This series of articles about Next Generation Mobile Intelligence (NGMI) explores the four principles that make up our vision for the future of smart public safety and how these principles can be applied to help government agencies overcome the many challenges they face today.
In the first two parts of this series, we discussed mobility and connections. Mobility ensures the right information is received by public safety officials in their working environments while connections are about the communications networks that carry that information.
Intelligence focuses on filtering meaningful data from information captured from all sources, in other words, turning information into something that can be easily used and acted upon. Intelligence solutions give every team member the capacity to make informed decisions faster and, when used effectively, enable public safety agencies to shift from reacting and responding to predicting and preventing
For the emergency worker
An emergency worker in the field faces three critical questions:
- Am I in the right place?
- Who are the people involved?
- What else do I need to know about the situation I am entering eg location?
NGMI intelligence solutions provide the answers to these questions when required, without creating distraction with unnecessary detail.
For example, imagine paramedics responding to a Triple Zero call for a person who has overdosed on illicit drugs. To understand the situation, officers need to know whether they are entering the home of an individual drug user or a drug den already known to police.
Imagine the benefit for firefighters, knowing in advance if they are entering a building inhabited by a known hoarder, so they can prepare for the increased danger.
Similarly, picture a police officer who knows that a dangerous criminal may be in the vehicle he or she has just pulled over.
Having an additional level of intelligence means emergency workers are better prepared to make the right decisions faster ̶ helping to keep themselves and their communities safer.
At an organisational level
The challenge at an organisational level is sharing this critical information into the field. How can public safety agencies gather data from different sources and convert it into useful intelligence – despite limited resources?
- Capturing data
Today’s data comes from many sources: smart phones, cameras, sensors, CCTV cameras and social media, among others.
Within that data is the intelligence to create safer cities and communities. Data from disparate sources can be connected and correlated to provide a more detailed picture of an incident. For example, a post on Facebook about a car driving erratically, a red light camera image and a robbery may all be linked, which together provided a much better picture for investigators.
Nevertheless, there are challenges in gaining this data including:
- The ever-increasing volume of data created by modern technologies.
- Validating the integrity of data: data may lack context, be misleading or even incorrect.
- Reconciling “structured data” (information that is easy to analyse, such as graphs) with “unstructured data” (data not as readily processed, such as images, video footage or audio content).
- Analytics and data science
Analytics and data science can help to manage all this data, in two major ways:
- Time-consuming tasks can be managed using analytics, which reduces cost and increases accuracy. Take video analytics as an example. Algorithms can examine countless hours of video feed, monitoring for certain activities more consistently and with better strike rates than even the well-trained human eye. This capability can then be extended across multiple input sources without additional resources.
- Analysis can help agencies perform tasks more effectively and also recommend responding actions. Instead of solely relying on a judgment call about the importance of a piece of intelligence, data analytics can automatically make real-time decisions and deliver critical intelligence – the right information – to the right person at the right time.
- Actionable intelligence
Analytics helps to provide actionable intelligence, which is critical information that can be acted upon to make rapid and accurate decisions in the field or command centre. This information provides context-aware intelligence for whatever scenario is presented, enabling more efficient deployment of resources and better responder safety.
- Predictive analytics
In addition to information for day-to-day operations, intelligence-led solutions provide essential insights that can enable predictive analytics. Rather than a summary of past data or incidents, predictive analytics forecast future crime, including where and when events are likely to occur.
Analysis pinpoints event patterns related by identity, location, activity and time, as well as correlations between data. Public safety agencies can then position resources where they are needed most and can achieve the greatest impact.
By combining all available data, predictions become increasingly accurate, which enables policing to move from being reactive to proactive. Proactive policing can potentially reduce and mitigate crime, even before it occurs. Predictions also enable other public safety agencies to proactively manage and plan the levels, locations and capabilities of their resources.
NGMI intelligence solutions harness the masses of information derived from available data to deliver the right information to support specific team members. These solutions also hold the potential to help agencies shift from reacting and responding to anticipating, predicting and preventing. Analytics and intelligence predictions will empower responders to take action, optimising resources and improving outcomes for agencies and the community.