Technology and security experts have called on African governments to embrace the Safe City model to address rising crime, cyber threats and terrorism, accelerate economic growth,ensure data sharing among security agencies and cost savings and growing populations. According to them, with the increasing frequency of crime, terrorism and natural disasters, public safety has become a critical issue for governments worldwide. Protecting citizens’ lives and properties means building safe cities that are able to withstand external shocks.
Using new leading ICT, governments can enable a properly connected safe city where visualization and collaboration are embedded into the city’s infrastructure to maximize public safety. This enables the safe city to become a critical component in smart city development.
New ICT, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile broadband, video cloud, and big data, are developing rapidly, and are widely used in areas including integrated monitoring, warning plans, emergency communications, and decision making support.
With safe city solutions, comprehensive perception, emergency command visualization and effective inter-departmental coordination can be realized, creating a three-dimensional, intelligent public safety system for a city.
Diana Yuan, president of marketing and solution sale department, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei in her welcome address at the Huawei Safe City Summit in Nairobi, Kenya which began yesterday said they are commitment to providing integrated ICT solutions that can be used to bring safety, organised transport and ease of health care to citizens in cities. “Huawei is committed in building sustainable ecosystem that is open and scalable. We believe there is a convergence of ICT and safe city building. Today, we are hosting this summit with the theme : Leading New ICT, Making Cities Safer. Africa is one of our most important markets.
” We have been here for 17 years. We are here to help bring efficient utilisation of infrastructure, improve public safety, communication and traffic. We are committed to providing one-stop ICT infrastructure to secure human lives through application of ICTs ” she said.
Professor Bitange Ndemo, former permanent secretary, Ministry of ICT, Kenya said that he hopes one day all cities in Africa will become smart cities. “Our government decided to invest in smart Citi to have visibility of movement of vehicles, security to create a new city and hopefully to make a city that every other African city can emulate that are safer for citizens. “. He said the Huawei Safe City Solutions have been deployed to in Nairobi and Mombasa, the two largest cities in Kenya. The solutions have thousands of high definition cameras deployed in the streets with command and control centre situated at the Kenya National Police Service using 4G LTE Broadband technology provided by Safaricom, the local public network operator. Also, Shaka Kwach, head of special projectss, Safaricom, said the deployment of safe city solutions has increased safety and security, reduced crime rate by 46 per cent, increased international visitors by 14 per cent, attracted more international investors and improved the national image of Kenya.
Similarly, Khoo Boon Hui, former president of Interpol said technology is changing everything, disrupting lhuman lives and connecting humans and machines. He said there is som many challenges facing governments, and citizens. “Securing public safety means addresing digital security, health. Security and infrastructure. Because the world is moving fast, we all need help both for the government and citizens.
“There is need to leverage strategy, networks for innovation. Colloborative public safty will counter emergency threats and challenges” he said. Koh Hong Eng, global chief public safety expert, Huawei said no smart city is safe without safe city.
Similarly, Thomas Lynch, direct of safe cities and security at IHS said “We trully believe in safe cities driven by technologies. What I can tell you is that in the last 18 months, safe city has been the most important issue. Safe City is a security concept.