The basic need for public safety is one of the biggest forces driving the adoption of smart city solutions: approaches that seek to solve urban challenges through technological means. The thinking behind these initiatives is that with enough internet connectivity and real-time data, surely environmental, social, economic, and public health issues should become more manageable. However, just adding more technology is not the whole answer.
Although technology is necessary for an urban area to transition in to a safe and smart city, technology alone isn’t sufficient. Truly smart cities are savvy cities and that includes how they employ software, sensing, communications and other technologies to meet their needs.
Cities need solutions that help find what you need and convert the ‘too much information’ into ‘actionable intelligence’
Some of those initiatives, however, like red light cameras or computerised flight passenger screening systems, have amounted to little more than ‘security theater’, which might waste limited resources and further delay the smart city transition due to over-hyped solutions and unrealistic projected return on investment. In other words, technology doesn’t necessarily result in more safety.
But does this mean we are also more likely to quickly find what we need? Cities need solutions that help find what you need (e.g. a missing child or a suspect) and convert the ‘too much information’ into ‘actionable intelligence’.