This article was first published in the Autumn 2014 issue of Touch
Thousands, if not millions, of citizens rely on local and national governments to keep them safe. Protecting the public from crime, safeguarding buildings from vandalism, or simply ensuring a city is running smoothly requires multiple public sector agencies to collaborate, consult with citizens and secure buy-in from private enterprises. By combining resources and standardising public safety efforts using Genetec’s unified security platform Security Center, cities can break down silos across agencies, cost effectively enhance city-wide operations, expand surveillance coverage, and improve emergency preparedness and response times.
Genetec Security Center combines Omnicast internet protocol (IP) video surveillance, Synergis IP access control and AutoVu automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) systems to deliver greater situational awareness to security and law enforcement personnel. It standardises common security operations from multiple systems – such as monitoring, reporting, alarm management and configuration – and makes all tasks easily accessible via a single intuitive application.
Using Omnicast’s IP video management system, cities can identify threats and manage hundreds or thousands of high-definition, megapixel cameras, while reducing bandwidth costs. The Synergis IP access control system enables cities to leverage existing network and hardware investments to extend security coverage to municipal and historical buildings. The solution also provides efficient workflows and greater automation, which allows users to focus on monitoring critical tasks. Meanwhile, fixed or mobile ALPR cameras can be attached to intersection lights, buildings or law enforcement vehicles to track stolen cars, wanted felons, or amber alerts around the city.
In addition, cities can use Security Center to implement a phased growth plan as each new budget cycle is launched, enabling cities to start by upgrading video surveillance and unify other key systems over time. For example, the solution can be used to improve access control for enhanced security and centralised personnel management; enhance licence plate recognition, hot lists and reads systems; and develop video analytics to identify misplaced objects or trip wires, and count people. Security Center can also be used to unify evidence management systems hosted in Microsoft Azure for Government, as well as Microsoft Aware Consoles for threat, investigation and intelligence management.
Furthermore, Genetec’s platform can be deployed to establish a multi-stakeholder model that brings together publicly and privately funded security systems in one centrally managed, cost-effective system via the solution’s Federation feature. This allows cities to extend security coverage by accessing video streams from private entities in emergencies, while retaining the autonomy of each individual system.
The Federation model also enables public organisations – such as educational institutions, utilities services and municipal buildings – to provide police departments with full control of their security systems at the click of a button. Police departments can then view cameras, lock down facilities and respond to threats in an effective, efficient and timely manner.
To protect citizens’ privacy, the Federation model ensures video evidence is managed responsibly by providing both broad and granular system privileges, audit trails, customisable user access rights for cameras or files and monitoring document incident handling. Digital signatures can also be added to video to ensure authentic evidence is used in court.
What’s more, Genetec’s security platform helps to transform officer smartphones or wearable cameras into mobile monitoring stations, which are linked back to the central control centre via mobile apps. Meanwhile, officers on the road can also tap into the city’s systems from their vehicle-based laptops to enable them to proactively assess and prepare for emergency situations and improve response times, while ensuring they remain safe.
In essence, cities wanting to capitalise on their existing hardware and multiple networks can use unified security platforms to upgrade analogue technology over time. Solutions like Genetec’s Security Center help cities to expand their surveillance systems to include thousands of devices with ease – potentially reaching up to 300 cameras per server – and expand with cloud camera connections, while eliminating the cost of on-site storage hardware and servers.
Pervez Siddiqui is director of strategic markets at Genetec
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