Study Finds Pandemic Accelerated Public-Safety Technology Demand
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Comments

Motorola Solutions with an academic, independent research team directed by Dr. Chris Brauer at Goldsmiths, University of London, conducted an expansive global study that discovered how expectations for safety and security are changing while fueling public-safety and enterprise innovation.

The Consensus for Change report surveyed 12,000 citizens and interviewed 50 public-safety agencies, commercial organizations and industry experts across 10 geographic markets (Australia, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nordics, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.). The report analyzes how the global COVID-19 pandemic heightened awareness of the need for technology to enhance public safety while accelerating innovation and technology adoption for emergency services and enterprises around the world.

“The pandemic fueled the need to use technologies in different ways to address new challenges within a rapidly evolving environment,” said Mahesh Saptharishi, Motorola senior vice president (SVP) and chief technology officer (CTO). “We also saw an accelerated adoption and modernization of technologies with significantly compressed implementation timelines. This research profiles the extraordinary ways that public-safety and enterprise organizations continue to adapt to changing policies and needs.”

The study found that 88% of citizens globally want to see public safety transformed through the use of advanced technology. Other findings include:
• 71% said advanced technologies, such as video cameras, data analytics, cybersecurity and the cloud, are needed to address challenges of the modern world.
• 70% said emergency services should be able to predict risk, a task that can be supported by advanced technologies.
• 75% said that they are willing to trust the organizations that hold their information so long as they use it appropriately.

The research identified three major trends that demonstrate an inflection point in how citizens and organizations are thinking about technology and safety. First, the pandemic redefined expectations for safety. Brauer said that conducting the study against the backdrop of the global pandemic uncovered unique insights into public expectations and attitudes for safety.

“Citizens all over the world are coming to terms with what it means to live with COVID-19 and how it impacts their safety,” said Brauer. “Our shared experience of the pandemic has made us realize that technology can play a far greater role in keeping us safe and have increased our understanding of why public-safety and enterprise organizations need it to respond to new threats.”

Second, the pandemic accelerated technology innovation. Consensus for Change highlighted how the pandemic sparked high-velocity innovation for public-safety agencies and businesses, especially in the areas of cloud adoption, video security and interoperability between disparate organizations and systems, while reconfirming the need for reliable and resilient mission-critical communications.

Third, technology must be used in fair, transparent and inclusive ways. The Consensus for Change report also reinforced the need for transparency and trust to increase public support for technology deployments. Citizens want the benefits of technology to be easily understood and for it to be used in ways that are transparent, fair and inclusive.

The research also identified that more public engagement is needed to increase understanding of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI). Only 52% of respondents said they would trust AI to analyze situations of threat.

“As technology continues to quickly evolve, it is critical for organizations to ensure that their advancements are built, and understood, to be human centric,” said Saptharishi. “For example, artificial intelligence should be designed in a way that respects human decision-making and considers the public’s input and needs, while allowing users to make better informed decisions and respond to complex threats. By designing advanced technologies to be assistive, we ensure that the decision-making remains the sole responsibility of humans.”

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