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Breaking Down the Silos to Create Efficient Smart Cities

Axis Communications

The number of people expected to be living in cities is set to double by 2050 to some 6.4 billion urban dwellers. To cope with this population increase, and to adjust to the new needs of larger cosmopolitan environments, cities will require new and innovative ways of managing their assets and resources.

This is addressed by various smart city initiatives, where clever ways of connecting technologies, data and stakeholders, result in completely new fashions to manage e.g. traffic, street lighting, parking, waste collection or public safety. But for a city to become truly smart, it also needs to break the often-existing silos between different city departments, as well as the silos between public and private entities.

Sharing surveillance cameras to benefit all

Currently, in many cities, surveillance systems are operating as silos, where different components are not directly linked to each other. There may be hundreds of cameras for traffic, hundreds for city surveillance, hundreds at retailers and hundreds within public transport, with very limited scope of cooperation between these silos.

Surveillance represents a typical area where a city can become smarter when selected data is shared across multiple stakeholders. By breaking down the barriers between the individual silos, several benefits can be gained – for the city, for private entities and for the citizens.

Surveillance cooperation between public and private

Project Green Light Detroit is an example of a project that bridged the gap between the public and private sector. A few years ago, when city officials in Detroit looked closer into crime statistics, they found that nearly a quarter of the city’s violent crimes happened close to a gas station.

With the main objectives to deter and solve crime, improve neighborhood safety, and to promote the growth of local businesses, the city and police department partnered with local businesses and launched Project Green Light Detroit. In order to sustain and develop the project while sharing the costs, stakeholders each have responsibilities, e.g.:

  • Individual private businesses are required to install & maintain high-definition cameras, a high- speed network connection and adequate internal and external lighting
  • The City of Detroit and the police, have established a real-time crime center, with devoted staff to effectively receive, monitor and analyze video feeds from participating businesses

Today, more than 200 businesses are part of the project, and violent crimes have been reduced by up to 50%, in some of the monitored areas.

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Andrea Sorri

Andrea Sorri helps put the 'smart' in Smart Cities for Axis, where he is responsible for key market segments, including Government & Critical Infrastructure & City Surveillance. A ten year veteran of Axis, he is based in the company's Lund, Sweden headquarters but has also worked in Cyprus, Malta and Israel.