The urban environment often brings an overlap among jurisdictions, public and private. A port, which may be under government or private ownership, often tends to be situated in or near an urban area. In the process of ensuring the security of a port, there exists the strong possibility for co-related situations to arise that require sharing information and coordinating a response between the port and the city or county.
For those agencies concerned about sharing information, especially between public and private sectors, interoperability is possible in a situation management scenario with only a thin layer of necessary information being shared. For example, if a chemical plant has an emergency, authorities could receive an alert so they can respond with their own situation management plan, but not have access to all of the plant's files.
Situation Management also has applications beyond the traditional security-related scenarios, such as routine urban events: the report of a dead animal in the street or a burst water pipe requiring the involvement of other city workers.
Weather emergencies are another factor that can impact an urban area. Internet feeds from weather sites can also be connected directly into a situation management system to coordinate a response plan among various agencies.
Situation Management systems programmed in advance for emergency and non-emergency scenarios provide everyone involved with a specific action plan to manage the crisis or incident in the best way possible.
Instituting a Situation Management system helps organizations simulate drills to keep personnel trained and continuously improving their response plans. Beyond managing the situation in real time, those who institute Situation Management are able to document activities for compliance, post-event reporting and debriefing requirements.
The challenge is that as security technology proliferates in cities, those responsible for overseeing it need to think about the process involved in providing an accurate and effective response—not just putting more cameras and other alerting systems in place.
Rafi Bhonker is an international executive at Orsus with more than 20 years experience in the application of software and IT systems.