Doesn’t it seem as though world events have been spinning out of control since early in 2020 when the global pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, also coined Covid-19 first emerged as a concern of great magnitude? If you feel this way, you are not alone. In fact, a survey developed by Motorola Solutions and then conducted on a global level by the research branch of the University of London found that the pandemic, indeed, changed the paradigm for what is now considered ‘safe.’
While a public safety management degree often led to jobs in crime prevention, traffic safety and other tasks that were meant to protect citizens from harm, the field has taken on a much greater reach, beginning with the pandemic. With so many safety issues all around the world, technology has necessarily taken on a greater role in public safety. To give you an example of just how many tech trends are of major importance in 2022, let’s start with just five that top the list.
Working within a Framework
For the sake understanding just how far-reaching public safety has become, let’s look at public safety within a country such as Canada that has legislated what are called the four pillars of public safety. Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of land mass, or total area, and has the longest coastline in the entire world that is 61,567 miles long. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why the top two pillars of public safety are of grave importance. Those four pillars are:
- National Security
- Border Strategies
- Countering Crime
- Emergency Management
Now let’s look at public safety concerns, not only in Canada, but around the world. This will give you a fairly good idea of just how important a Wilfrid Laurier University post-graduate Public Safety Management degree has become. Also, this will help to explain why certain technology is trending in 2022.
1. AI to Manage the Sheer Magnitude of Data
When you stop to think about all the dangers confronting countries with such a large land mass and coastal area as Canada has, you can imagine just how much data is collected to be analysed by the proper organisations, public and private. Today super computers that can teach themselves to advance with Artificial Intelligence, AI, are being used to interpret and disseminate all that data.
2. Real Time Video
For just a moment, let’s look back on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. as major protests erupted on the steps of the Capitol Building. Many of those protestors who incited a riot were caught on video cameras in real time. Those cameras showed who did what and when. Some of those charged with crimes had no way to dispute their presence or their part in the riots because everything was caught on camera and admissible in a court of law.
3. Cyber Security
At any moment a terrorist attack could literally cripple a country. Most of the Western World’s infrastructure is controlled by technology. Just as the Russians were accused of interfering with elections in the United States and recent news has hackers backed by the Russian government as being behind malware that could all but cripple cyberspace in the UK and the US. This horribly powerful malware seems to be immune to usual remedies such as rebooting of a system. The target of this latest Russian-backed malware, Cyclops Blink, are the firewalls that protect computers from being hacked.
4. User Friendly Public Safety Apps
Now, let’s think about the third and fourth pillars of public safety as defined by Canada, those being Countering Crime and Emergency Management. In a crisis, what first responder has the time to look for buttons or controls on their apps? They are tuned to what is going on before them while trying to communicate with EM control. Technology that will most certainly be advancing in 2022 and beyond would be user-friendly interfaces which enable first responders to communicate quickly without losing sight of the emergency they have responded to.
5. Peripheral Technology
In terms of emergency management, the global pandemic is still a huge concern. While numbers of infections from Omicron seem to be dropping, a severe sub-variant is said to be on the rise in Africa and Europe so technology to track and manage the spread of BA-2 is trending as well. There is no better way to manage emergencies and potential public health crises than to track movement as a warning to concerned citizens. Peripheral technologies trending in healthcare, for example, can assist emergency management by helping to stave off major events. Even advances in telehealth are proving to add strength to public safety on all levels from local to regional and all the way up to global concerns. Prevention is central to public safety and so any technology that mitigates a major spread of a contagion is also currently trending.
Too Much, Too Soon
Even though there have been wars, terrorist attacks, cyber hacks, and mass shootings, never before has the world endured so many widely varied emergencies threatening the safety of literally everyone around the globe within such a short period of time. While many people feel the real concerns within public safety began at the onset of a global pandemic, think back to the presidential election of 2016 when Russia was accused of tampering with the results.
Just as that chaos was winding down and the United States was preparing for a new election, the pandemic hit. This was a global event of a magnitude not experienced since the Spanish flu at the beginning of the 20th century. Many medical professionals and scientists ponder if the loss of lives would have been much lower if they had had the technology then that we possess now.
More than two years later, pandemic related concerns are still ongoing and there is a war just ramping up with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. If concerns about a global superpower with nuclear warheads waging war in Europe isn’t a public safety concern, little is. Any technology that can help diffuse public safety concerns is sure to trend in 2022 so let’s keep a watchful eye on what comes next.