Public Safety: Page 5 of 11

Wed, 2015-10-28 22:57 -- Jon DeKeles
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Public safety targets

The technology targets described in this chapter can help cities develop a smart public safety infrastructure that uses intelligence to protect lives and property and save resources. There is one new target specific to public safety we’ll introduce in this chapter, and we’ll also highlight how public safety intersects with the universal targets discussed earlier.

Instrumentation and control

In a smart city, first responders use and obtain data in the field, and therefore they must have a two-way relationship with command centers. That is, police, investigators, firefighters and EMS technicians must not only input data to a command center, they also need to interact with the command center and others in the field. This two-way relationship requires devices that can display information in useful ways, and devices such as video feeds that can transmit data to storage. This target addresses that need.

Implement optimal devices and other instrumentation. In public safety, these devices include those that help agencies and personnel capture data and those that enable first responders to use that data in the field.

For many cities, a large part of capturing data will be surveillance devices, for instance those deployed in neighborhoods or precincts designated as high-risk areas. Some cities may even prefer to adopt a citywide surveillance system to enable more detailed awareness. Importantly, these surveillance networks should produce evidence-quality video. Data-capturing instrumentation is also likely to include audio and pressure sensors in critical areas, or devices purposed for disaster prevention and awareness – weather instrumentation, water sensors and so on. It is likely that some of this instrumentation is the province of other city responsibilities; one of this Guide’s universal targets recommends smart cities share infrastructure when possible.


Communications are a critical part of a smart city’s public safety strategy, as this target explains.

Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications. To be effective – and that’s absolutely what a smart city wants in its public safety system – two-way communication is essential. So is a citywide communications system that loops in all the personnel, smart devices, databases and ICT systems that have a role in public safety outcomes. As we mentioned earlier, a city might require multiple networks and share them when appropriate, but the key is to ensure all devices are able to communicate effectively on a citywide network.