A sophisticated technology infrastructure and real-time data have allowed the Boston Police Department to reduce crime in the city by 20 percent while arresting far fewer people than in the past.
“A lot of that is because we are policing smarter. All this technology allows us to do our jobs better,” retired Boston Policy Commissioner William Evans told more than 200 business leaders at an AIM Executive Forum on Smart Cities this morning.
Evans, now Chief of Police at Boston College, said police now have access to video feeds, body camera footage, “shot-spotter” sound data and predictive analytics as they assign police officers to areas most affected by crime. Beginning in January, he said, Boston police officers will collect all of that information on smart phones.
Several miles to the south in Quincy, Chris Cassani is overseeing a $1.3 million project to install an adaptive signal platform that will allow the city’s traffic signals to share data to improve traffic flow. He said the system contains a software algorithm that can grow alongside the tremendous amount of economic development taking place in Quincy.
“There has been a tremendous amount of change, a tremendous amount of investment,” said Cassani, the city’s Director of Traffic, Parking, Alarm and Lighting.
Smart Cities technologies represent a kind of “fifth utility” for municipalities alongside water, electricity, gas and waste, according to three senior executives from Dell who lead the discussion. The executives said that technology not only makes more efficient the city services upon which businesses depend, but also increasingly makes reams to data available to employers on everything from flooding history to refuse collection.
“We absolutely have to build out a digital infrastructure,” said Corky Allen, Regional Field Director for State and Local Government Affairs for Dell EMC.
Rich Barlow, Field Chief Technology Officer for Dell, described how the City of Virginia Beach recently developed the ability to coordinate data from hundreds of flood sensors to minimize damage from hurricanes and other natural disasters.
AIM President Rick Lord said all the changes have important implications for employers.”
“Technology is transforming the world outside your business,” Lord told the gathering.
“It’s changing the management of the roads your employees travel to work, the infrastructure that “provides power to your building, and the municipal emergency services you call if the worst happens.”