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Kenyan Safe City Can Now Sleep Better

12/24/2015 12:00:00 AM

Background

In the face of terrorist attacks from the Somali Youth League, the Kenyan government urgently needed a Safe City solution to improve safety across the country. The Ministry of Interior chose Safaricom, the country’s largest telecom company, for the project. Safaricom financed, built, and will manage the project for the Kenyan government for 5 years. They chose Huawei to deliver end-to-end solutions with stringent requirements for solution deliverability and pre-integration.

Huawei’s solution included an Emergency Command Center (ECC) in Nairobi to improve emergency and natural disaster response. The ECC integrated:

  • Call-handling and a Geographical Information System (GIS) enabling users to watch live videos and perform voice dispatching on GIS maps
  • Reporting
  • Contingency planning and incident analysis
  • Call Center interoperability
  • Wireless trunking
  • Video surveillance
  • Location-Based Services (LBS)

Challenges

Project scope

The project was extremely large and plans called for it to be delivered in 16 months. It included:

  • 116 LTE base stations
  • 1,800 cameras
  • 2 data centers and 2 command posts

Monitoring and traffic control

Infrastructure was too poor to support a national-level safety monitoring system, so officials Kenya could not monitor key locations in real time. In addition, poorly placed traffic signal control systems led to frequent traffic congestion and violations.

National emergency hotline

The connection rate for the national emergency hotline, similar to 911 in the U.S., was extremely low because it lacked a unified command center.

Insufficient experience

Safaricom posed extremely high requirements for solution quality, system security, and construction progress to offset the inexperience of local personnel.

Solution

Planning and design

Huawei planned and designed the:

  • ECC systems
  • Call-handling and dispatch processes
  • Physical emergency command centers

Site surveys

Huawei conducted site surveys at key monitoring locations and built typical site models.

Integration and verification

Several integration verification tests, performed in Huawei’s own laboratories and covering a wide range of subsystems, discovered interoperability problems and risks.

Implementation

An end-to-end implementation ensured project quality and delivery progress.

Training

To improve overall knowledge and skill, Huawei experts provided custom training for Kenyan engineers.

Network planning and optimization

Huawei performed precise site planning and network optimization for Huawei-provided eLTE networks.

Benefits

Improved city safety 

The ECCs and police monitor key locations and traffic conditions to detect, identify, and snapshot crimes and traffic violations. For example, rapid video backhaul, efficient command and dispatching, optimum voice trunking, and precise traffic control supported visits from U.S. President Barrack Obama and Pope Francis.

Improved emergency response

Using Big Data analytics, the ECCs prevent 70 percent of prank calls. Call connection rates improved from 30 to 85 percent and the system locates alarms more accurately. Emergency response times also improved.

Enhanced administration efficiency

The ECC keeps administrators well-informed about city conditions leading to better decision-making and improved efficiency.

Reduced investment costs

The ECCs unite police, fire, traffic, and medical resources so information-sharing eliminates silos across agencies and reduces duplicated investments. Wireless planning, electronic simulation, and traffic-based modeling identify hot spots precisely, decreasing the number of equipment sites and dramatically reducing investment costs.

Reduced labor costs

Call-taking efficiency rose by a factor of six, so fewer operators now handle more emergency calls. Huawei training also jump-started staff skills leading to better O&M.

More efficient delivery

Huawei delivery teams used a combination of industry best practices, pre-integration, and modular design to address the delivery issues and shorten deployment time by 15 to 20 percent.

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