IoT analytics platform

INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Modern data analytics for public safety IoT

As the internet of things expands, both the size and potential of data captured will continue to grow. For businesses and government alike, analyzing that data can deliver actionable insights that transform their products and services.   From leveraging satellite imagery and sensor data to predict which areas will be hardest hit by natural disasters, to tracking vehicle health for public fleets like school buses and police cruisers, to ingesting and analyzing law enforcement body-camera footage, the possibilities are endless.

Today, the sheer volume of data generated requires modern and more efficient platforms that support large-scale applications and workflows. Software that can automatically analyze this data quickly and effectively is critical. When these tools are applied to public safety and law enforcement agencies, they can maximize the data insights generated by IoT-connected devices and transform operations to ensure a safer population.  

Public safety today

Like most government agencies, public safety departments are constrained by tight budgets that ask employees to do more with less.  Raytown, Mo.'s  decision  to cut $3 million from the police department’s budget meant the chief had to consider letting go a third of the force's workforce. And when confidence in police reached a 22-year low in 2015 -- and that rate only slightly increased last year -- public safety organizations are facing calls to make operations and proceedings more transparent. With such factors at play, agencies must come up with more efficient, creative ways to accomplish tasks.

By using data from IoT connected devices, machine learning and cloud computing, public safety agencies can increase improve efficiency in  fleets, officers and assets. Mobile devices and real-time video can give police a complete, accurate picture of a particular situation that can be easily shared across departments.

Video from body-worn cameras provides a perfect memory for officers in the field during high-stress situations in which details may be forgotten. It can be used in internal investigations to refute or confirm events, fostering transparency between law enforcement and citizens.  

Emergency response vehicle fleets are often tracked with sensors to not only monitor individual vehicles, but to collect critical data that can be used to help police, fire and EMS officials improve efficiency and response times. GPS data can help guide an ambulance to the fastest and most direct route in an emergency while sensors in traffic lights can be triggered to ensure that opposing traffic safely stays clear. And telematics data allows a proactive approach to fleet maintenance, increasing vehicle reliability and reducing the opportunity cost of untimely repairs.

Officers can also use data from GPS-enabled ankle monitors to track parolees  and those under house arrest, providing valuable data on the movements of the wearer and flagging unusual behavior. Besides helping to alleviate prison overcrowding, use of the monitors has placed those wearing the monitors at the scene of crimes, leading to convictions. The improved ability to track rehabilitated individuals can give communities greater peace of mind as those individuals re-enter society.

Public safety and justice departments that tap into the data harnessed from IoT-connected devices can gain important insights. Making this data fully actionable requires a modern platform with advanced analytics because the volume, velocity and variety of data generated from connected devices is too vast for traditional platforms to manage in real-time. Public safety agencies that hope to benefit from predictive analytics and machine learning  must take a different approach to data curation. Because the uses for IoT-related data are expanding as fast as it can be collected, agencies must have the correct mindset, tools and training in place so they can improve agency operations and ultimately make communities safer.   

About the Author

By Dave Shuman is IoT and manufacturing industry leader at Cloudera.

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