Eventful and Secure

Posted on: October 22, 2013 by Albert Seubers

Atos - Eventful and Secure

Ensuring safety and security at major events may be the key to growth

There are two choices facing every city in the world - to become part of the global network or not. The latter route tends towards stagnation. The former is the path to growth and competitiveness. And many cities find that hosting major events attracts attention, commerce, investment and infrastructure – and allows them to drive growth.

However, a key aspect often forgotten is how to make these events safe and secure. Any city preparing to host events of any scale needs to consider all the aspects of safety as well as the impact it will have on infrastructure in all dimensions.

Why host an event? Because the benefits can help you:

  • Meet your objectives – by focusing resources in areas you need to develop
  • Raise your profile – a very real benefit for competitive cities on a global stage, where attracting global investment is key
  • Kickstart development – in social schemes and economic and infrastructure projects
  • Energize creative and cultural communities within the urban community – increasingly vital as part of economic development and liveability indices
  • Grow the overall prosperity of the city, and improving quality of life.

However demanding major events are to set up, the lasting legacy can drive on-going improvement and growth. But – and it’s a big but – only if you can guarantee safety in today’s far more complex threat environment, where not only physical but electronic attacks are increasingly likely, in part because today’s events are the subject of intense social media attention and traffic. With online attendance at all-time high, the scope events have for being targeted not only by physical attacks but also by cyber incursions is increasing all the time – and the tight interconnectivity of every physical element of any event with its IT makes everything potentially exposed to attack. To square this circle – making events successful and accessible, while secure – we (by which I mean, everyone involved in city infrastructure and development) have to think differently about security:

  • Let’s look at how to create the kind of secure services that events require – quickly – while ensuring they merge seamlessly with the city itself. Let’s connect services – seamless service integration is absolutely vital to effective event management and critical to security. The gaps are where threats enter and where inefficiency occurs.
  • Let’s work together - Everyone responsible for the security of the event (including everyone responsible for the event as a whole, not just those tasked with security) must come together. Significant attention must be paid to aligning different service cultures and sharing information.
  • Let’s model the possibilities – be ready for what might happen, imagine the worst and go beyond. It’s our role to demand everyone thinks the unthinkable, so responding to it becomes automatic, rapid and effective.
  • Let’s resource correctly – use technology to push security into the background while making it more effective. Image and motion detection programs, and ‘online body language’ reading can head off threats before they affect the physical event or its IT layers.
  • Let’s keep the event an event – and enjoyable, as well as secure. Some overt security presence will always be there; but the more you tie security processes in everywhere else, as part of payments, transport, access, the more you can relax and let people enjoy themselves.

If we all approach event organization and security in this way, we can ensure that it has maximum potential to be safe, as well as making certain that organizational and infrastructural legacy moves smoothly from the event to the city control, so the city can use the event to learn, grow and do more for its people.

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About Albert Seubers
Director Global Strategy IT in Cities and member of the Scientific Community
Albert H Seubers (1959) graduated at Agricultural University Wageningen in 1985. Ever since he worked in IT consultancy focused on governmental topics. He worked for Dutch Telecom implementing the first fiber networks in Netherlands, for CMG as director in the Public Sector Service group, for HP as Public Sector executive before he joined Atos. Since 2011 he is Director Global Strategy IT in Cities for Atos. The Atos MyCity program focusses on the virtuous circle of managing a city on all aspects as safety, citizen services, employment, education, social and health care, transport and traffic, sustainability and governance and economics. Engaging citizens and business communities to create and maintain a sustainable, safe and prosperous city is the key message in Atos MyCity. In his role he works with cities all over the world to help them define their strategy often referred to as a Smart City Strategy or find solutions to support their strategy. Albert is a strong believer in the fact that data is enabler for successfully creating the city of the future.

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