New tech enabling regional plans for safer cities

Huawei is in talks for major Safe City technology roll-outs across the Middle East region, amidst growing focus on public safety and security

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New tech enabling regional plans for safer cities Improved monitoring and surveillance can help to deter crime and make cities safer, according to Huawei. (Getty Images)
By Staff Writer Published  April 6, 2016

Huawei Technologies has reconfirmed its commitment to the Middle East, after promising to help address security and safety concerns in major cities around the region.

Speaking at CeBIT, in Germany, last month, the Chinese tech giant expressed its desire to implement Safe City solutions to address the different challenges faced by different cities around the wider Middle East.

“Every country has its own pain,” said Joe So, Huawei’s chief technology officer for the Industry Solutions Group. “I’ve spoken to more than 50 governments and none of them have the same concerns. Istanbul is fighting civil unrest, Dubai is fighting traffic safety — each has its own priority.”

With this in mind, Huawei said it is dedicated to providing critical infrastructure layers that enable each city to build whichever applications it needs in order to increase its security measures.

“We provide the module, and allow developers to build the necessary applications for the cities in need,” So added.

Huawei’s Safe City solutions make up part of its Smart Cities Portfolio which leverages ICT to create integrated, intelligent cities using analytics, video, and IoT.

Although the company said it is yet to work directly in metropolitan areas such as Beirut and Istanbul, which are facing issues of civil unrest and political instability, it is keen to stress that regardless of the nature of its needs, every city can benefit from a Safe City deployment.

“We’re working with agencies in Saudi Arabia, on large scale projects that are currently in progress, as well as with some customers in Kuwait, and the UAE,” said Mohammad Allataifeh, director of Safe City Solutions, Middle East, Huawei. “Each project presents its own challenges, and fortunately we have a comprehensive solution that covers all these needs.”

When questioned whether or not it was working directly with organisations such as Interpol to combat terror threats, the company stated its product shouldn’t be seen as a direct solution for terrorism, as it’s less preventative, and more reactive.

“We can’t explicitly stop a crime happening,” So said. “The idea is that once a crime does happen, the next steps, response and rescue is much more decisive, efficient and intelligent.”

Kenya is a good example for the Chinese company. It recently finished a full-scale roll out of Huawei’s Safe City portfolio in order to modernize its communications between law enforcement and emergency response units, improve its surveillance with innovative cameras and sensors, and implement video capabilities for police in its major cities such as Mombasa and Nairobi.

In just one year, Kenya has managed to reduce its crime — including car theft, robbery, and murder — by 46%.

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