Technology Vision 2018

Public Safety Unleashed

A public safety perspective on the Accenture Technology Vision 2018


What's In This Article

  • A public safety perspective on the Accenture Technology Vision 2018 which highlights emerging technology trends that will have significant impact across industries in the next 3 years, and are actionable today
  • We examine how digital technologies trends are enabling citizens and public safety organisations to interlink and interact in completely new ways
  • The technology advances outlined in this year's Accenture Technology Vision all point to a future for public safety that is more collaborative, connected and intelligent than ever

For public safety organisations, weaving and blurring of distinctions are not only between people and technology, but also between citizens and public safety agencies, and how they can interact and collaborate in new ways.

Public safety agencies must also contend with another form of blurring: between the physical and the virtual or digital. Few crimes today don't have some digital component. That's changing the way that the police need to prevent, detect and solve criminal activity.

The development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly blur the lines between human and machine driven decision-making and responses. As machines take more decisions than ever, making sure they make the 'right' decisions and operate according to the expected standards of police behavior will be critically important.

About the Authors

James Slessor

Managing Director, Global Public Safety Industry

Matthew Ilijic

Managing Director, Public Safety Lead, Australia Accenture

Trend 1

Citizen AI

Raising AI to benefit society

AI has come of age for public safety organisations. It is a tool that they must increasingly embrace. Faced with an explosion of data, agencies will be overwhelmed without the ability of AI to 'see the unseeable', capturing, identifying and driving insight from patterns or events that humans will almost certainly miss.

However, deploying AI is no longer just about training it to perform a given task, it's about "raising" it to act responsibly. By recognising that AI has become a critical tool in preventing and detecting crime, and raising it accordingly, public safety organisations can create a collaborative and powerful new member of the workforce.

For collaboration to succeed, AI can't operate as a "black box". Agencies must ensure AI system's outputs are transparent and can be understood by citizens and employees, or other artificially intelligent systems.

Trend 2

Extended reality

The end of distance

The importance of place is disappearing as extended reality removes the hurdle of distance, increasing access to people, information, and experiences.

The ability to use virtual reality to train police officers in a wide variety of highly realistic scenarios is creating new possibilities. Not only can it recreate a variety of potential training scenarios, but VR can also be deployed to show and explore what a real environment will be like before officers engage.

Extended reality can also enable a common information environment, regardless of where an individual happens to be. Headsets can display the same information across many different users, with 3-D mixed reality experiences blending the physical and the digital. In Zhengzhou province, East Central China this technology is being used by rail police to provide facial recognition and help with crowd management. While still experimental, the potential for technologies like these are to create a new layer of information for operational resources, enhancing their ability to understand and respond to their environment.

Trend 3

Data veracity

The importance of trust

All organisations are more data-driven than ever. But inaccurate and manipulated information creates a new vulnerability that threatens to compromise the insights organisations rely on to plan and operate. The harm from bad data creates a risk for public safety organisations themselves, but also a new threat which they will need to be able to prevent and detect.

Organisations can address this by building confidence in three key data-focused tenets:

  1. Provenance: The history of data from its origin throughout its life cycle

  2. Context: The circumstances around its use

  3. Integrity: Securing and maintaining data

Police forces have had intelligence units for many decades. That same approach will have to be applied to becoming data intelligence units. To achieve the best results, those intelligence units will need to combine smart technologies and human insight.

Trend 4

Frictionless business

Built to partner at scale

The public safety ecosystem must include a range of new partners from all sectors with skills, assets and capabilities to help combat evolving threats. Yet trust between these agencies and partners can be limited. And that inhibits the willingness to share information.

Using trusted technology—such as blockchain and smart contracts—can expand partner networks into trusted ecosystems that grow the range of insights that public safety organisations could draw on to prevent crime.

Those that invest in these changes today will redefine how they exchange and collaborate in the future. The potential for public safety is not only to connect with other forces and agencies, but with citizens to develop new intelligence capabilities.

Trend 5

Internet of thinking

Creating intelligent distributed systems

The volume of data flowing from people and devices, vehicles and sensors is rapidly growing. Public safety agencies need to understand how to manage and use that wealth of data, which presents both risks and new opportunities to gain greater insight. But the key challenge remains making it actionable for those in the field.

To drive AI, robotics, and other revolutionary technologies to their full potential, organisations must make a significant effort across key areas of processes and strategy, from service design, to infrastructure transformation, to hardware considerations. The well-earned result will be truly intelligent environments that create new possibilities for increasingly preventative public safety approaches and models.

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