Data: Make it work for you, not against you
With so many digital devices powering our lives and work, it can seem like a towering tidal
wave of information threatening to crash over everything.
Then again, think of the power that could be unlocked if that tsunami of digital data was
harnessed. That future looks more like an efficient, more automated, world where data is
working for us in a fashion, we can control, rather than overwhelming us.
It may feel futuristic, but these former science fiction concepts -- artificial intelligence,
machine learning, autonomous operations – are already woven into our daily lives. AI can
suggest a place for lunch, preview the menu, drive you there, then pay the bill.
That’s just a small sample of what advanced technology and unlimited data can do.
In the public safety sector, the volume of available data rises every day. Citizens with
smartphones can share texts, photos, videos and GPS coordinates with dispatchers and
even footage from their home security systems. Traffic and security cameras, dash and body
cameras, environmental sensors, weather alert systems and more add to the situational
awareness data can provide.
Here’s a scenario where today’s technology can capture and coordinate what might have
been a data overload:
Imagine a truck carrying hazardous chemicals overturns at a downtown railroad crossing.
The driver calls the local emergency response center, which is equipped with Hexagon’s
CAD system, HxGN OnCall Dispatch. In a flash, police are on the way to block off the area,
and the hazmat team, ambulance and fire department are enroute as well.
The police incident commander shoots out an email blast inviting appropriate partner
agencies to join a cloud-based collaboration interface, HxGN Connect. In a few minutes, key
leaders in police, fire, ambulance, and hazmat are viewing a map of the scene showing the
location of units from every responding agency and coordinating next steps.
The city’s public works team joins and pipes in live video from traffic cameras at and near
the intersection. The railroad joins and shuts down train traffic on that route. In the
background, Hexagon’s assistive AI, Smart Advisor, detects that the incident happened two
blocks from a middle school. A request is sent to the school district to evacuate and deploy
all school buses in the area to support the evacuation.
What could have been a scramble to communicate and coordinate instead was a smooth,
orderly operation. The spill is cleaned up, the tracks are cleared, and a potentially deadly
situation is avoided.
Of course, no large, multi-agency operation is perfect. So, after it’s all over, the same system
that helped coordinate the response can also evaluate its effectiveness.
In fast-moving emergency situations, having the right people together, without delay,
watching a rich and identical picture of the unfolding situation, so they can discuss what they
are seeing and how best to respond, can be the difference between a full-blown catastrophe
or a quickly resolved incident. Learning to harness the ever-growing amount of information
can be daunting, but when done properly, it can be a help rather than a hindrance.
For more information about Hexagon’s public safety solutions, visit
Nick Chorley, Director EMEA Public Safety, Hexagon