How the IoT is enabling safer streets in New Orleans
The City of New Orleans is making big changes to the way it keeps the public safe. As a community that survives and thrives on tourism, they’re turning to innovative technologies that help tourists feel safer. And it’s all starting with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Could New Orleans become “The City that Crime Forgot”?
In January I’ll be taking my wife to New Orleans for her birthday. It will be the first visit for both of us. While doing research for our visit, I found out that the city has quite a few nicknames. Everyone knows about “The Big Easy.” And you may have heard it called “The Crescent City.” But the one that really stood out to me was “The City That Care Forgot.” What better place to get away from work, paying bills, and the day-to-day stresses of life?
The city has always been known for its music, food, and nightlife which draw millions of visitors that the city works hard to keep safe. But soon it will be known for something else as well, the IoT, because New Orleans has been busy working with Cisco on improving the safety of tourists, businesses, and residents. And it all started by linking a network of eighty wireless cameras along a ten-block stretch of fabled Bourbon Street, in the heart of the French Quarter.
Located in the city’s 8th district, this high-profile, high-trafficked area keeps police busy, so they could always use a little help. And thanks to the IoT they are getting it, as the network increases their reach (a force multiplier of sorts) and enables a better view of events as they unfold on the city’s streets. That got me thinking, with such a network, could the City of New Orleans someday become “The City that Crime Forgot”?
The real need for real-time video
As one of America’s favorite vacation destinations, Bourbon Street has an energy all its own, built upon layers of living history driven by a cultural mix found nowhere else in the United States. Making sure that mix continues to thrive is critical to the economic growth of New Orleans. Add to that the experience of Hurricane Katrina (that parts of the city are still rebuilding from), and their need for a reliable and industrial-grade real-time video network that can survive a variety of conditions becomes clear.
According to George Barlow Brown, IT Manager for the New Orleans Real-Time Crime Center, “Cisco was the only company that could provide a complete, secure, expandable solution for our technical needs.” This is due, in part, to the Cisco 829 Industrial Integrated Services Router that serves as the backbone of their new network. With the IR 829, the city has the power to deliver real-time video with increased security and connectivity from cameras high above Bourbon Street, back to the city’s crime center 24/7, 365 days a year. There, operators can manage and analyze the data so that public safety officials can better allocate resources and relay critical information to personnel on-site.
Keeping the French Quarter in character through technology
Known for its reliability and security, the 829 router is empowering New Orleans public safety personnel with capabilities to better track and focus resources to improve incident response. The best part is that they’re doing so without disrupting tourists’ adventures, since the network keeps the technology off the street and above instead, with minimal footprints and visual interference, so that the experience that is the French Quarter remains intact for a new generation of visitors. All the while, providing us with a greater sense of security so that we can spend more time enjoying the rich and uncommon beauty of the community.
During our first visit to New Orleans, we’ll be staying on Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter. And I’ll be on the lookout for the expanding network of cameras that now number over 300 throughout the city. And my wife, well, I doubt she’ll even notice them. And that’s exactly the way it should be.
By partnering with Cisco, the City of New Orleans has created a real-time video network that is capturing better and more accurate information, increasing situational awareness, and helping deliver better outcomes on the streets. In times of natural disaster, this will help city leaders better serve their citizens. And during Mardi Gras and beyond, help provide a safer, more vibrant experience for tourists like me and my wife.
How your community can benefit from the IoT
For the City of New Orleans, a real-time video network powered by Cisco technology is helping keep tourists like my wife and I safer as we write our own story on those fabled streets. And just perhaps, once our story is written, New Orleans will be one step closer to “The City That Crime Forgot.”
We hope you’ll get the chance to enjoy the people and culture of New Orleans as well. Until then, be sure to check out the resources below to learn how the IoT and network modernization can benefit your community’s public safety and economic development:
Like to spur a conversation in your workplace? Hang this cool infographic on your wall: Is your agency secure and resilient?