Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

dimanche 30 mai 2004

With millions of emergency calls every year, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) decided to invest in a new command and visualization center in order to keep up with the ocean of data it has to deal with. According to this article from BusinessWeek Online, the display system consists of hundreds of Mitsubishi digital light-processing (DLP) monitors covering three walls. The NYPD thinks it will help it to also manage the hundreds of thousands of annual arrest records and to further reduce crime in the city.

Here is the introduction of the story.

The New York City Police Dept. is awash in data. Every year, it's flooded with 12 million emergency calls and hundreds of thousands of arrest records. Over the last 10 years, it has mined that data to help reduce crime by a stunning 70%.
Now, it wants to take the process one step further. It's setting up a new command center to study the flow of information in real time, according to V. James Onalfo, the NYPD's deputy commissioner for technology development.

The new giant screen for this new command center will be using display technology from Mitsubishi. It will be piloted by the Activu software and the integration will be done by Imtech.

Here are some details about the installation.

The system's heart is a monitor cube from Mitsubishi. These can be stacked together like building blocks to create huge installations. New Jersey Transit's command center boasts a display of over 177 monitors covering three walls. Using the special server and software that complete the package, video and data can be placed in windows that include an unlimited number of cubes. That would allow the NYPD to actually see all the pinpoints on its huge maps and charts.
The Activu Display System pushes the limits of technology beyond today's state-of-the-art plasma screens. The individual monitors built by Mitsubishi use digital light-processing technology. Unlike plasma monitors, Mitsubishi's DLP monitors don't overheat and don't leave ghost images burned into the screen. DLP has slightly better resolution and a lifespan that's four- to five-times longer than plasma.

I haven't found a picture of the NYPD command center, but Imtech already has built several others. Below are two examples.

CIGNA visualization center Here is a visualization and command center built by Imtech for CIGNA (Credit: Imtech).
Williams Energy visualization center And this is the one developed for the energy branch of the Williams Companies (Credit: Imtech).

Here is the BusinessWeek punch line.

All this gives the NYPD a better visual grip on its flood of data. Anything less would be a crime.

[Disclaimer: I worked in the past for Silicon Graphics (SGI) and I can assure you that large visualization systems are the most effective tools to promote collaboration and to detect trends in the middle of an ocean of data. Check this page about the SGI Reality Center for more information.]

Sources: Jason Strasser, BusinessWeek Online, May 28, 2004; and various websites

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