Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Safe Cities Summit in Nairobi – When Kenya was hit by a rash of terrorist attacks, it had an immediate negative effect on its economy as revenue from tourism plummeted.
The high-profile terrorist attacks were exacerbated by a high level of public crime and a police force woefully inadequate to the challenge.
Shaka Kwach, head of special project Safaricom, explains that the terrorist attacks directly damaged the development of tourism which is the pillar industry of Kenya. Tellingly, the number of international visitors dropped 11,1% in 2014, with tourism revenues down by 7,3% in that year.
The situation wasn’t improved by the obsolete systems in use that has no capability for resource tracking, resulting in poor response time.
The old system had no security, so it was prone to interference by unauthorised people including the introduction of signal noise that often resulted in information being lost.
“The system was obsolete, and a complete new infrastructure was required to be effective,” Kwach says.
Government entered into a public:private partnership with Safaricom to make the country’s biggest cities to be safer for citizens and tourists alike.
The first step was to build a public/citizen emergency number and to build an emergency contact centre that caters to calls in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Operational support was centralised, with response units capable of handling voice, video and data, underpinned by a critical incident management suite.
“Key was to build a solution with visualised processes,” Kwach says.
To this end, the system enables the full integration of video surveillance, video conferencing, and eLTE broadband terminals over a 4G LTE broadband trunking system carrying audio, video and data over one network.
Systems on the edge include a GIS/AVLA service, CAD service, ANPR service, HD CCTV service and UC/VC service. These are integrated in a unified communication and video conferencing infrastructure. This is carried by the trunking infrastructure that links into the city surveillance infrastructure of HD cameras.
The cameras full HD, 360-degree protection and 30-times zoom. They offer 24/7 video surveillance with strong light suppression; and can do licence plate recognition as a virtual checkpoint
The customer benefits because it deters criminal 24/7 in covered areas; saves video for 31 days, enabling quick evident and criminal capturing
The 4G LTE broadband trunking system also enables more effective crime fighting. The technology is professional broadband trunking, with 2 000 users per group; it offers mobile broadband with 100Mbps; and all connection time is less than 300ms for critical communication.
The city benefits because it an display a policemen on GIS in realtime, facilitating rapid police force deployment and transfer. In addition, it provides high reliability and security communication which improves collaboration efficiency.
The command and control centre delivers efficient collaboration, with technology including an E2E visual operation, LTE onsite video, camera video and conference video. There is cross-department collaboration based on CAD/GIS. And it is convergent and open.
The main benefit is that incident reception can now be completed in minutes.
Some of the tangible outcomes of implementing a safe city solution include a massive decrease in crime – in the 2014-2015 year it was down 46%; improved economic development – international visitor numbers up 14%; and the national image has been improved, especially after two incident-free high-profile visits.
In terms of long term values, Kwach points out that a safe environment boosts investment and employment, while improving Kenya’s working and living environment. In addition, increased security supports the sustainable development of society and the economy.
The safe city system in Nairobi and Mombasa was built by Safaricom, and will be operated by the telco for five years, upon which it will be transferred to the city.