Smart City Council India, conducted an event in Bangalore on 28th July 2017 in which a report on “Role of Surveillance in Securing Cities” was released. The program was sponsored by Western Digital Technologies one of the leading commercial stake holders in the business of selling storage devices and CCTV devices.
Several prominent persons from mainly government agencies in Bangalore participated in the program which was titled as a “Round Table” but turned out to be a sort of seminar on smart city surveillance issues. Some interesting aspects of surveillance came out of the discussion. Mr Gaurav Gupta, the Principle Secretary IT, Government of Karnataka also was briefly present and addressed the gathering.
Mr Kwaja Saifuddin, senior Sales Director-South Asia of Western Digital highlighted the growing demand for data storage arising out of the explosion of CCTV devices that are part of the “Surveillance” in cities both because the number of CCTVs is on the increase but also the required quality of imaging has been increasing.
The need for Smart City surveillance strategies to be “Citizen Centric” was highlighted by Mr R.Srikumar, former Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and DGP of Karnataka and founder of www.indiancst.in
A panel of experts consisting of Mr Srinivas Reddy, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring, B.N.S.Reddy, Director, Security and Vigilance, KSRTC and Professor T.Shankar, IISc and moderated by Mr Sanjay Sahay, ADGP, Karnataka shared specific experiences and issues arising out of the surveillance. The panel underscored that surveillance does not end with CCTV cameras alone and there is an important role for “Sensors” in the smart city management. Discussions were informative.
The report on “Role of Surveillance in Securing Cities” indicated that the global video surveillance industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.87% to reach a total market size of US$ 48.69 billion by 2021. The current market in India was placed at $952.95 million and projected to grow at CAGR of 13% between 2016 and 2022.
Shift towards IP surveillance, lack of standardization broadly characterized the Indian Surveillance Market according to the report. Report urged that Governments should focus context specific needs and should invest in highest resolution cameras, best quality analytical tools and highest capacity storage.
Unfortunately the event did not provide much scope for discussion and hence it ended up being a one way presentation that highlighted that there is a tremendous scope for the industry surrounding CCTV cameras.
The “Round Table” failed to discuss the security issues such as the Denial of Service Attacks that could be launched by botnets created out of the CCTV cameras or failure of sensors in critical activities or the privacy issues involved in surveillance. The limitation of time could be one of the plausible excuses for leaving out discussions important to the community.
However, being a sponsored event, the lack of interest in highlighting unpleasant issues of surveillance could also be the reason.
When an event is titled “Round Table” and several Government officials and Police officials are invited for the event, it was disappointing that the event failed to make a whole some discussion of the “Surveillance” though as a special guest Mr Srikumar did point out the need for “Smart City Governance to be Citizen centric”.
Hopefully Smart City Council corrects this imbalance in their next event or call it an “Industry interaction on Business opportunities in Video surveillance” instead of a “Round table”.
(P.S: This is only a report on the event. Will present some of my views on surveillance separately)