Public Safety: Page 6 of 11

Wed, 2015-10-28 22:57 -- Jon DeKeles
PDF version

Interoperability is key in smart public safety because it opens up the world of data and helps generate integrated intelligence, as you’ll read in the targets highlighted below.

Adhere to open standards. Open standards for data are a major step in creating actionable, life-saving intelligence for public safety decision makers. Smart cities adhere to data standards that ensure all of the data they collect – not just by public safety instrumentation and personnel, but across their responsibilities and departments – is handled the same way. Standards exist already for the recording, storing, transmission and use of data. Smart cities use the best and most widely adopted standards possible so they have easier access to data from other agencies. They also help promote the use of standards nationally and internationally so that more and more data from across the world can be efficiently shared.

Additionally, by requiring open standards in the procurement of public safety systems and equipment, cities increase the choices available to them and decrease costs because open standards mean products can be mixed and matched from different vendors.

Use open integration architectures and loosely coupled interfaces. There are a number of reasons for sharing public safety data within city departments. And in some cases public safety applications used by one department can be adapted for use by another. Both scenarios are made much simpler when open integration architectures are used.

Prioritize the use of legacy investments, including physically stored data. Earlier we mentioned how cities can avoid redundant and unnecessary investments in data-capturing devices. Police, courts and other agencies involved in public safety gather massive amounts of data, but often critical pieces – mug shots, arrest records, court files, fingerprints and the like – are stored physically. Similarly, some CCTV systems produce physical tape. Smart cities digitize these data sources, connecting them to the rest of the universe of relevant public safety data to create more robust intelligence.

Privacy and security

Even those responsible for safeguarding the public’s privacy and security will want to deliver on ICT-related privacy and security targets as they move toward a smarter public safety infrastructure.

Publish privacy rules. By its nature, there is the potential for privacy red flags in much of the day-to-day work that public safety is responsible for. That’s why it is so important to address the legal, privacy and ownership issues with a comprehensive privacy policy. Different cities will have different strategies for dealing with access to video, phone records, social network traffic and the like. But all will want to develop rules and governance protocols that are not only transparent but have been vetted with citizens and other stakeholders.

Data management

We mentioned in the last section the importance of privacy rules in the public safety realm; the targets here are an important follow on given the amount of often-sensitive data involved.

Create and adhere to a citywide data management, transparency and sharing policy. Data management policies make it clear what city departments can and can’t do with the data they collect. This alleviates confusion, improves data accuracy, eliminates unnecessary duplication and reduces the likelihood of privacy or security breaches.