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Smart and wise City of Turku 

Applying video analytics to improve safety and security within the Smart and Wise City of Turku

CGI supports Turku’s strategic plan for promoting citizen wellbeing and city competitiveness using advanced analytics.

Each day across the globe, millions of vehicles and individuals are in transit. Crowds form and disperse. Trucks block traffic to make deliveries. Workers search for parking spots. Major and minor accidents occur. Increasingly, data about this seemingly endless movement can be captured for analysis to improve the security and safety of citizens.

As the City of Turku, Finland, is finding out, one innovative way of gaining such insight is advanced video analytics, which combines computer vision, machine learning and real-time analysis to interpret video content.

Digitalization and analytics underpin the smart city

Founded in 1229, Finland’s oldest city, Turku, also is a city of the future pursuing strategic goals as part of its top initiative: Smart and Wise Turku. Focused on improving the wellbeing of city residents and improving the competitiveness and productivity of the City, the initiative encompasses climate neutrality, services control and digital services, town planning, prevention of exclusion, traffic and mobility, and safety.

Turku envisions using innovative technologies to drive this transformation. This includes harvesting the power of data, digitalization and analytics to improve city productivity while also enabling economic growth, environmental sustainability and improved quality of life.

For more than three decades, the city has partnered with CGI on numerous projects, from delivering innovative healthcare systems to implementing budgeting and planning solutions and more. Recently, as host of Finland’s most popular summer rock festival, Ruisrock, Turku also learned of CGI’s capabilities for using video analytics (including facial analytics and custom neural networks) and real-time data to improve the concertgoer experience. This got Turku planners thinking about how video analytics could apply to the city’s safety and security goals.

Envisioning the possibilities

To launch this strategic initiative, Turku leaders sat down with CGI experts to discuss the city’s security and safety priorities. Then, as part of its initial investigation phase, CGI assessed the city’s in-place video monitoring capabilities, gathering data about current equipment, locations (public spaces, streets, buildings, etc.) and the way surveillance is performed.

Through a series of design-thinking sessions, Turku and CGI determined the top business cases for using video analytics. These co-creation workshops discussed the art of the possible, aligning anticipated value and benefits to city priorities. The strategy was further refined to identify potential bottlenecks or constraints to each concept.