Espresso of Innovation: To Protect and Serve

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation: the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we’re having biscotti with RoboCop.

With all of the budget cuts in recent years, emergency services are being stretched to the limit. British police have had to deal with a20% reduction in their budget since 2011, and Met police officers haverecently been criticised for using technology that is out-of-date and expensive to maintain. However, across the globe, there are crime-fighting innovations andconferences that can help all police forces become more efficient and effective.

This week the Los Angeles (CA) Police Department announced the launch of the JusticeMobile app. This app allows officers to identify suspects, search decades of police incident data, document crime scenes, and take video and audio accounts of crimes and then upload them at the touch of a button for sharing and mapping department-wide. The result: more clued-in and knowledgeable officers for a data-driven world.

Sharing information among departments is crucial to solve crimes, but, often the only sharing that takes place is on Facebook. Bill Bratton, the former commissioner of the New York, Los Angeles, and Boston police forces, founded Bratton Technologies to create a social network for law enforcement. This network, called theBlueLine, helps officers share information via social media (which has become the norm).

Contractors are also looking to help police without having to create new products for them. Ford is utilising existing sensors in cars (e.g. parking sensors) to give traffic police what amounts to eyes in the back of their head. Police no longer have to worry about people sneaking up on them while they’re parked in a high crime area at night. And the sensor can be switched off when the car is parked on a pedestrian-heavy road.

These developments in technology prompted me to think about other technology that could be applied to protect and serve citizens. How about drones that can Taser fleeing criminals, subduing them safely with no need for a fire fight? Is there a wearable tech- enabled solution for a non-invasive forensic kit for sexual assault victims?

Information and technology are key to a successful modern police force, and the market for forensics alone is reported to reach$17.7 billion in the next 6 years. That’s a pretty big market for a sector actively looking to update. How can your product diversify to be better used for the safety of communities across the globe?