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Protecting Enchanted Kenya

While traversing the vast lands of Kenya, picturesque landscapes gradually unfold, and unique, awe-inspiring animals are seen sharing this land freely and harmoniously with generations of Kenyans.

The Kenyan government has been leveraging these unique natural resources since the 1970s by establishing 65 wildlife parks and promoting tourism.

Protecting Enchanted Kenya

Security Improvements

With the advantage of its central location on the continent, Kenya’s security has become a cornerstone for the growing economy. In particular, gains in the tourism sector have been achieved owing to a combination of increases in visitor numbers and foreign trade investments. Like many countries in the world, Kenya faces security challenges from extremism threats due to the close proximity of warring countries; exposure to criminal incidents driven by poverty; and traffic incidents common in any busy metropolis. Trivial security problems can create unpredictable ripple effects that could impact the national economy.

Influencing Decisions

The government of Kenya recognizes Safe City solutions as a national strategy for driving security management innovations in cities throughout the country using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, partnered with Huawei to provide a Safe City solution using cutting-edge technology to address the following security challenges:

  • Legacy Trunking Systems: Traditional analog circuits are vulnerable to interference from external signals that lead to unclear communications between command centers and field officers. In particular, the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system deployed in the capital of Nairobi and other cities supported voice-only services, without the benefits that modern video and broadband data services are able to bring.
  • Interoperability: A solution was needed to provide data sharing and task interactions between city and federal agencies that are required to work together. The specifications for this complex project included the condition that multiple sources of information be interconnected to ensure the necessary collaboration between agencies — from incident identification and management to prosecution.

State-of-the-Art Solution

The first phase of the project covered the Nairobi and Mombasa counties, the two most populous in the country. Enterprise Long-Term Evolution (eLTE) public safety networks were deployed to enable field officers to stream High-Definition (HD) videos directly to the command centers for sharing among members of the emergency services teams as necessary.

Huawei’s solution considered the interoperability requirements for effective policing. For example, the Geographical Information System (GIS) connected to the dispatch system provides the locations of first responders in real time for faster incidence coordination and responses that are equivalent to major cities in the developed world. The service levels in emergency contact centers have vastly improved with each instance that a Huawei IP Contact Center has been deployed. Kenyan citizens are now more confident that an effective response will result from their reporting incidents when using the new emergency help lines.

The Huawei delivery contract also requires that operating personnel be trained in all facets of the solution and Huawei technicians remain on-call to provide crucial first-level support.

Communications Create Safer Cities

The Kenyan Safe City project continues to be delivered in phases and is already showing immediate rewards for the National Police Service and the citizens of the country’s two most populated cities. We firmly believe that the addition of a modern security management system is the start of a new chapter in Kenya, and perhaps Africa at large. Safaricom continues to partner with Huawei to provide cutting-edge technical solutions that transform lives.

By Shaka Kwach

Head of Special Projects, Safaricom Limited

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