Public Safety

Just as safety is of immense importance in our cities today, it will remain just as important in the smart city. Although the concept of public safety nowadays remains strongly limited to the safety of the citizens and the public infrastructure and is closely associated with police, fire department and healthcare, it will widen in the future to include the safety of the newly developed communication infrastructure that connects everything. In smart cities, the concept can therefore be sorted into two categories: on the one hand into the immediate safety of citizens and utilities and on the other hand into the safety or functionality of the all-pervasive information and communication infrastructures. The advantages of a networked, city-wide communication infrastructure of course entail the risk of vulnerability with an immediate effect on essential areas of the municipal infrastructures. These infrastructures have to be protected.

Prevention will develop into a key concept in the smart city. Information and communication technologies can help with this issue as well. Starting from the simulations of crisis situations that not only analyze the behavior of people or traffic in public spaces – but that can also evaluate and improve the processes within the communication networks including their effects on all actors involved. The interfaces and control mechanisms, which ensure that problems can be eliminated quickly or that the data flow can be flexibly rerouted, are especially important in crisis situations. As a result, crucial information reaches its destination, for example the fire department or the hospital. Prevention means in this case that the components that fill the communication infrastructure of the smart city with content and life, are constantly controlled and that they fix problems themselves, if possible, so that they are able to react reliably in a crisis situation. In addition, the sensor networks contribute to safety: They help in case of exceptional situations to ensure that actors like the police, the fire department or the agency for technical relief can do their job as effectively and quickly as possible.

Not only in emergency and crisis situations but also in everyday situations, such as while shopping online or during virtual interactions with governmental authorities, security is of utmost importance. The security of the electronic data traffic and data protection will become more important with the expansion of eGovernment in smart cities. Control mechanisms as well as sophisticated identity management make the use of electronic administrative services easier for citizens without compromising security.