Home Insights & Advice London’s smart city plans embrace growing security infrastructure

London’s smart city plans embrace growing security infrastructure

by Sarah Dunsby
3rd Dec 18 10:44 am

London prides itself on its smart city infrastructure. Across the metropolitan region, sensors capture a wide variety of data, which gets processed and analysed for patterns to enhance future decision-making.

Based on all this information, the city of London may monitor and modify traffic patterns, determine pollution levels, and implement solutions. City officials can even use the software to determine how these patterns may change as the city grows.

But as London continues to implement new technology across the city, it is focusing its attention on another issue for concern: security.

London’s terrorism troubles

It makes sense that London would make security a top priority in the development of its smart city infrastructure. According to a 2017 report from The Guardian, terrorism-related arrests in Britain increased 54%, and arrests of women are higher than they’ve ever been at any time in the past.

Such being the case, the city needs strategies to identify terrorist threats before they can be executed, as well as tools that will help its employees catch terrorists and other criminals quickly after a disaster strikes.

Developing anti-terrorism systems

Many of the best tools for addressing terrorism come from the defence sector, especially when they’re easily tailored to urban environments. Adaptive and cognitive signal processing systems, for example, are altered to operate in cluttered environments such as urban landscapes, and quickly adapt to regional changes.

Other tools, such as acoustic sensors, can be employed to determine the location of gunshots or bombs, and can be used to locate victims by triangulating sound wave signals. These tools have been shown to improve emergency response times significantly, and help investigators gather evidence after an attack.

By implementing smart sensor systems, London can take advantage of a tactical model known as “problem-oriented policing.” Using this approach, security software analyses crime patterns to identify hotspots and target policing in those areas.

Much like the old model of broken-windows policing used in New York City in decades past, the ability to identify common locations for minor crimes can help police prevent more serious ones.

Updating London

Right now, London is in the process of updating the smart city plan, which was last revised in 2013. The technological possibilities have come a long way in the past five years, but in large part the city relies on open data.

Open data sets are made available to developers, who use the information to create new tools. In the case of security data, however, London will need to adopt a different approach.

Since 2013, a number of other cities have joined ranks with London and implemented extensive networking systems of their own, and the capital of the UK can learn a lot from these other places. Of particular interest are such cities as Stockholm, New York, Singapore, and Barcelona, all of which are regarded among the world’s top smart cities.

As London studies advanced security practices, the city can take heart that it still can boast of some of the most advanced smart-city technology in the world. Highly networked environments are the wave of the future; cities that don’t embrace these tools will fall behind, in everything from transit to health care and even security.

Smart cities are the next great advance in the fight against terrorism.


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