Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicago's OEMC and IBM's Smart Surveillance System

How many times do you drive in circles looking for a parking spot on a Saturday night? How many of us have left our purse, backpack or suite case sitting on the backseat of a car? In today’s ‘go go go’ lifestyle a lot of commuters not only take a brief case, backpack or a personal bag but also a gym bag, miscellaneous errand stuff, extra clothing if we have plans that night or a bag of stuff to donate to Salvation Army – and it sits on the back seat or in the trunk of our car for eight plus hours. Such things go unnoticed in big cities every day but that may change and you may need to keep your car box and bag free in the future.

Chicago looks to be a pioneer with a new video surveillance system that would recognize such behavior as anomalies and alert authorities to take a closer look. They’re working with IBM who is developing a futuristic video surveillance system designed to scan the city streets looking for anything suspicious and everything from bombs to traffic jams. Operation Virtual Shield is intended to give the city's emergency response coordination agency the ability to remotely keep track of emergencies in ‘real time’. For the past few years Chicago has been rolling out thousands of video surveillance cameras linked by fiber-optic cables. However, the new technology is based on IBM’s Smart Surveillance System, where the software could recognize a package that had been left in a public park or a car parked where no car is supposed to be, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman with Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

One key factor to the success of the project is Firetide, an IBM business partner whose wireless network infrastructure supports a wide range of fixed and mobile wireless public safety applications including covert and overt video surveillance, traffic control, VoIP communications, and rapid database access. Firetide's wireless technology is instrumental in allowing the city to deploy a large number of additional cameras in the exact locations required. Firetide's unique technology allows real-time video to be transported wirelessly, thereby saving taxpayers millions of dollars in wired infrastructure costs. IBM is also testing mobile technology utilizing Firetide's infrastructure to allow first responders access to the video system via mobile vehicles such as police and fire.

According to Sam Docknevich, a Digital Video Surveillance National Practice Leader with IBM, IBM is now talking to different metropolitan cities about utilizing similar projects as IBM’s Smart Surveillance System.

About the City of Chicago The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC)

The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) manages and operates the city's public safety communications systems that coordinate the response of police, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) resources giving police and fire personnel, on the street, valuable information to help them respond quickly to emergency situations.
The OEMC's Emergency Management Team acts as the coordinator for the City's efforts to develop, plan, analyze, implement and maintain programs for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The Emergency Management Team is also responsible for directing the activities of City departments and other agencies at disaster scenes.


IBM software to scan Chicago streets

IBM Smart Surveillance System

Learning to live with Big Brother

No comments: