2019-05-28 | George Rice

Smart-Safe-Connected Communities: Is Your Organization Part of This Movement?

Enabling Smart-Safe-Connected Communities will require new forms of cross-sector/governmental collaboration & knowledge sharing. Commercial sector input, honed in the experience of public sector implementation, can pave the way to a smart, safe & .....

Businesses have often taken leading roles in bringing about change that benefits communities across the country and around the world. Working hand-in-hand with government agencies, companies have provided insights into technologies and operations that have improved lives and fostered development. So, how can business leaders serving public safety build on these activities and remain an integral part of the process of social good as more technologies are introduced into the systems of governing?

Let’s take a look at how one growing aspect offers a path to continued commercial sector engagement with public sector counterparts.

Securing and maintaining a position of leadership on burgeoning public safety technology issues requires a keen understanding of how one solution can or should interact with another, or with many. No issue speaks to this need more than what we’ve termed the Smart-Safe-Connected Communities movement. And, there’s no other time like now for solution providers to lean in on this developing issue.

So, let’s give this movement some definition… a Smart-Safe-Connected Community is a jurisdiction that integrates intelligent technologies across multiple government services to improve safety and the social, economic, and environmental well-being of those who live, work, or travel within it. In other words, these are communities that look to use technology to enhance all aspects of civic and private life, weaving them together to create a tapestry of engagement that makes neighborhoods exceptional places to live, work and play. Cleary, leaders of organizations serving public safety can have a major impact in this area.

Safety First

A healthy and thriving community is built upon a footing of safe neighborhoods, where people have access to the goods and services that make their lives comfortable and enjoyable, and also where they can feel secure in all facets of their daily lives. Thus, community development and public safety are intertwined and interdependent in fostering positive social and economic outcomes for citizens, residents and visitors in all communities. To reach these outcomes, Smart-Safe-Connected Communities are embedding advanced technologies into their infrastructure and systems to provide new capabilities and services, while at the same time offering unique synergies for coordination among myriad services from the justice system to utilities. These are now fundamental elements for the success of a modern community.

Although technology promises enormous benefit, it also introduces new challenges ranging from technical to ethical, and from legal to social. Information safeguarding, data sharing, analytics, transparency and privacy considerations also loom near as conspicuous pieces of the puzzle. In this new world of collaboration platforms and apps, planners are examining how to engage with people using technology and data, not only to disseminate information that is critical to their well-being, but also to glean information about community needs—with the intent of enhancing public safety.

Public-Private Collaboration

Enabling Smart-Safe-Connected Communities will require new forms of cross-sector and cross-governmental collaboration and knowledge sharing. Needs and requirements must align with timely innovation by the commercial sector in order to shepherd progress and thoughtful change. To this end, public and private sector leaders are sharing successful practices, essential elements of thriving and safe communities, and groundbreaking uses of technologies as features of building safe and successful neighborhoods. This unique set of stakeholders has come together to elevate the conversation around safe communities and to spark new partnerships that make a positive, constructive contribution to community safety.

It’s also the case that innovative and supportive technologies and their potential applications are seemingly endless. But, a focus on public safety can help address a wide range of key community development issues, and business leaders can be a distinct part of the solution. Providing clear and implementable viewpoints on these issues can propel an enterprise into the arena of thought leadership for the many critical matters governments must address when considering a holistic approach to technology, data use and data sharing.

With public safety as a fundamental driver, and with a deliberate focus on the technologies that can foster productive delivery of public services, government agencies are seeking answers to the many vexing questions regarding smart technology implementation. Insights and experiences from the commercial sector, formed through lessons learned alongside public sector colleagues, will drive problem solving as smart technologies advance. Business leaders who can connect these dots will stand out as “go-to” sources when governments seek solutions.


The commercial sector has enabled the Smart-Safe-Connected Communities movement to launch and flourish. As it expands geographically, and into every sector of government, ongoing and evolving commercial sector insights must be embedded into the process as these practices take hold. Indicators of successful methods and inventive uses of technologies should be shared and promoted as essential features of building safe and successful communities. Commercial sector input, honed in the experience of public sector implementation, can pave the way to a smart, safe and connected world. What insights can you or your business offer?