There is a reason for the rapid urbanisation of the world’s population: cities are economic powerhouses where people go to live more stable lives. Employment opportunities are higher in the city than in the countryside. And mobility and access to vital services is much easier.
All across the world, migrants are moving to large cities, whether it be in the developed countries of the West or in nations where population growth is putting a strain on public resources: India, China, Brazil and elsewhere.
But that of course means that cities have to adapt to cope with the added burden of population growth.
How can they remain safe, healthy and happy places when so many more people are competing for resources? How can they create wealth for their inhabitants whilst ensuring that the environmental cost of increased productivity isn’t ultimately a negative development? And how can they make certain that in the grab for resources, crime rates don’t increase?
The rise of smart cities has occurred in tandem with new innovations in technology. Indeed, it is the technological revolution that has fuelled a new way of looking at urban environments.
Video surveillance has widened. Along with this public safety agencies have been able to develop innovative new ways in which to communicate and share data and intelligence.
These are the five main areas where innovation has helped to strengthen the work of those institutions involved in security and intelligence:
- Video surveillance: there has been significant growth in Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, cameras that are linked to the internet; these digital video cameras are commonly used for surveillance. Alongside this there has been an increase in our ability to undertake useful video analytics, understanding the dynamics of crowd behaviour
- Communication: there has also been rapid development of data networks and the emergence of new network technologies such as 4G LTE from Tetra and voice-only communications
- Access control: biometrics have become more reliable, while there has been growth in the effectiveness, and use, of digital access control systems
- Screening and detection: among the advances in this field are improved sensors and quicker throughputs; these are allowing better identification of contraband materials and better detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials as well as simpler weapons such as knives and guns
- Cybersecurity: cybersecurity companies are developing ground-breaking new ways of protecting the cyber sphere and the information and machines it contains
Video surveillance is at the heart of public protection. But cameras alone are not sufficient. It is the data that cameras can deliver that is the key to public safety.
Hitachi Smart Spaces and Video Intelligence leverages the internet of things (IoT) and integrates video analytics with an advanced visualisation suite. The result is the ability to design security and management services for smart cities and make communities better places to live.
With the seismic changes to our cities, the requirement for traditional security technologies will continue. But there will also be greater demand for the number of emerging technologies that can transform security solutions and technologies over the next decade.
Not all resources can be channelled into security alone. Smart cities also need to be healthy cities, and population growth places a unique burden on the environment. Much energy is now being channelled into developing ways to ensure our expanding cities remain sustainable and that all inhabitants have access to healthcare and education.
Many medical facilities such as clinics and hospitals, but also care homes, are now connecting to the Internet of Things. This has multiple benefits. It allows for the faster sharing of data to improve patient care. It boosts security of both patient records and of patients and staff themselves. And it makes a significant impact on operational efficiency. The upshot is less waiting time and better data analytics.
The innovation being undertaken to improve quality of life in smart cities also extends to the education sector.
The Internet of Things is allowing schools and universities to create connected systems that facilitate communication between staff and students, allowing the sharing of information, whether it be educational or administrative, and making for easier social networking.
Data from students helps teachers and lecturers to understand student performance and outcomes quicker and with greater depth. This allows them to more effectively adjust their syllabus to meet the students’ demands.
All these new developments are geared towards make life easier for city dwellers and reducing the burden that urbanisation is having on the environment, on our resources, and most of all, on the people themselves.
Our world faces a number of challenges, from climate change and pollution to population growth and urbanisation. Hitachi believes that it must help to find innovative and commercially viable solutions for these challenges. Visit Social-Innovation.Hitachi to learn how Social Innovation is helping Hitachi improve lives across the world.
Image under licence from iStockPhoto.co.uk, credit leopatrizi