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Growth of safe and smart cities

Growth of safe and smart cities

The upsurge in worldwide crime and terrorism along with the increase in urbanization has called attention to the need for safe city initiatives around the world. Safe city projects — which by definition of IHS integrate all security-relevant information obtained from video surveillance, CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives) sensors, biometrics, etc., onto a consolidated IT platform — have since become an important application for the security industry with a lot of development potential and is expected to continue to be a strong area of growth for security players in the coming years.

In 2011, research firm Frost and Sullivan gave a presentation on growth opportunities for security in safe cities in which they talked about how the migration to IP surveillance was crucial to its implementation, since safe cities center around the integration of various systems throughout a city. But, the slower than expected mass adoption of IP surveillance, as well as the global recession, has limited growth.

Now that IP surveillance has become standard and the global economy is recovering, more and more governments are implementing safe city initiatives, giving the security industry plenty of opportunities to capitalize on these large-scale projects.

The importance of safe city projects can be seen in the number of major manufacturers that are now offering safe city solutions. Furthermore, safe cities have been a focus topic for world market. For example, in 2009, the Mexican government, in cooperation with Mexican telecommunications company Telemex and French defense contractor Thales, began the “Ciudad Segura”(Safe City) project. The project included the installation of over 8,000 surveillance cameras around Mexico City, the country's capital and largest city, and use of Telemex's entire existing network and new optical fiber network. The project became fully operational in 2012.

In 2010, the EU also started an initiative to improve public safety with their SafeCity project. The project, funded by the EU, focused on several key application areas, according to the European Commission's website. This included decision support, video analytics, data fusion, 3D mapping, road and vehicle sensors, and video surveillance and citizen networks, all tied together through the EU's FI-WARE generic enablers.

Smart cities are also coming about, as smart devices, the IoT, and big data have all become major trends within the industry. IoT especially is helping to drive safe, smart cities by creating an environment of connectivity between different technologies, devices, and systems.

Safeguarding Cities in Asia
Several countries in Asia have really pushed forward plans to develop safe cities. Singapore is among those that have really embraced this concept, launching their Safe City Test Bed project in 2013. The year-long project was deployed in four precincts in the country with the goal of helping different agencies achieve better data management, situational awareness, deployment and streamlining of resources, and response time.

China has invested a lot in safe city projects. In 2011, the Chinese central government required 650 Chinese cities begin reforming their public security and safety infrastructures with new technologies, according to a 2013 report by Homeland Security Research. The report pointed out that the initiative would create the largest national safe city market in the world, worth a cumulative $138 billion from the period 2012 to 2022. Foreign-based companies will take up an estimated 35 percent of the safe city market share, counting for roughly $46 billion of the cumulative revenue during the projected period. With such a large population and China trying to move rural citizens into more urban settings, safety is a key priority, which should open up many opportunities for security players.

Other countries such as India have also put emphasis on safe/smart city projects. The government of India has plans to roll out 100 smart cities, in what they are calling the Smart Cities Mission, over the next five years. In addition to smart cities, safe city projects are also being rolled out countrywide.

Special Announcement of a&s International's 200th Issue 
a&s International's 200th issue is coming this month, which demonstrates how a&s International has been recognized by the global security market for the last 16 years. The a&s editorial team has planned a series of featured articles to recap the most significant security events, technologies, and industry changes, from 2007 to 2015 to celebrate the 200th issue. Hope you won't miss it!

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