What is a Safe City? Is it a marketing agenda, a tagline for a revitalization program, possibly an economic development campaign or a “See Something, Say Something” mantra? We’ve all heard various iterations and slogans used (Safe, Smart, Connected, Converged, etc.) describing the “City of Tomorrow”, yet how many of these “blueprints” actually show us HOW to build this ecosystem, much less how to fund such an undertaking? The definitions to these questions are often times vendor-driven, interlaced with their respective product and/or service portfolio and typically focused on one or two markets.
While there are many views as to what may define a true “Safe City”, in this author’s view there is only one model to construct this ecosystem and it follows the path our nation is already taking to revolutionize Public Safety: Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1). Why reinvent the wheel when a model already exists that can not only power this cityscape? Our nation is already underway with revitalizing the communications infrastructures which serve every one of us, using a roadmap and framework architecture that can power an entire city or metropolitan area. This framework relies on key pillars which, just like a Safe/Connected/Smart City, provide the foundation for NG9-1-1, namely:
With these pillars in place, a city can define a virtually unlimited path for its respective future-state ecosystem, as a Safe City is one which is connected, networked and secured. Whether the connection is initiated by a human or a traffic camera, communication grids power our world today; the same networked infrastructure models we are laying in place for Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets) with NG9-1-1 services can (and should) serve a greater good within the any connected city.
We live in a day and age where software services and network access power our daily communications, yet many in the planning stages of citywide transformation efforts are not aware of the synergies in their own respective backyards; alignment of voice and data modernization programs at a city level with the architectural blueprint already in place via NG9-1-1 has the ability to revolutionize the way city services are connected. Connecting disparate assets, entities, end points and systems is part and parcel to NG9-1-1, accounting for the need to integrate Machine to Machine (M2M) interfaces and non-traditional communicative paths. Is this not the same ecosystem a Safe City strives to empower?
Call it what you will, be it “Safe”, “Smart”, “Connected” or simply “Modern”, the true City of Tomorrow is one that sees the benefit of leveraging existing investments, sharing in infrastructure, reducing cost and improving service. Rather than reinventing the wheel, city planners and stakeholders should become aware of what we as an industry are striving to put in place and educate these constituents on how NG9-1-1 is the catalyst for building a Safe City ecosystem.
Next month we will explore how the network “pillar” of the “NG Safe City” can be uniquely designed to create a public and private broadband infrastructure for a city or metro area via ESInet architecture. We look forward to your views on how you see synergies in this and other initiatives, as alignment of causes to achieve a greater good is what we should all be striving towards. Please feel free to contact one of the Unify team members for further information on our approach to integrated infrastructure investments and how NG9-1-1 can power your respective transformation.