In the rapidly evolving technological landscape, Internet and wireless technologies have connected different sources of information such as sensors, mobile phones, and vehicles. This futuristic world of eyeglasses that can read email and tablets that can activate security systems has trickled its way from high-tech laboratories and into our everyday lives.

However, this world of hyper-connectivity and innovation is not just about fancy gadgets and tools. This technological advancement is delivering real solutions to public safety concerns around the country. In both the federal and state/local governments, organizations are employing emerging trends to tackle their most urgent security challenges.

For instance, the Napa State Hospital campus of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) faced serious safety challenges. After a tragic incident at this location, California DSH realized that its security procedure needed an overhaul. In response to concerns from staff, the hospital created the Safety Now Coalition to address the safety needs of its facilities.

The Coalition includes California citizens, state hospital employees, stakeholders and IT staff. The members worked together to learn which areas of the hospital and which types of security concerns are most urgent by collecting feedback from hospital employees. After collecting this data over the course of several months, the Coalition developed a real-time emergency alert system to enhance the hospital’s security measures.

In this effort, DSH implemented a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based solution powered by Cisco Unified Wireless Network. Each employee at the hospital is equipped with a personal alarm in the form of a lanyard and is able to use the Wi-Fi ID tag in a duress situation to trigger alerts and call for help. The alarm signals emergency responders of the exact location of the incident, and at the same time sends a text alert to staff within that immediate zone on their own PDAS with the location and last name of the employee who triggered the alarm.

On a daily basis the PDAS systems enables quick responses to incidents across campus. Since the deployment, the Napa State Hospital estimates it experiences approximately 100 alarms each day for incidents ranging from escalated verbal altercations, physical altercations, and even small accidental incidents. And with monitoring processes in place, the hospital is able to track the number of incidents and analyze the overall safety conditions at this location.

Of course, the California DSH is just one example in which emerging technological trends have alleviated security concerns. There are many more to be found across the country – from police and fire departments to schools and universities.

And at the end of the day, as CEO John Chambers said in his keynote address at CES, “This is not about technology at all; it’s about how we change people’s lives forever.” At the root of this innovation lies the ability to empower our everyday living. With small steps towards smart, nimble, and efficient innovations, we can collectively become a safer, more secure society.

Learn more about public safety, justice and the internet of everything in a new whitepaper on PoliceOne.com. The paper explores how IoE can help transform agencies to better protect citizens and make communities safer.

And be sure to check in for all our upcoming Friday blogs on the latest trends, challenges and technologies impacting public safety. Follow the hashtag #CiscoPublicSafety and @CiscoStateLocal and @CiscoGovt on Twitter for updates, and visit the Cisco Public Safety site for more information on solutions.


Daniel Stewart

Senior Justice Advisor

Connected Justic