Building the Safety Net
By Mike Ginty
When most people think about surveillance cameras and security systems, they like you reading this sentence, probably tense up a bit because it all feels very confining like the walls are closing in on you and some even get that 1984 Orwellian feeling that “Big Brother” is watching. Yet those same people, post their entire lives on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. They are fine with checking in on foursquare and using snap map to let their friends know what they are up to.
And if you ask these people why they are okay with one over the other, most would say that the information is just going to their friends and they are choosing the content, but the real reason is that it is social and it has network effects. They are getting benefit from it. The more they post, the more others post, and the more they learn, discover, or feel like part of a community.
Unfortunately, we don’t think of safety and security the same way. Both individuals and companies think of security camera footage as being extremely private and therefore are unwilling to share readily even when it contains valuable safety information at others could learn from or use to prevent future incidents. But if you choose when where and how to share it, how is it any different than using social media. If you think about it, the practical application of crowdsourcing and crowd-sharing safety and security information could provide far greater benefit than most use cases on social media.
Some platforms like Twitter and Facebook are already being used to spread information, videos, and photos during times of emergency or natural disaster. Mobile devices and the cloud are, at the same time, both shrinking the world and broadening possibilities. With this technology is very easy to think that safety incidents and crisis management information, paired with photos, videos, and geo locations could provide great benefit to everyone from first responders, to families, and employers.
The ability to create a safety net fueled by mobile and cloud technology means we all benefit, and it gets better and better the more people use it and share safety information. Whole cities could become safer.