying high pollution areas, and accordingly take measures to resolve emission issues.

Jabalpur Smart City has launched a smart surveillance system to track Covid-19 cases. The system is being used for proactive detection and tracking of suspected cases. It maintains a database of all persons who travelled to Jabalpur after March 1, 2020, by train, air or road. The system provides daily tracking of positive, suspected and quarantined cases, which are categorised at the ward level. It also has an automated complaint management system configured to provide automated reports for district management.

Surat  Smart City has strengthened its existing surveillance system for monitoring vector-borne diseases by upgrading the current surveillance methodologies. A quality-assured laboratory and an inbuilt evaluation component have become a part of the initiative. Some of the innovative characteristics of the project are digitised report generation and monitoring, in-built information system, instant notification of potential/positive cases, up-to-date information about cases and follow-ups, evidence-based targeted intervention, and future planning and action plan.

The emergency response system is an important component of smart cities. The system facilitates faster response time to emergency calls from multiple communication channels, including mobile phones and social media. The ICCC is also used as an emergency response centre for the Mangaluru City Corporation. Rajkot Smart City has enhanced its ICCC with video analytics and artificial intelligence to monitor the situation during the pandemic. It has developed a Covid-19 dashboard for better visualisation and decision-making, and a mobile application to record and track the people who were put under quarantine.

Dehradun Smart City has installed emergency call boxes across 35 locations in the city in order to provide timely assistance to its citizens. Smitch, which is one of India’s leading consumer IoT brands, has announced the launch of two new-age Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras on Flipkart. They be accessed from anywhere in the world, and have infrared night vision and motion sensing detectors with a talk-back-two-way communication, which allows a person to speak through the camera. Indian Railways is also installing CCTVs and passenger announcement-cum-passenger information systems (PAPIS) in more coaches in order to enhance the safety and security of passengers. The Ministry of Railways, under the Rolling Stock Programme, has made provisions for PAPIS in 19,050 coaches and CCTVs in 40,750 coaches.

Technology is changing the way consumers, governments and businesses interact with the physical world. The lighting industry is expected to be the next digital disruptor owing to the increasing adoption of IoT. Cities have started using intelligent street lighting solutions. These include energy efficient LED systems, which reduce the carbon footprint, ensure the safety of citizens and reduce long-term operation costs. Further, they have operational integration with real-time data, which allows lighting control. In terms of revenue, Indian smart lighting market is expected to reach Rs 80.56 billion by 2024.

Tata Communications is planning to deploy 15,000 smart street lights in Jamshedpur city, which can be operated and controlled through the internet. The company, in partnership with electronics and IoT firm Motwane, has successfully completed and delivered end-to-end solutions for 300 smart street lights in the city.

The way forward

A key issue faced in the installation of CCTV cameras is the lack of standards for the recording, duration coverage area and the quality of surveillance. Setting up minimum standards for various aspects of CCTV cameras will go a long way in ensuring access across cities. The existing surveillance system suffers from issues pertaining to data storage and incident data retrieval. The use of advanced data storage and surveillance technology solutions helps in combating crime more effectively. There is a need to implement technology management policies to ensure standardisation and interoperability. Data policies should be laid out in compliance with national laws and guidelines to ensure data security and protection.