The 4 Fundamentals of Tomorrow’s Safe Cities

Hong Kong

In 2016, the United Nations estimated that 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. Many experts predict that by 2050, this number will rise to nearly 70 percent of the world’s population living on only one percent of the planet’s land mass. Cities are growing at a greater pace than most governments can keep up with or support.

At the same time, urban populations are growing, cities are also experiencing a rise in crime, land development needs, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other infrastructure challenges. As a result, urban safety issues and essential service delivery are top of mind for many city leaders – and citizens.

But where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. And for today’s growing cities, there is an opportunity to reimagine how critical information and operational systems function together. More specifically, it is a chance to move away from disconnected, stove-piped systems to an all-encompassing enterprise information architecture that links city agencies and essential service organizations together with technology.

Recently, we unveiled our Safe City vision. The underpinning technology of this vision is an enterprise information architecture approach that integrates city organizations and their data into an industry-agnostic platform. Across the board, cities can benefit from this type of approach, which has four distinct fundamentals: Connectivity, Collaboration, Intelligence, and Accountability.

I’d like to take a moment to delve into each one of these fundamentals within the context of our Safe City Vision. Here’s a closer look.

To address today and tomorrow’s safety and infrastructure challenges, cities must be able to connect and harmonize hundreds of data sources from multiple disparate systems. And they can do that by leveraging the cloud and web-based software. With this connectivity of systems and data, city agencies and essential service providers can remove redundant and manual processes, expedite the flow of information, and provide greater opportunities for automation. Because cloud and web-based software improve sharing and coordination of data and processes between systems, it also becomes cheaper to develop, deploy, and maintain systems and interfaces.

During major incidents and planned events, things can change in an instant. All stakeholders and processes must be aligned to achieve optimal outcomes. To do this, collaboration is critical. But effective collaboration can be hard without the right systems and approaches to technology. When city agencies and essential service providers link respective data sets and systems together, true collaboration can be realized – along with the benefits that citizens and customers reap from such collaboration. Conversely, a lack of collaboration creates inefficiencies that can impact agency performance and decrease citizen safety.

Data is great, but actionable intelligence is better. City agencies and essential service providers need to mine data to obtain richer insight and deliver a clearer presentation of complex information to help them uncover trends, improve resource management, deliver better services, and plan for the future. However, intelligence is not limited to single departmental or internal organizational use. Within the context of Safe Cities, intelligence is also about reporting complex information in a clear and meaningful manner to agency leaders, other organizations, city officials, and citizens. Without the ability to better understand and share intelligence, agencies and organizations run the risk of undermining their credibility.

City agencies live in a world of shrinking budgets, growing mission scope, and increasing service demand. At the same time, they are being called to respond to changing political climates, social pressures, and citizen expectations. Because of this, accountability has become an essential piece of Safe City initiatives. Now more than ever, it has become critically important to be transparent and show tangible results from decisions made in the interests of citizens. And that typically means turning intelligence into results that are reported back to agency leaders, political stakeholders, and the community.

If you would to hear more about our Safe City vision and solutions, Michael Deng, Head of Sales for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure Asia, will be presenting at INTERPOL World in Singapore on July 4 at 4:55p.m. His presentation is part of Huawei’s CXO Forum, which will be held in Rooms 300 and 301. I hope you can make it.

Rodger Soo
About Rodger Soo

Rodger Soo is the senior vice president of APAC for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure. Soo joined the Hexagon team with more than two decades experience in management, sales, consulting, and marketing with the Asia-Pacific IT industry. Prior to Hexagon, Soo held leadership positions at organizations such as SAP, HP, Sun Microsystems, Autodesk, Microsoft, Oracle, and AVNET Technology Solutions. Rodger holds a bachelor’s degree from UK’s Staffordshire University with participation in the Senior Executives Program International Management at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is also a Certified Professional Marketer with the Asia-Pacific Marketing Management Federation.