An area of technology that is shifting how we interact with our cities is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT already accounts for swathes of technology and devices operating in the background. However, we’re increasingly seeing these come to the forefront of everyday life, as data becomes critical.

The decisions that this critical data is attached to must be made quickly. A living, breathing city must constantly be monitoring, assessing and utilising data in order to ensure it keeps people safe and mobile.

Delivering exciting opportunities

Much like the arrival of Uber and Airbnb, the Internet of Things will deliver exciting opportunities

The search for an answer to the challenges of growing human urbanisation is believed to exist in the smarter application of new technologies. Where once, electricity and the arrival of the elevator gave us vertical cities, today, we have the promise of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, micro-controllers (MEMS) and new materials to help manage a very crowded future.

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We are confronted with a perfect storm of risk factors and potential vulnerabilities as each of these connection points is potentially a source for a security breach. Much like the arrival of Uber and Airbnb, the Internet of Things will deliver exciting opportunities and new kinds of services, many of which we have yet to imagine.

Priority control solutions

However, there will be equally unimagined and unintended consequences, if only because, in highly complex systems with many connected and tightly linked elements, accidents are inevitable. “The journey to a smart city is incremental—you can’t flip a switch or force it. It requires complex integration and relentless innovation,” says Global Traffic Technologies (GTT) product manager Chad Mack.

GTT’s Opticom Priority Control mobility solution allows transit and public safety vehicles to request a green light at intersections
GTT provides priority control solutions that use analytics

GTT provides priority control solutions that use analytics, cloud-based computing to link connected devices to improve mobility, public safety and transportation in cities around the world. GTT’s Opticom Priority Control mobility solution allows transit and public safety vehicles to request a green light at intersections, dramatically reducing the potential for intersection crashes and improving travel times and reliability.

Increased connectivity

These intelligent priority management systems allow users to oversee and control the movement of vehicles that operate on a city’s streets,” Mack explained. The rise of urban centres and ‘Smart City’ initiatives enabled by big data, network of sensors and the Internet of Things bring a new set of challenges to future policing.

There is now a growing consensus that technology transformation must be part of the overall solution

While digital technologies have helped compress the reaction time of police all over the world, the increased connectivity can similarly be leveraged by criminals to carry out increasingly sophisticated crimes. There is now a growing consensus that technology transformation must be part of the overall solution. To keep cities and citizens safe, law enforcement must be armed with the right technology, tools, and processes to solve – or even prevent – the toughest crimes at faster rates.

Proven criminal theories

Many law enforcement agencies such as LAPD, Seattle and Florida Police Departments are using cutting-edge cloud-based crime prediction software to predict drug crime, gang crime, anti-social behaviour and gun violence. Such crime prediction software works by analysing data through a sophisticated algorithm that applies proven criminal theories to predict the top 10 to 20 spots where crime is most likely to occur over the next few hours.

To do so, it leverages on a variety of factors, such as historical and recent crime data, real-time activity, weather forecasts, locations and other information. Once these ‘hot spots’ are identified, police officers can adapt their patrol schedule and frequency at these locations, making their presence felt in the area and thereby prevent crime from taking place.