Building smarter safe cities with the IoT
The growth of urban economies and the development of strong social systems depend greatly on the maintenance of public safety and reduction of crime.
By Li Qiang
Safe City Solutions Team, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
The goal of the Huawei Safe City program is to provide the highest levels of security to safeguard people’s lives and property. We recognize the need for city governments worldwide to modernize their information and communication infrastructures for the purpose of implementing state-of-the-art Safe City solutions.
Public safety concerns over violence, extremism, and natural disasters compel municipal governments to invest in innovative Safe City products and technologies. And, in response to market demand, technology manufacturers have developed a systemic approach for Safe City construction that features digitalized high-definition video and intelligent analytics.
Video platforms have evolved from closed, special-purpose workstations to open and shared information systems optimized to support cross-department command and control for emergency response, and proactive detection to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.
In addition to improving public security, Safe City systems are designed to support early warnings for human-generated disasters like war, extremism, and environmental pollution — including effective management of the aftermath.
Video surveillance alone cannot satisfy all the requirements for Safe City services. Cities of the future will require multi-dimensional security protection based on the Internet of Things (IoT), which can connect all devices in order to implement comprehensive sensing. Connected security systems facilitate enhanced analytics and prediction, and faster responses when handling emergencies.
Key Technologies Involved
The IoT is the engine powering the emergence of fully connected safety and security systems. The industry is geared up to meet the requirements for user-friendly intelligent service applications through IoT-connected information management systems built on a number of the following technologies:
- Multi-Service Integration: IoT-connected subsystems, including video surveillance, access control, perimeter, and fire alarm systems, are connected and centrally managed. Powerful access control capabilities are used to integrate these subsystems at the data, signaling control, media transmission, and terminal application layers.
- Large Sensor Populations: Safety and security systems rely on a large number and variety of sensors to collect information from the physical world. Depending on the desired functionality, sensors will vary in physical form, function, connection mode, and data format. Management and maintenance techniques for large numbers of sensors require parsing, format conversion, and storage configuration for the massive amounts of information collected.
- Rule-Based Coordination: When an alarm or emergency is reported, an IoT-connected safety and security system performs step-by-step, coordinated handling based on preset rules that specify the actions to be taken by associated subsystems in various circumstances.
- Visualized Command and Dispatch: An IoT-connected safety and security system displays 2D and 3D graphical information about emergency situations. Working with a Geographic Information System (GIS), an IoT-connected system allows enhanced visibility into an incident’s location and scope of impact that presents a visualized command-and-dispatch interface to emergency operations personnel.
Safety and Security Solution
As a leading ICT solutions provider with an in-depth understanding of customers’ Safe City service needs, Huawei has developed an IoT-connected safety and security solution based on its mature, industry-leading converged emergency command solution. The solution is built on an array of Huawei’s in-house technologies, including IoT access gateways, Big Data analytics, and cloud computing. Additionally, it leverages the industry’s advanced Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) technology and open Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture for distributed components. These combined technologies deliver a highly reliable IoT platform that features intelligent sensors, ubiquitous connectivity, and enhanced security.
The Huawei IoT-connected Safety and Security Solution is divided into four logical layers: terminal, access, platform, and application.
The terminal layer is composed of intelligent hardware and various types of sensors that collect and forward data to log, control, and feed information displays about on-site situations. Huawei has collaborated with industry-leading partners to provide front-end devices at the terminal layer that meet the needs of customers in different industries.
At the access layer, Huawei provides proprietary IoT-access gateways and IoT-agent software components to access terminal devices in different scenarios. Uplink gateways support various wired and wireless network access modes. Downlink gateways provide common interfaces that support rich standards and specifications, including Bluetooth, Near-Field Communication (NFC), Infrared Data Association (IrDA), Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and RS232/485. Custom interfaces are available for customers with special access requirements to the terminal layer. IoT Agent components can be deployed on third-party gateways running Linux or Android systems.
The platform layer consists of two parts: the IoT platform and service platform. The IoT platform accesses and manages all terminal devices. It supports real-time data collection and analysis about the status of intelligent terminal devices, alarms, and events, including trend prediction. It also supports rule-based alarm and hierarchical linkage. The service platform employs PSIM technology to implement functionality such as event scheduling, alarm management, and coordinated service processing between subsystems. The service platform collaborates with the GIS to support visualized alarm and equipment resource management. The entire platform layer supports cloud-based deployment and adopts the REST architecture for unified Web service interfaces between upper-layer applications and platforms.
The application layer consists of third-party applications, such as the Computer-Assisted Dispatch (CAD) and Policing Big Data Analytics (PBDA) platforms. Using the web interfaces provided by the platform layer, the application layer obtains the platform capabilities and resources needed to implement third-party services.
Broad Market Prospect
Safe City platforms come with extensive requirements and applications. The Huawei IoT-connected Safety and Security Solution can be integrated with a CAD subsystem in an existing Safe City environment to add functionality, such as an early warning component or to provide new connectivity between resources. In Africa, the Huawei solution was deployed to help Kenya build a national security surveillance, communications, and control system. With this system, Kenya improved its public security infrastructure and created favorable conditions for further economic development.
The Huawei IoT-connected Safety and Security Solution can be deployed as separate modules to implement stand-alone safety, security surveillance, or management platforms. These platforms ensure the safety and security of important areas, such as national borders, government premises, military bases, and industrial parks.