India has been slipping on the Global Peace Index rankings year after year and last year it was ranked amongst 20% of the most unsafe countries in the world (ranked 142 out of 158 on Global Peace Index). It is a major cause of concern since the safety of its citizens is of utmost importance for the good health and prosperity of any government. A safe and secure citizenry will actively participate in nation building activities and thereby foster economic growth.
Given the population, addressing security concerns arising due to natural calamities, terror attacks, or criminal activities is a tough task for the administration. Can technology come to the rescue of the government ? The answer is yes, technology developments in mobility, cloud, and analytics can help the government develop numerous key competencies ranging from accessing and integrating the right data, in the right time frame, to developing a unified response capability.
It is but natural, that armed with such new competencies, governments and public sector agencies in charge of crime detection, disaster/crisis/emergency management, and law enforcement will be better positioned to do their jobs in a more timely and effective manner. The benefits of such a compact citizen safety programme range from the economic to the psychological. As the info-graphic below shows, all three stakeholders: citizens, the government, and law enforcement agencies stand to benefit when smart technology is applied for intelligent public safety management.
According to Gartner, the public cloud services market in India is forecast to grow 36% in 2013 to total $443 million. Cloud computing alone offers enormous potential cost-savings for law enforcement, since law enforcement organizations don’t have to use their tight budgets to build their own information technology infrastructure (CII, 2012). This coupled with analytics and visualization tools can improve strategic, operational and cost based decision-making, thereby assisting intelligence-led law enforcement. The ‘Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems’, the ‘Mobile Based Flood Monitoring System’ and the ‘Tamil Nadu Road Accident Data Management System’ are some examples wear analytics, mobility and cloud are helping security agencies enforce and ensure public safety in an effective way.
While there is little doubt that technology can help create a networked and more intelligent public safety system, IT dependence does carry with it an evolving set of risks. Cyber security encompasses many different concepts, from information security to operational security to computer system security. In India, the vulnerability of government websites was highlighted when 117 websites were hacked between January and June, 2011.
Having said that, it remains to be seen how government and security agencies can best use the technologies at hand to make the citizens feel safe and secure. What do you think? Do write in.