This article first appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of The Record.
In the law enforcement space, every second counts. Improving efficiency and empowering staff can mean the difference between a crime being committed or prevented, whether or not the public’s safety is placed into jeopardy, and in extreme circumstances, the difference between life and death.
Law enforcement agencies have been embracing technology for decades – from two-way radios and laptops in patrol cars, to criminal databases and advanced analytics, and, more recently, social media, body-worn cameras and drones.
Unfortunately, these technologies exist in ‘silos’, which slows the sharing of information and reduces efficiency. By connecting information using modern cloud and mobile technologies, law enforcement organisations can enhance their operations to ultimately protect citizens, and give officers access to the information they need precisely when and where they need it. Real-time access to information from the field improves public safety and can significantly reduce costs.
In the cloud, you can collect and analyse huge amounts of data. Agencies can digest the data and gain vital insights using analytics. Crime prevention, prediction and efficient engagement can all be enhanced through the insight this level of analysis creates. Furthermore, thanks to the level of mobility and security provided by mobility technologies, these insights can be more easily and actively shared for use in the field.
Law enforcement agencies are leveraging a number of mobility solutions to empower their field-based personnel. These solutions enable police officers to access the information they need – be it in national crime databases, social media or video for example. They can also access this information wherever they need it – at the scene of a crime, in their patrol car, in the police station – and receive ‘contextual intelligence’ derived from modern analytic tools.
Better incident response and management is an example of improved operational efficiency enabled by cloud and mobile technologies. Law enforcement is often reactive by nature, but by having access to the right information ahead of an incident, law enforcement agencies can mitigate, or even prevent, dynamic situations far more quickly. For example, modern analytic tools are using the speed and reliability of the cloud to deliver actionable intelligence to law enforcement by fusing information from structured data, such as databases, and unstructured data, such as video and social media. These can help identify a threat before it becomes an incident.
When something does happen, incident commanders with modern devices can access real-time video from the scene, with feeds via drone, CCTV, body-worn cameras, or even smartphones. They can also adjust tactics as events unfold by sharing information, such as video and pictures, with first responders on the scene using modern communications tools.
Microsoft and its robust partner ecosystem have been providing technology solutions for law enforcement for decades. Innovative partners – including a number of leaders in law enforcement technology – are embracing Microsoft technologies such as Micrsoft Azure, Windows 10, the Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365 as integral elements of their modern solutions.
Microsoft’s Cloud and Azure platforms, through the Trusted Cloud Initiative, provide a secure, scalable and compliant way for law enforcement agencies to leverage advanced capabilities, such as video redaction, speech-to-text transcription, translation, machine learning and predictive analytics.
Modern devices running Windows 10 offer unparalleled security with dozens of new and enhanced security features. Windows 10 devices provide a wide range of choice – from rugged tablets, laptops, small tablets and phones, to very large all-in-ones available from a variety of original equipment manufacturer partners at a variety of price points. These allow law enforcement agencies to equip everyone in their organisation with the right device for their role. And the Enterprise Mobility Suite, Microsoft’s relatively new suite of mobile technology services, can ensure the security of the applications and information on virtually any Android or Apple iOS device, as well as those running Windows 10.
Office 365 can be leveraged by law enforcement officers and teams to enable seamless and intuitive interaction, specifically using tools such as Yammer, Outlook, Power BI and Delve. Similarly, Skype for Business can be leveraged for internal communications and is especially advantageous to law enforcement agencies whose personnel are spread across a large geographic area. Furthermore, to develop key insights, our Azure Advanced Analytics, Cortana Analytics Suite and Cognitive Suite are being harnessed.
Microsoft is working with a number of law enforcement organisations around the world to help bring their operational efficiency to new levels, and helping them better ensure the safety of their citizens. We will continue to work with these organisations and others to help enable new levels of safety and security for citizens, and help them to achieve various law enforcement goals.
Eric Basha is Director of Business Development for the Worldwide Public Safety and National Security industry team at Microsoft
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