Huawei: Making cities safer

(Advertisement feature) Huawei's latest safe city and mobile broadband solutions make it easy for public safety agencies to share and gather data in real-time, while benefiting from an open application ecosystem

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Huawei’s latest safe city and mobile broadband solutions make it easy for public safety agencies to share and gather data in real-time, while benefiting from an open application ecosystem

Terrorism, riots, cyberattacks and floods – these are just a few of the threats today’s cities and public safety organisations must address using ever-shrinking resources.

At the same time, many organisations’ responses to emergencies or disasters are hampered by a lack of information, as it isn’t readily shared between individual agencies; slow warnings due to the absence of a real-time monitoring system, sluggish decision making and poor command capabilities as they lack cross-agency collaboration and/or multi-media dispatching capabilities. These problems can easily lead to terrorist plots being missed, suspects not being identified during routine searches and casualties that might have been otherwise been avoided during natural disasters.

Fortunately, the combination of cloud, AI, broadband trunking and other technologies, including visual analytics and facial recognition can resolve many of these issues.

“Today’s policing operations and management systems rely on traditional narrow systems but today we think it’s time to change, to make use of modern, more flexible technology,” says Peng Jianhua, president of Enterprise Wireless Business, Huawei. “This is a big challenge for customers and for the industry because they have been using narrowband systems for more than 20 years. It also means that public safety organisations have to significantly change their operating procedures and working practices if they are to get the best from the new technology… Huawei has significantly invested in research to drive innovation for terminal technology and at the same we also worked with customers to discuss future operating process and management…”


Huawei's C-C4ISR collaboration safety city solution is designed to allow a city's public safety organisations to work together efficiently and make good use of the latest reconnaissance and broadband capabilities

“We launched our company’s safe city strategy in 2016 and in last month we launched our safety city C-C4ISR collaboration safety city solution,” adds Roy Chen, director, government and public utility sector, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei. “This solution’s most important components include command and control communication cloud intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, a comprehensive command and control system and eLTE broadband trunking.”

“The trend towards greater use of data and video is important, but these media together with voice need to be handled in a collaborative and integrated way if end-users are to get the most from them.”

“Huawei’s collaborative C-C4ISR combines and integrates voice, data and video. It puts all the ICT (information and the communication technology) and also the operational technology together so public safety agencies and governments can carry out their tasks with much greater efficiency, improving citizens’ safety and reducing costs,” he concludes.

One of the benefits of a cloud-based approach to safe city technology is that it facilities a shift from capital expenditure (CAPEX) based project funding to operational expenditure (OPEX), allowing cities to pay for technology in a more incremental manner and moving some of the risks away from the city or public safety organiser and onto the service provider.

At Critical Communications World 2017, Huawei launched its eLTE SafeCity solution, which features convergent command and encompasses eLTE broadband trunking, broadband data applications, mobile video, wireless video backhaul, and accessory products. At the show, the solution won the Future Technology Award which was presented by the TCCA’s CEO, Phil Kidner to Peng Jianhua.


Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA (left) presenting the Future Technology Award to Peng Jianhua, president of Huawei Enterprise Wireless Business (right) at Critical Communications World 2017 in Hong Kong

“Huawei is unique because we can provide all of the components of the safe city platform such as video surveillance, command and control, big data and the internet of things, while other vendors traditionally focus on specific areas…,” says Chen. “We are one of the leading ICT technology and have sales and service platforms in 175 countries. This means that Huawei can bring all the best practice, technology and best innovation and software solutions to worldwide to all of our customers.”

“We want to build and house an eLTE ecosystem because there are always local requirements,” adds Peng. “We also look to cooperate with local partners.”

“Once you have built an eLTE private broadband network, the possibilities when it comes to potential applications are limitless,” says Chen. “Broadband trunking communications coupled with mobile working applications allow a lot of police officers’ paperwork to be completed in the field and sent back to the command centre. In addition, video footage from body worn video cameras in combination with facial recognition and fingerprint data can be sent over the network to the intelligence centre to allow rapid decision making…”

“This is a big change compared with the traditional narrowband systems,” continues Peng. “We can provide full video surveillance in the air, on the ground, indoor, outdoor and real-time video footage can be sent to all the policemen, the group members, and be displayed on their terminals, giving commanders and squad members greater situational awareness... Through our broadband trunking systems, our solutions, we provide a unified platform that allows users in the field and in the control room  to receive rich data and notifications. Our platform allows more and more innovation in a way that simply isn’t possible with traditional narrowband systems.”

While innovation and benefiting from the latest technology is important, when it comes to the systems that underpin public safety, it’s not surprising that many public safety organisations prefer not to be first adopters, instead waiting for others to take the first step. This tendency can be seen in the level of interest in the UK’s decision to replace the Airwave TETRA network with a public LTE network.

Huawei’s safe city technology is tried and tested. “We have deployed our safe city solutions in more than 80 countries and more than 200 projects and for eLTE, it’s more than 150 contracts,” says Chen. “Many of these projects are comprehensive surveillance and reconnaissance projects, while some projects are only for a single module of our safe city solution. All of these projects can be developed to take advantage of our fully comprehensive C-C4ISR safe city solution and we are rolling out this model world-wide and looking to bring all the best practices and the learnings from initial deployments to all our customers.

“Kenya may be a developing country, but it enjoys the best public safety technology, better than that currently deployed in Europe,” he adds.

And it is seeing the benefits. According to a 2015 annual report from Kenyan police, the crime rate in the area covered by Huawei’s Safe City solutions decreased by 46 per cent when compared to the previous year and the introduction of a unified emergency number, together with other improvements, has reduced the time spent dealing with each case from two hours to ten minutes.  The system operates with 99.999 per cent reliability, in part thanks to redundant core networks in Nairobi and Mombasa. 

These results are all the more impressive given the challenges Huawei and its partner Safaricom encountered while rolling out the system – when the two companies encountered problems finding mature service resources locally, they assigned dedicated teams from China and other countries to ensure reliable project delivery.

Peng and Chen explain that one of the benefits of Huawei’s eLTE SafeCity solution is that its AI capabilities allow for some automation of police operations and the analysis of operational data and that often customers take advantage of these capabilities by creating new applications that run over Huawei’s platforms and systems – in other words, they are given the tools they need to innovate and develop new ideas in much the same way as popular mobile ecosystems.

Chen says that when Huawei is contracted to deliver a comprehensive safe city solution, one of the first steps is the physical and logical integration of all the centres responsible for handling call-taking and dispatch, emergency operations, command and control and CCTV. This enables contact centres to receive calls from mobile and fixed line phones, together with texts, social media messages and even eCalls. The system can instantly create an incident and display the location of the caller in the GIS map and the operator can then immediately bring up CCTV cameras in that area to see if its hoax call or see if there are any armed suspects in the vicinity. They can then dispatch the right amount of resources to the incident, be they police, fire and rescue services or an ambulance, possibly also firearms officers if dealing with armed offenders.

“Also, when a police officer is onsite, he can use the eLTE broadband trunking radio system to gather information and situational data,” Chen adds. “For example, he can check a person’s face immediately to know if he or she is on a blacklist, check their ID against a database and can also audit other information. This together with the intelligence centre means all the information he gathers is completely synchronised and can be used in a totally collaborative manner, so that commanders and dispatchers can use this data before making decisions, allowing more precise use of resources, speeding up decision making and improving the efficiency of their operations,”

Both Peng and Chen give some examples of what can be done with Huawei’s safe city solutions in the field.

“Last week we had a case in China where one young man was sitting at a bus station and waiting for a bus and someone stole his mobile phone,” says Chen. “He called the police station. It looked for video footage of the incident and then checked the voice and face of the people involved. The police then started searching the area to find the suspect and when they caught him, they could immediately ask the victim to phone the police station to remotely confirm that they had the correct person, by sending an image back to the command and control centre, which then displayed it to the person who had his phone stolen.”

One citizen called the police to report a dangerous person,” adds Peng, “he described them, then the policeman used our broadband trunked system to send the description to the cloud centre, which automatically drew an image based on the description in real-time, then sent it back to the policeman’s terminal. Once the citizen had confirmed that it was a good likeness of the dangerous person, the command centre immediately dispatched the image via the GIS system to all the policemen within a certain distance (say one kilometre), of the citizen, so that they can look for the dangerous person…. When the police stop someone who they think matches the image, they can scan their face, and send it in real-time back to the cloud and then to the citizen, who can then either say ‘he’s not that guy’ or ‘yes that’s the guy’, in which case there can be an immediate arrest. Our new system can do this – it’s definitely change from the traditional way of working.”

At the same time, Huawei’s eLTE SafeCity solution can interwork with narrowband systems. Peng explains that this is particularly useful when a customer wishes to deploy a broadband system for city centres, but continue to use narrowband systems for rural areas. Chen adds that narrowband/broadband interworking can also be used to “protect previous investments and swap [over to broadband] in a step-by-step approach. The idea is that you can first obtain a good understanding of how to use the [eLTE SafeCity solution] in a focused area before rolling it out across other cities or geographical areas.

Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications vendor and is playing a key role in the development of 5G. It also worked with Vodafone to spearhead the development of NB-IoT, a low-powered wide area technology that allows sensors to transmit data over cellular networks using licenced spectrum. The company and its partners are also heavily active within various standards bodies and Huawei supports the TCCA in working to standardise the LTE features and functionality required by the public safety community. Huawei is also participating in the MCPTT plug-tests.

Given all the above, no other company is better positioned to help governments and public safety agencies make the transition from narrowband to broadband technologies and enable them to prepare for the inevitable transition to 5G.

The company’s efforts are in no way confined to the public safety sector. Like its eLTE SafeCity solution, Huawei’s eLTE SmartGrid solution for electricity companies and its eLTE SmartCampus solution for applications such as port management, mining, and manufacturing, are underpinned by its leading position and long term contributions to 3GPP standards and make use of 4.5G technology. These solutions mark an important step forward in Huawei's efforts to enable industries’ digital transformations all over the world.

Today’s world places unprecedented demands on today’s organisations, and these are difficult to address using traditional voice-centric narrowband communications. Through providing mobile broadband coupled with cloud computing, video streaming, IoT and an ecosystem of broadband applications, Huawei and its partners allow cities and companies to address their most pressing challenges with the latest tried and tested technology and make it easier for their agencies to collaborate quickly, seamlessly and securely.

A winning formula
The eLTE SafeCity solution features convergent command and encompasses end-to-end eLTE broadband trunking, broadband data applications, mobile video, wireless video backhaul, and accessory products. The solution forms part of a joint effort between Huawei and its partners to enhance global safety, aiming to provide global governments and customers with reliable and comprehensive end-to-end wireless networks that support service convergence, multiple sensors, and mobile police cloud. The solution meets both the B-TrunC and 3GPP standards.

It integrates voice, video, data, and geographic information system (GIS) services and accommodates surveillance, command and dispatch all in one network. The solution can incorporate existing service resources and integrate various types of communication networks, whether public or private, broadband or narrowband, wired or wireless. It includes cloud command solutions for numerous service types.

The eLTE SafeCity solution, which is based on 4G and 4.5G, allows group calls to be set up within 300 milliseconds and a preemption delay of less than 150 milliseconds. As part of it, Huawei can supply high-end, low-end, and mid-range IP67-certified terminals and accessories, such as earplug microphones, shoulder microphones, and body-worn video cameras. In addition, Huawei's eLTE eFEC solution for emergency command can be easily deployed within 15 minutes.

Huawei's eLTE-Licensed solution allows users to achieve video backhaul in moving scenarios even with speed up to 120 km/h. The solution enables rapid network construction and video backhaul for fixed, medium and low-speed scenarios.

The company’s eLTE-U solution is designed to be used in situations where more bandwidth is required than can be delivered over the licenced spectrum available. It features “inference immunity”, two-way authentication, and air interface encryption to ensure stable and reliable data transmission and makes use of compact all-in-one base stations. The company says that the combination of the eLTE-Licensed solution and eLTE-Unlicensed solution greatly diversifies the potential application scenarios of wireless video surveillance.

eLTE, with its open API interfaces, allows for interconnection with command platforms worldwide and the creation of an end-to-end video command solution. Multiple police applications installed on each trunking terminal can be connected to the central cloud database, increasing the efficiency of case management, identity recognition, and onsite enforcement. The standard eLTE mini PCIE wireless communication module is compatible with terminals produced by Huawei's industry partners, including the Aircam UAV, enabling the solution to provide interactive mobile video surveillance. Fixed customer premise equipment (CPE) takes and transmits camera feeds.

Huawei’s all-cloud Video Cloud Solution integrates big data technology and can support partners' intelligent analysis algorithms and many practical video services. It uses distributed matrix intelligence, which allows it to provide distributed analysis capabilities at the center, edge, and frontend layers. This enables many functions, including local data storage, nearby computing, and automatic results connection and convergence. It supports global scheduling and flexible scaling, meeting cross-agency requirements and helping agencies better handle incidents.