Tampere Smart City Week hosted SURE as a service, the UIA Urban Security Cluster and EFUS

By Konstantina Karydi, UIA Expert

Tampere and the team leading the SURE project coordinated a busy two-day program within the context of the Tampere Smart City Week 2022 that took place in the new Tampere NOKIA Arena in June 2022.

The two-day events brought together notable keynote speakers and high-level participants from Finland and around Europe from the local, national and European Urban policy ecosystems and leading social and private sector actors including but not limited to the Finish Ministry of Finance, the Deputy Mayor of the City of Peiraeus, representatives of the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS), Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) and Resilient City Catalyst (RCC), UNDRR – Making Cities Resilient 2030 campaign, Primer, the Finish Digital Agency and the Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Artificial Intelligence in the service of human centered policy-making

Throughout the two days a central theme emerged as an underlying trend. Human and citizen centred services are replacing the previous, service/customer centric approach. In other words, urban security is an entry point for a more expansive long-term reform that utilises technology including artificial intelligence software, to create a seamless blend of prevention, efficient risk management in urban events through SURE and improved daily conditions during events and beyond. There’s a need to enable open conversation between cities, technology providers and residents to combine hard technology and smooth security, an element which was tangibly highlighted both by EFUS executive director Ms Elisabeth Johnston, as well as Mr Kalle Kantola, Vice President of Foresight and Data Economy, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Notwithstanding cities are presented with a wealth of theoretical options to increase their resilience but they are still to evolve in an organised was as to include the needs and feedback from citizens in designing safer cities as well in meaningfully integrating data in forward looking policy-making and project development.

Introducing a new service for cities towards hosting large scale events

SURE as a service was presented in all of its dimensions in a detailed workshop hosted by the SURE project team of the city of Tampere. Dr. Anniina Autero, Head of the SURE program highlighted the key aspects of SURE raising the bar when it comes to delivering new capacities in city administrations with data as a centre-stage value in urban development. In parallel, safety and security is a mega-trend in global urban affairs, especially after the massive disruptions COVID-19 brought with cities focusing to enhance their capabilities towards the management of public spaces and support of citizens’ life. SURE lies at the intersection of data and security through a set of offline and online tools which combine sensoring and AI analytics sourcing information from street cameras and motion detectors; a situation awareness online platform operating as a virtual situation room, the INSTA Blue platform, the NOKIA analytics service and the setting up of a collaboration ecosystem between key stakeholders such as the police, fire-department, city officials and event organisers.

Highlighting the resilience dividend – Measuring Security Investments

The Social Return of Investment (SROI) of SURE was presented by Ms Alisa Jashari, Economist and member of the Tampere SURE project team. Ms Jashari demonstrated that through the use of SURE more than 7 million euros value is created through the diverse SROI elements embedded in SURE including but not limited to prevention/risk-reduction, increased efficiency during an occurrence and knowledge creation.

The SURE SROI elements which capture social value by translating social objectives into financial measures include:

Decrease in Crime à 3.6 million euro in public savings

Export of Innovation à3.7 million euro returns on investment

Knowledge Sharing à 200.000 euros value created

While additional indicators will also be added such as Daily economic growth spill over effects and increased institutional efficiency  which will be calculated on the emerging relevant data in terms of savings in operational costs and other additional factors. 

Source: Alisa Jashari, Economist, SURE Tampere team project member

Increasing capacities and breaking down collaboration silos

An important aspect of SURE as a service includes the development and application of an elaborate process to increase the capacity and efficient horizontal collaboration between traditional safety and security actors such as the Fire department on the one hand, event and municipal services and citizens on the other. According to Dr. Ilari Karppi, who leads the Tampere University SURE team, the stakeholder engagement process is most effective when it creates feedback loops between the decision-makers and participating actors. The engagement process implemented already revealed for example the imperative need to safe-guard a smooth daily living experience for residents near the NOKIA arena while it already helped feed into the Tampere mobility plan, currently under implementation. Moreso it helped identify public areas around the central part of Tampere which feel less safe for pedestrians and in turn informed direct small and effective physical interventions that improved the perception of fear, a critical parameter when discussing about urban resilience from the safety lense according to Dr. Edna Pezna. Last but not least, the coordinated engagement of safety and security actors through the use of the INSTA IBA tools significantly increased the operational capacity of the fire rescue services which has taken an active part as a key stakeholder throughout the pilot application of SURE as shared by Mr. Perttu Mukkala, Pirkanmaa Rescue Department.

EFUS and the UIA security cluster

The European Urban Security Forum is a key collaboratingpartner who has taken an active interest in the outputs of the three UIA security cluster projects. Together they represent a collective investment of more that 15 million euros, towards building new services, capacities and intelligent resources for the management of private and public urban spaces from the security & development perspective. EFUS, with its long standing experience in urban safety and security works with the UIA Urban Security Cluster to integrate learnings and recommendations to future EU policy development with the European Commission.

Looking ahead

When it comes to Security and Safety as an urban mega-trend especially in the post-Covid era, there’s a need to enable open conversation between cities, technology providers and residents to combine technology and smooth security to improved daily urban life through increased resilience. While policy makers have the option of utilising more data into decision- making, there is still an emphatic need of creating a process through which the right data would be easily accessible to all stakeholders involved. While the role of AI might be critical in this perspective, it is still imperative to ensure that human’s are responsible for the decisions involving AI sourcing.
In other words, building trust in urban spaces, maintaining the focus on a diverse and progressive outlook on digital security; human rather than security centred are imperatives.

SURE as a service, supports and guides event security actors and authorities in co-operation, decision making and operational performance and builds both event security capacity as well as urban space safety thus contributing to an attractive city brand for resident and visitors. In other words, when SURE is working, life is normal.

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