Why Emergency Services should invest in digital transformation
On the 19th – 20th September, Hitachi Solutions Europe sponsored and attended the inaugural Emergency Services Technology show, with our stand forming part of a Microsoft Pavilion with eight other Microsoft partners. This is the first time a separate hall from the Emergency Services Show has focused on how a wide range of technology can assist in Emergency Services, from robot search dogs to mapping services and applications.
One example from the day includes the Police, which are facing a demanding and difficult time with public confidence, operational challenges and increasing demands and therefore it was a great opportunity to explore directly the capabilities and the impact they will have.
Over the two days several strong themes were common across all forces:
- They know they need to innovate but trying to get the investment, time and high on the agenda of the SLT is difficult.
- Data/Intelligence is the most significant tool in solving crimes however due to legacy silos and disparate systems the ability to maximise that data to help both front-line policing and back-office functions is challenging.
- There is a huge interest in AI, although Senior Management are reluctant to adopt it as seen as too early and too unreliable.
What became a recurring message was the need to demonstrate value early in the transformation process in order to get funding and attention.
I was very lucky and excited to be joined on stage by Gary Smart-Stead, Digital Adoption Team Leader from Devon & Cornwall Police, to share our joint journey exploring how AI can help with operational efficiency and management of intelligence. Hitachi Solutions initially looked at helping the force capture and report crimes against Home Office Counting Rules, trying to reduce the need for manual intervention by using Azure AI Services. The solution is in a proof-of-concept stage currently and the model needs further training with additional data, but initial signs are very promising. Gary discussed some of the learnings from the initial journey including getting; your data sharing in place, management on board and HR and Ethics teams aligned.
Based on interest post-presentation, the solution certainly is one that resonated with many other forces and seems to be a challenge across the sector.
The commonality of challenges across all forces led to some enjoyable conversations with digital leaders and front-line officers alike. There is strong evidence of the ability to help forces improve public perception, maximise operational efficiencies and enhance the use of Intelligence data, all of which can have a massive impact on policing in the future. As an inaugural event, it was a great networking opportunity, with both customers, Microsoft and other partners with lots of common ground and shared learnings.