Chicago’s Operation Virtual Shield is a system of over 1,500 police cameras and thousands of others installed by the private sector in businesses, schools, housing projects, subways and elsewhere. As highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, one way the cameras work is in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department’s 911 call center system. The caller’s location is identified and the nearest camera feed is then automatically highlighted to give the emergency operator real-time visual data.
Nigel Elkan, Vice President of Marketing at Knowledge Vector International, says the computer-assisted system in Chicago is part of growing trend in government and business to gather and share information on a real-time basis. And with his company’s events-based middleware solution, Mr. Elkan says disparate or seemingly unrelated events can be pieced together in real-time to provide the right information to the right people, instantly.
“Most of [government’s] critical infrastructure is managed in a silo-based model,” Mr. Elkan said in an interview with CivSource. “They jealously guard their information and they build their own nerve centers to protect that sensitive data. They’re collecting all sorts of real-time information, but they’re not managing it with other events that may be important.”
Mr. Elkan acknowledged that more government agencies and businesses are letting some of those traditional silos fade. But with the curtain open, they quickly find their data sources are misaligned and too numerous to grasp without added technological support. “Everything that can provide real-time information is a sensor,” Elkan said, “it can be as trivial as a magnet on a door, a swipe on an access control system, a keyword in a conversation. It could be something that is not happening, that should be.”
Knowledge Vector’s KVI suite includes the Knowledge Switch (KSX) solution that detects real-time events or combinations of events, Elkan said, recognizing each occurrence defined within the rules engine. The KSX Rules Engine recognizes and correlates the temporal, geospatial and other logical relationships between sensors, and therefore understands where, when and how alerts need to be escalated. As soon as an event of interest occurs, the solution sends an alert to the appropriate responder, he said.
“The underlying capabilities are completely eclectic – we can ensure that different generations of technology can work together. The beauty of our approach is that we have an open architecture to integrate legacy systems or systems not yet implemented,” Elkan said, which allows the company to work with customers for much less than other firms, something that helps struggling state and county budgets.
“We integrate their systems with our event-based middleware, and as budgets and imperatives allow, we can add.”
Knowledge Vector clients usually implement their technology for security reasons. They include university and business campuses, airports, as well as city and county first responders. But according to Mr. Elkan, the application of their solution reaches far beyond the city police or fire department.
“Our focus is on real-time events. The main markets we deal with are in physical security because they are obvious markets to enable real-time responses. But there’s an argument to say this kind of technology is going to become pretty ubiquitous.”
Mr. Elkan said that business intelligence and analytics are important for finding things after the fact or predicting what may happen in the future. However, he says there will be a move away from having to sort through historical records towards a system that recognizes when actions need to be taken through real-time information. The implications for trade, commerce, and public safety could be substantial.
As the amount of public and non-proprietary data is released, the more ways public and private organizations can use the data to streamline their efforts.
“Most of the pieces surrounding any given event are simple, but when you put them together you create immense value. It’s an application without limits,” Mr. Elkan concluded.