How cameras and sensors can combine to make cities smarter
Source: William Pao, a&s International
Needless to say, video surveillance plays a critical role in smart city
initiatives. Now, with more and more IoT sensors being deployed, they can work with IP cameras
to make cities even smarter, safer and livable.
Increasingly, video surveillance has become indispensable in making cities secure and efficient, whereby municipal administrators can rely on IP cameras as well as relevant analytics to recognize blacklisted individuals, identify problematic vehicles and manage traffic
Now, with IoT becoming more prevalent, cities can benefit from various types of sensors – such as sound sensors, air sensors, water sensors and GPS – working in conjunction with cameras, which provide a means of monitoring and verification.
Sensors today can already be used to monitor our environment as well as certain processes (for example correct waste handling processes). What makes them even more effective is the connection with cameras as it allows us to combine and aggregate all the different data for analysis,” said Andrea Sorri, Director of Business Development for Government, City Surveillance and Critical Infrastructures at Axis Communications
. “These systems are already used in various sectors for safety and security purposes but they could be applied even more widely to improve sustainability.”
According to Sorri, video surveillance in combination with IoT sensors can help address the following municipal issues.
According to Sorri, cameras and surveillance systems are already used in order to relieve and support law enforcement teams, and IoT sensors can expand cameras’ security functions. “IoT sensors are ideal to collect information that cannot be gathered solely by images. They can detect things like noise and vibrations which makes them the ideal addition to many camera based surveillance systems. They allow users to keep an eye on threatened sectors. They can, for instance, be used to create early warning systems which alert authorities and operators about a potential threat before it occurs and escalates,” he said.
Preventing weather-related issues
Environmental sensors in conjunction with a data analysis platform can help predict whether a weather-related issue will escalate, and video surveillance can monitor the situation. “That means if the real-time measurement system detects rain, the data analytics and forecasting software can calculate if there is a threat of flooding by considering the environmental factors on site in the calculation. By adding IP cameras it is easy to monitor if the water exceeds a certain level,” Sorri said. “Especially for cities that are close to waters of any kind, it can prevent a disaster or buy the rescuers some time to inform and evacuate citizens if necessary.”
Pollution reduction/enhancing environment
According to Sorri, especially in bigger cities one very common health risk would be air pollution through smog, which can lead to irritation of throat and eyes as well as severe heart and lung damage. In this regard sensors and video surveillance can again co-work to help.
“With the help of pollution detectors, it is possible to spot a change in air quality quickly, which is often caused by traffic, weather or industrial activities. Once the origin of this change has been detected, the respective actions to counteract this pollution can be taken,” he said. “In certain areas of the city, a video-based traffic management system could be used. Not only can cameras provide data about the current traffic situation that could help to verify where the pollution is coming from, but they could also predict a worsening of the air quality due to an increased level of traffic. Based on the gathered information data operators can make informed decisions and take actions regarding the diversion of traffic.”