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Delivering Effective IoT Safe City Solutions

Thought Leadership published by CW (Cambridge Wireless), under Sensors

This guest blog has been contributed by CW Member & CW International Conference sponsor: Plextek. It has been written by Nick Koiza, Head of Security Business.


The role of IoT in facilitating effective safe city solutions is currently a hot topic. Plextek has been deploying numerous IoT sensor solutions over the years and in this article, Nick Koiza, Head of Security Business, assesses key drivers and strategies for successfully fulfilling smart sensing solutions from a public safety perspective.

Leveraging Datasets

At every level of Government, public sector organisations require access to increasingly large and disparate datasets. These datasets can relate to critical infrastructure, operational systems and citizens. From the perspective of real-time data access and dissemination, IoT safe city solutions offer significant value for improving public safety, services and long-term planning. For example, law enforcement, crime, traffic information, CCTV and facial recognition data provide valuable insights once fully analysed. Such insights help to meet rising demand for improving public safety with increased efficiency.

The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence can be useful for reducing the number of manual analyses on big data, preventing information overload and enabling fully automated responses based exclusively on the key or critical information related to a potential threat or incident.

Ensuring such mission-critical information is instantly presentable to the right people, at the right time and at the right place will enable appropriate field staff and control room operators to enhance their decision making. With such intelligence to hand, public safety officers can act effectively on keeping smart cities safe and benefiting our communities by efficiently improving public safety.

What makes an effective IoT deployment?

Developments in IoT have shown that effective smart and safe city solutions typically follow one, two or all three of the following key characteristics:

  • Custom sensor devices deployed in the field and tailored to activate on certain triggers or thresholds, instantly alerting back-office or control room operator(s)
  • IoT communications modules for relaying sensory information, for example, using NB-IoT or LTE Cat 1 or 4 for higher bandwidth applications
  • IoT connectivity made available via an LTE network or low power local network (At Plextek, we’ve built several of these custom networks, as well as implemented UNB, LoRa, Sigfox, Zigbee and other systems.)

Interfacing with IoT

An IoT platform, regardless of the format of the network, is necessary for real-time sensor data management to enable data mining when ‘playing back’ stored data for subsequent analyses. This is typically implemented in software/interface level and serves to provide a ‘bridge’ between the radio and IT worlds.

Additionally, a back-end IT application is required for an end-to-end solution, for example, within a control room environment where operators go about their duties, e.g. monitoring operational intelligence from smart city devices or analysing and acting upon real-time alerts, or possibly performing some kind of field device reconfiguration or commanding activity etc. 

Plextek CWIC 2019 blog diagram

Delivering results

There is a wide availability of IoT network offerings (LTE, UNB, LoRa, SigFox for example). This makes implementing an IoT solution a far less daunting task for hardware developers than ever before. Unfortunately, implementing these systems without proper experience can often lead to costly mistakes and programme delays.

Plextek has built its business on communications technology and we offer design support throughout the product lifecycle. This might include specifying the most suitable technology or designing a bespoke system through to product approvals and manufacturing.

Find out more about Plextek here.


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