Connected and Safe
Chiradeep Rao, Vice President, Emerging Verticals, Cisco India & SAARC
For any city or community to grow, thrive, and attract human and financial capital, security is a basic requirement. The need for public safety and security has grown in recent times due to increased incidence of unanticipated emergencies, natural disasters, crime rates and terrorism. For the perpetrators, technology is playing a significant role in making the threats highly mobile.
Thanks to new age technology, consumer electronics goods such as cell phones are used to detonate explosive devices while cyber warfare through spam and virus attacks, malware, and spyware is employed to disrupt networks and computer systems and seize or compromise data. In addition, non-malicious activities such as employee errors or unintentional misuse of data pose continuing threats.
The growing complexity of threats today requires new abilities to protect citizens, critical infrastructure, and key assets across cities, states, and countries. However, aging technology systems do not have the capacity or flexibility to meet all these needs. Even as existing administrative and operational systems are struggling to keep pace, people have increased expectations from various security agencies to ensure that safety and security measures are in place to protect them.
Given the above, public safety and security organizations are looking for new ways to turn information into intelligence and make it available where, when, and for whom it is needed. Collaboration can help them develop these technological and organizational levers for action, and co-ordinate activities for safety across traditional jurisdictional boundaries.
Creating Safe and Secure Communities
Since the primary purpose of safety and security agencies is to protect life and property, it is critical to connect information with people and organizations that are closest to, and may have answers to a given problem or risk, such as first responders and the police. When the right people have the right information at the right time, they are better able to anticipate risks, solve problems, and help ensure public safeguards.
Security effectiveness can improve when authorities and citizens employ modern technology, infrastructure, services and platforms to connect with each other through intelligent, scalable and enduring solutions. Any 21st century approach to counter security threats should include technologies like:
- Collaboration: These solutions facilitate inclusiveness and encourage collaborative decision-making for citizen-to-authority, authority-to-authority, and authority-to-citizen situations. They help effectively harness the efforts to unify approaches, solve problems, and achieve operational excellence.
- Virtualization: Virtualized solutions enable resources such as information, workspaces, and expertise to be shared and dynamically delivered to applications and individuals on demand. Virtualization helps improve organizational IT agility so that public safety and security agencies can reduce costs and extend coverage.
- Borderless Networks: Safety and security organizations frequently interact across jurisdictions. A mission-critical IP-based network supports the mobility, security, flexibility, and reach needed to execute their missions anywhere, at any time, using a wide range of devices.
Open Network Platform for Safety
A mission-critical IP network can unify the chain of command at local, community, state, regional, and national levels because it becomes a platform for solutions that support collaboration among varied devices by collecting information in real-time, providing powerful event analytics and correlation capabilities. This enables a co-ordinated response across multiple jurisdictions, helps better detection of events, and provides better assessment and situational analysis. Response scenarios can be more collaborative and ultimately more effective in protecting lives and mitigating damage.
Whether the IP end points include network cameras, access control readers, alarm input devices, digital and analog radios, displays or GPS sensors (conforming to industry standards), the network can act as an intelligent fabric between devices that deliver information to the network and the user interfaces that pull information off the network.
Important to bear in mind is that the Network design should be borderless so that the user experience is transparent, whether they are tethered to a workstation in a security operations center (SOC), moving in a vehicle or roving around a city campus. That infrastructure should ensure secure and reliable communications and provide a level of scalability that accommodates growth as the community expands. It should be shared so that community services are enhanced and costs reduced.
The more intelligent the network, the less work needs to be done by the end points and applications. When the network contains a broad set of services that include scheduling, messaging, secure transport, analytics, transcoding and more, it drives down the cost and maintainability of the applications and end points.
In a new era of visibility, complexity, and expectation, the key agencies that are focused on safety and security are more heavily tasked than ever before. By using the network as a platform they can develop solutions that have reach, technology, sustainability, and meet the objectives for next-generation communication, collaboration, and service delivery.
With city authorities looking at how to do more with less i.e. to effectively coordinate and deliver services to their communities and give citizens better access to those services, providing a safe and secure environment is the foundation to be successful; the network is critical to create that environment.