Jun 05, 2016

The IoT is Helping Homeland Security in Crime Prevention

We’ve seen it in the movies hundreds of times: The authorities are hot on the trail of a dangerous suspect, chasing him through city streets until the perpetrator shakes the tail by disappearing into a crowd of people. However, this is not merely the stuff of Hollywood fiction. We face many real threats in today’s world and, with the burgeoning of urban populations, it can be difficult to ensure people’s safety when authorities are tasked with finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Thanks to the Internet of Things, together with 4G LTE technology, authorities can now do more to prevent crimes before they happen, rather than waiting for a criminal to strike.

A 2015 Homeland Security Research report, Global Video Analytics, ISR and Intelligent Video Surveillance Market—2015-2020, cited the IoT as a primary factor in the growth of the intelligent surveillance market. With revenues anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 14 percent through 2020, the IoT provides benefits that were, just a few short years ago, impossible to implement.

One factor driving this growth is the improvement of recognition software. A networked surveillance grid casts a larger net than isolated proprietary networks. When a person or item of interest is recognized by a security camera, the individuals monitoring the activity can be notified quickly regardless of proximity to the location. The IoT can make networks such as these more effective by decreasing the need for human operators to continuously monitor vast amounts analyze data. Fewer human resources means lower operational costs and fewer instances of operator fatigue, which can lead to overlooked events. Additionally, smart cities are beginning to roll out across the U.S., making it more convenient to gather data and images via traffic lights at highly traveled areas.

However, to fully leverage this intelligent surveillance, the authorities must partner with cities to prioritize the upgrade of 4G LTE infrastructure. 3G cellular connectivity does not provide the bandwidth needed for real-time machine-to-machine video communications, while Wi-Fi reception lacks the broad range necessary to communicate effectively over distances.

Furthermore, 4G LTE has built upon the security features first seen in 2G and 3G connections, such as encryption designed to keep out malicious attempts to gain access to data being transmitted. This is a critical consideration as it pertains to public safety.

The benefits are undeniable. In the past, picking a person of interest out of a crowd required lots of manpower on the ground, as well as large numbers of people to sift through hours of security footage. Putting together a suspect’s entire evasive route was like piecing together a puzzle, gathering information from a number of different locations.

The IoT, with a robust 4G LTE connectivity will improve accuracy and efficiency in preventing and responding to incidents, as well as reducing operational and manpower costs, making our cities much safer.