In an exclusive interview Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary & Mission Director (Smart Cities Mission), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India explains Rahul Kamat the importance of ITMS and how it has improved decisionmaking capacity on traffic management and strategies due to the availability of real-time and historical data.
What are the various opportunities for surveillance players in the Smart Cities Mission?
Given India’s burgeoning urban population and the limited infrastructure, smart cities utilise technology to improve the quality of life for citizens. Surveillance is one of the key features in the success of any smart city. ‘Smartness’ of a city lies in information gathering, storing, distribution and its ability to make quick and error-free decisions based on the data collected.
The opportunities for surveillance players lie in citywide surveillance in two categories. One is the instrumentation— installation of hardware. And the other is capturing, managing and analyzing data. While these conventional opportunities exist, I would like to see the surveillance players’ increased focus on the next level—cutting edge solutions, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) perhaps. A couple of concepts we are deeply interested in advancing are:
• The conventional surveillance system in cities consists of several CCTV cameras, acquiring images of the same area along with micro-events taking place within their visual field. The problem is that it is difficult to stitch together these microevents in exact spatial, and temporal context coming from different cameras, to get a complete overview of the entire situation. 3D model of the area can be used, and images from all cameras can be projected on to this model. Use of AI for surveillance is another area of exploration.
• With this 3D model, we need to use multiple heterogeneous sensors such as cameras, acoustic sensors, imaging radar system, passage detection systems etc. • Human aware systems where we use visualisation techniques that can detect and classify human behaviours. It would essentially require recognition of human activity based on motion, numbers, and shape. It can enable real-time warning, even predictive, for mob activity, fights, and accidents, other abnormal actions.
I would also like to see more enthusiasm from your sector players in providing innovative and affordable solutions in the field of real-time tactical decision support, improved documentation, warning systems and big data solutions.
What approach has been taken by cities for an intelligent city surveillance? How do networks installed by city authorities integrate with the rest of the city systems?
Cities have taken the approach of integration of people, process and platform with a focus of cityspecific use cases and building a standard operating environment for efficient coordination among city stakeholders to address the need of citizen security.
“The primary purpose of the ITMS is to strategically manage traffic to ease congestion, reduce travel time, and in turn, lessen frustration for the citizens on the move.”