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Real-time emergency response observation and supervision

Submitted on August 20, 2012

The problem

Detection, observation, and assessment of situations requiring intervention by emergency responders depends on high-quality "live" data.

The solution

Although Google 3D provides a rich, static representation of many urban environments, the technology fails to convey a dynamic sense of current activity in any location. Real-time detection, observation, and assessment of situations requiring intervention by emergency responders, along with their subsequent deployment and coordination, depends significantly on such "live" data.

Rather than limit emergency monitoring to 911 calls and information relayed by first-responders, next-generation networks facilitate distribution of real-time multisensor data, including audio feeds and live stereoscopic video. This may be augmented by transmission of multispectral imagery, particularly valuable for coping with smoke, haze and darkness.

Effective decision-making and coordination could then be enhanced by any or all of the following opportunities:

a) computer processing of the sensor data, leveraging computational techniques for anomalous-event-detection capabilities to raise alerts, b) crowdsourced human confirmation of potential emergency situations based on the sensor data and lower-level alerts c) instantaneous reconstruction and visualization of the remote environment in dedicated control rooms, permitting ongoing, real-time monitoring, e.g., at a simplistic level, the "street view" monitoring scenario shown in the image here

How will your idea make people's live's better?

Emergency response, by its very nature, is highly time-critical. Preventing the spread of a burning fire, rescuing an accident victim, and delivering life-saving medical attention often depend on response time and situational awareness, both before the responders arrive on the scene and once they are deployed. Technologies that contribute in this manner could well result in greater operational effectiveness and ultimately, in more lives being saved.

How does your idea take advantage of next-generation networks?

It is worth noting that awareness of the critical role of telecommunications has prompted the organization of Télécoms sans frontières, who assist in situations where such infrastructure is lacking or disrupted during emergencies. Robustness and survivability are serious challenges. Availability of reliable, high-speed telecommunications infrastructure raises the possibility for distributing the massive quantities of data required for such real-time situational awareness. Moreover, sufficient support for multicast transmission of the data, e.g., to distributed emergency response centers, allows for load balancing, e.g., if one particular center is already running at its limits. Similarly, tapping into the potential for crowdsourced analysis of events flagged by computer could significantly improve decision-making capacity where a limited number of operators would quickly be overwhelmed.

Jeremy

and team members

Shared Reality Lab, McGill University

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