Transforming public safety through tech


Tuesday, 12 October, 2021


Transforming public safety through tech

An expansive global study has uncovered how expectations for safety and security are changing, while fuelling public safety and enterprise innovation. An independent academic research team — led by Dr Chris Bauer at Goldsmiths, University of London — partnered with Motorola Solutions to develop the Consensus for Change report.

The study surveyed 12,000 citizens and interviewed 50 public safety agencies, commercial organisations and industry experts across 10 geographic markets including Australia, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nordics, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

It analyses how the global COVID-19 pandemic heightened awareness of the need for technology to enhance public safety while accelerating innovation and technology adoption for emergency services and enterprises around the world.

“The pandemic fuelled the need to use technologies in different ways to address new challenges within a rapidly evolving environment,” said Mahesh Saptharishi, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Motorola Solutions.

“We also saw an accelerated adoption and modernisation of technologies with significantly compressed implementation timelines. This research profiles the extraordinary ways that public safety and enterprise organisations continue to adapt to changing policies and needs.”

The study found that an overwhelming 88% of citizens globally want to see public safety transformed through the use of advanced technology. Other major findings include:

  • 71% say advanced technologies, such as video cameras, data analytics, cybersecurity and the cloud, are needed to address challenges of the modern world.
  • 70% say emergency services should be able to predict risk, a task that can be supported by advanced technologies.
  • 75% say that they are willing to trust the organisations that hold their information so long as they use it appropriately.
     

The research identifies three major trends that demonstrate an inflection point in how citizens and organisations are thinking about technology and safety.

The pandemic redefined expectations for safety

Dr Brauer said that conducting the study against the backdrop of the global pandemic uncovered unique insights into public expectations and attitudes for safety.

“Citizens all over the world are coming to terms with what it means to live with COVID-19 and how it impacts their safety,” Dr Brauer said.

“Our shared experience of the pandemic has made us realise that technology can play a far greater role in keeping us safe and has increased our understanding of why public safety and enterprise organisations need it to respond to new threats.”

The pandemic accelerated technology innovation

Consensus for Change highlights how the pandemic sparked high-velocity innovation for public safety agencies and businesses, especially in the areas of cloud adoption, video security and interoperability between disparate organisations and systems, while reconfirming the need for reliable and resilient mission-critical communications.

Technology must be used in fair, transparent and inclusive ways

The report also reinforces the need for transparency and trust to increase public support for technology deployments. Citizens want the benefits of technology to be easily understood and for it to be used in ways that are transparent, fair and inclusive.

The research also identifies that more public engagement is needed to increase understanding of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

“As technology continues to quickly evolve, it is critical for organisations to ensure that their advancements are built, and understood, to be human-centric,” Saptharishi said.

“For example, artificial intelligence should be designed in a way that respects human decision-making and considers the public’s input and needs, while allowing users to make better informed decisions and respond to complex threats. By designing advanced technologies to be assistive, we ensure that the decision-making remains the sole responsibility of humans.”

Authors say the report is an essential resource for public safety agencies and enterprises to understand and apply lessons from the pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the need to look at things and respond differently — from assessing risks and better predicting areas of operational disruption, to evaluating and integrating the right technologies to support business continuity. It has also reinforced the need for better communication and collaboration with communities and among stakeholders to secure support for the expanded use of advanced technologies.

As communities across the globe continue to respond to wide-reaching threats to our safety, these insights emphasise the steps they can take today to assure greater safety for the future.

To read the executive summary or the full report, click here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/toa555

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