By Robert Griffin
We live in a dangerous world. You know the threats as well as I do. But we don’t have to live in fear. I’m convinced that technology can help police, corporate security officers, national security agencies and emergency management officials do their jobs better–making people, companies, cities and countries safer.
Situational intelligence is the key to making the world less dangerous. The more we know, the better prepared we are when the worst happens–and the more likely we are to be able to prevent it. To know more, we need to be able to sift through all the evidence to understand what’s happening now, and why, and what’s likely to happen next.
IBM’s Safer Planet portfolio is focused on this challenge–with offerings addressing law enforcement, emergency management, cyber threat intelligence, counter fraud, and defense and security intelligence. At the core of our Safer Planet products and services are technologies that help people gather a tremendous amount of data, make connections between bits of information that don’t at first seem like they’re related, and paint a full picture of a situation or a person.
In fact, I think of our domain as a place where many of the important technology trends of our time converge. The Internet of Things makes it possible to gather detailed real-time information about everything from the people passing through an airport to the physics of the atmosphere above Rio de Janeiro. Big Data analytics makes it easier to ingest and process all of that data. Mobile apps and technologies make it possible for police to gather information and access intelligence wherever they are. Cloud services make it easier to get new apps going and to add capabilities continuously as they become available. And data visualization–through dashboards and other techniques–transforms complex information into actionable insights.
Here’s a taste of some of the things we do:
For law enforcement, we enable organizations of any size to access the world’s largest network of crime data–with more than a billion records–from the cloud. Our technology, which is used by more than 4,000 law enforcement agencies in North America, enables investigators to tap sophisticated analytics and “fuzzy searches” to use partial information such as a portion of a license plate, a tattoo or a nickname to help make connections and accelerate investigations.
For emergency management organizations, we provide technology that features analytics and real-time weather data to help communities predict natural disasters more accurately so they can plan and deploy the right resources. We’re incorporating into our solution weather data and technology made available via our strategic partnership with The Weather Company. Now, organizations can create multiple scenarios of how a major weather event could unfold so they can prepare a set of contingency plans–and be ready to respond quickly no matter what happens.
For corporate information security officers across industries, we provide cyber threat intelligence to help organizations close what we call the cyber security intelligence gap. Because cyber criminals are inventing new exploits faster than organizations can protect against them, organizations must evolve their traditional IT security approach to incorporate an added layer of human insight into the criminals’ strategy, allowing them to more quickly detect threats.
For professionals responsible for fighting fraud and financial crimes, we provide technology that helps commercial organizations and government agencies leverage advanced analytics to detect potential fraud, respond to it in near real time, and incorporate new knowledge about fraud in their defenses. In one project with a client, our technology spotted suspicious activity in 14 percent of their dental insurance claims.
For intelligence agencies, we provide technology that ingests data as it streams from multiple sources and helps them detect non-obvious relationships and patterns. It features a recommendation engine that reconciles seemingly contradictory information–for instance, different names and addresses for the same person.
Our technology is put to use in some of the most complex and consequential situations that humans experience–where life-and-death decisions must be made, often on the spot, using incomplete information. We help people find the proverbial needle in the haystack, whether it’s an escaped prisoner on the run or a cyber-criminal network probing the defenses of a company or government agency. We help people address not only the known unknowns, but the unknown unknowns.
Our goal is nothing less than to help transform law enforcement and security. We’ll get better and better at this as we add new cutting-edge capabilities to the mix, including cognitive technologies. And we’ll also expand to new domains and markets. Think about it. In any situation where there’s lots of disparate information, lots of complexity, and a lot of value in understanding what’s really going on, quickly, this kind of intelligence-gathering technology will be extremely valuable. So we’ll be there.