The Future of Public Safety through Artificial Intelligence

President of Intrado Life & Safety, Jeff Robertson, explores how AI can affect the future of public safety - including points to ensure safer outcomes for emergency response, handling the volume of 911 calls, what this means for smart cities, and critical data integration for PSAPs.

Jeff Robertson

September 17, 2021

The term, “Public Safety", is often described as a wide array of government responsibilities that serve to protect citizens and communities from events that may endanger the safety of the general public. County, municipal, regional, state, and national governments develop public safety programs to prevent and mitigate potential negative impacts caused by a myriad of situations such as fires, floods, crime, natural and manmade disasters, traffic issues and many more.

Amazingly, through technology and innovation, the diverse needs of citizens and communities are met. 
From my perspective, public safety covers three pillars of concern: emergency management, community safety, and national security.

I am proud to lead an organization that prioritizes public safety focused on providing a full spectrum of critical event solutions that keep patients, students, employees, and communities, safe and healthy.  We bring technology solutions that provide critical links between the public and the safety of the public.

I am particularly interested in and focused on understanding the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the impact that emerging technologies have on how public safety is practiced. At Intrado, we have developed three key insights about the significant impact we believe AI will have on the future of public safety:

1.     Assistive AI to ensure safer outcomes for emergency response

Every jurisdiction faces public safety emergencies ranging from routine traffic incidents to crime, extreme weather, and so many more. Agility, effectiveness, and efficiency provide the cornerstone for emergency response. Even a minor delay or just a bit of misinformation can have significant implications. 

Assistive AI helps by augmenting insight during critical situations, allowing 911 personnel to provide greater situational awareness for emergency incidents. To be effective, AI must be integrated into existing processes. The key here is to equip first responders with vital information. 

2.     AI to Handle Volume of 911 Calls

Public safety dispatch centers process an estimate 240 million 911 call in the US each year. (NENA, 9-1-1 Statistics, 2017).  The shear volume of these calls often stresses the call centers and at times many of these emergency calls are put on hold as a result.   Every jurisdiction faces public safety emergencies ranging from routine traffic incidents to crime, extreme weather, and so many more. Agility, effectiveness, and efficiency provide the cornerstone for emergency response. Even a minor delay or just a bit of misinformation can have significant implications.  The fact of the matter is that the number of human dispatchers and operators will determine the number of calls that a center can handle.  The emergence of AI or Chatbots will start to integrate themselves into situations of this nature.  A chatbot is a simulated conversation via voice or text.  Chatbots are scalable hence can address some of the issues that we may see with volume and commence the dispatch process of ease off volume challenges.

3.    AI for safer and smarter cities

A smart city is an urban area that relies on information to develop economic growth. These models are now being implemented to address the evolution of cities. Some studies have shown that insights from this information can improve the quality of life by means of reducing crime rates, lowering carbon emissions, reducing response times and enhancing commute times.  AI may well be viewed as the backbone that provides and unleashes insights that potentially support the prosperity of Smart Cities.

4.    AI through rich data for an integrated solution at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) 

How can AI technology can be leveraged in the PSAP? Managing data flow is key. From an AI perspective, the opportunity is to create a system and model that will help call handlers determine (based on relevant data inputs) a more accurate picture of situational awareness of what is going on and better inform the right responders based on this (or possibly change the type of response based on enhanced information). 

AI technologies will certainly support improvements across the three pillars of emergency management, community safety, and national security. Intrado develops services and solutions in support of public safety and saving lives as we continue to follow, study, analyze, and understand emerging technologies.
 

Author Name
Jeff Robertson