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INSIGHTS

AI enhancing public safety operations in smart cities

AI enhancing public safety operations in smart cities
AI enhancing public safety operations in smart cities
Around the world, urbanization continues to shape the way people live. More of the world’s population is moving from rural to urban areas. Previously modest cities are becoming megacities. With this change comes commercial development, collaboration and economic growth. But with it also comes increased congestion, crime rates and waste creation. Among the most troubling of these effects is the threat to public safety. a&s Asia sat with Robert Yang, VP of Sales for Asia-Pacific at Seagate Technology to discuss recent developments in artificial intelligence and the role that dedicated storage solutions play in Smart cities.
Around the world, urbanization continues to shape the way people live. More of the world’s population is moving from rural to urban areas. Previously modest cities are becoming megacities. With this change comes commercial development, collaboration and economic growth. But with it also comes increased congestion, crime rates and waste creation. Among the most troubling of these effects is the threat to public safety. a&s Asia sat with Robert Yang, VP of Sales for Asia-Pacific at Seagate Technology to discuss recent developments in artificial intelligence and the role that dedicated storage solutions play in Smart cities.

a&s : What is the importance that Seagate sees in smart cities as a target vertical?


Yang: Safety is as much a psychological and socioeconomic issue as it is a physical one and therefore, fundamental to all aspects of urban development. It should come as no surprise, then, that the global safe city market, which hovered around $16.2 billion in 2017, is expected to nearly double to $29.6 billion by 2022, according to IHS Markit. Early on we have identified the demands of this vertical as growing and where supplying the right solution will have an impact not only on our business but also improve the lives of millions of people. We now see that the discussion in the market is moving towards a holistic point of view, rather than a narrow one. The “smart city.” While safe cities focus on safety and security, smart cities expand the scope of the safe city concept to encompass goals such as efficiency, inclusivity and sustainability.

a&s : Seagate was involved in research that forecasts Zetabytes of information being created in the future from different sensors and devices in the city. How will it be possible to overcome this sea of data?


Yang: That’s true, the focus of the smart city is to connect devices to enhance city residents’ lives in a broader sense. They combine low power sensors, wireless networks and intelligent analytics using the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver real-time urban data and leverage that information to optimize everything from public safety to transportation, energy, water and waste management. In the context of public safety, at the core of dealing with these mass amounts of data are video analytics, a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), which helps public safety personnel improve initial threat assessment and real-time response. In today’s smart cities, these operations look very different—and AI is the driving technology behind that change. Technology supports law enforcement officers daily, aiding in ways to make their operations more efficient, intelligent video analytics that are able to learn how to classify normal and abnormal activity can flag relevant footage for a law enforcement officer’s review. This reduces hours of work to minutes and transforms traditional video capture into a tool that enhances productivity. This is where reliable storage comes into play.

a&s: What makes storage so important?


Yang: Storage is a key component in these solutions. Without the right infrastructure to accommodate hundreds of HD cameras and surveillance AI, smart surveillance systems will fail. For security and law enforcement personnel requiring immediate insights from their intelligent video solutions, setbacks such as dropped frames or data loss inhibit deep learning and predictive analytics performance. For this reason, security and public safety agencies are turning to data storage leader Seagate Technology to upgrade their storage systems in this era of smart cities and AI. If you are familiar with the proverb “for the want of a nail a shoe was lost”, we aim to deliver reliable data storage that will prevent greater losses in the future.

a&s: Can you give some examples of successful deployments in this field?


Yang: A good example from other companies we have been working closely with is Avigilon. Avigilon Third Generation High Definition Video Appliance (HDVA) is powered by Seagate Technology hard drives, and this ensures video is securely preserved with the utmost integrity for review and prosecution procedures. This appliance simplifies recording throughput, video streaming and playback, making data transfer between edge devices and central command instantaneous. Our drives supports the extensive workload of AI driven analytics like Avigilon Appearance Search and unusual motion detection analytics. These two examples allow security operators and law enforcement personnel can comb through large amounts of recorded video to quickly locate a specific person or vehicle of interest continuously observe and encode what activity is typical for a given scene, in order to detect any deviation from those norms.

Storage considerations for better data management

There are a few key data management recommendations that all public safety agencies and city personnel should keep in mind.

First, law enforcement and security personnel need to know that relying on cloud computing alone is no longer the most viable option. Though optimal for aggregating petabytes of data across sites for deep learning, cloud computing can create delays in data transfer and analysis needed by personnel at local sites. As a best practice, agencies should implement edge computing devices, in addition to cloud computing solutions—a strategy storage leaders refer to as “IT 4.0.” By utilizing AI-enabled NVRs at the edge, data analysis occurs closer to where the data was first captured, reducing the time it takes to deliver insights.

Second, strategies that accommodate high definition data streams are essential. Advanced video management software, such as Avigilon’s ACC 7 employs High Definition Stream Management (HDSM) to maximize image detail and minimize bandwidth usage. Instead of compressing video and using multi-streaming for bandwidth management, ACC employs HDSM to better organize video data and reduce overall network load. By prioritizing content being viewed by the user, this strategy stores information in lower resolution and smaller packet sizes then increases image size and resolution to offer greater detail when the user engages a camera stream. This dramatically reduces the amount of information exchanged between server and client.

Third, public safety agencies should replace standard hard drives in video appliances and NVRs for surveillance-optimized hard drives like Seagate SkyHawk and SkyHawk AI. Standard hard drives are traditionally designed to collect and archive data, feature write-only functions and support 8x5 workloads. In a world where video surveillance and AI are transforming the utility of data, however, standard hard drives no longer meet the mark. Law enforcement and security personnel should integrate SkyHawk drives into their storage systems to handle large influxes of video. They feature robust read and write workloads and are built to operate 24x7. SkyHawk offers the highest capacity in its class, storing up to 10,000 hours and available as a 16TB drive.

For centralized storage locations that need to expand as public safety initiatives grow, servers equipped with Seagate Exos hard drives manage petabytes of data from thousands of cameras and offer Seagate Secure cybersecurity features for added protection. Servers powered by Seagate Nytro solid-state drives achieve greater speed and performance ideal for applications using hot data. With Seagate’s reliable portfolio of hard drives options, public safety agencies can quickly improve their recording throughput and reliability.

Finally, public safety agencies should consider implementing additional data protection measures such as Seagate Data Recovery Services. This way, users ensure that even when unpredictable events occur.


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