Nov 5, 2014


On Monday, April 15th of last year, two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring hundreds. The FBI immediately set up a command center and began scanning every available video of the target area. They located two suspects in the videos, but could not get a clear, frontal picture that they could match to their terrorist databases. The decision was made on Wednesday to release the video clips on television and enlist the public’s help in identifying the suspects. The public responded and the suspects were identified immediately. Unfortunately the suspects also knew they were identified and they hijacked a car and were planning to go to New York City to plant more bombs. There was a shoot out Thursday night and one suspect was killed after killing a police officer and severely wounding another.


The visualization technology that is available now could have identified the suspects and led to their capture before they knew they were identified. This technology does not use standard facial measurements. It uses new algorithms for “clustering” and edge pattern characteristics that make face scanning accurate with low quality images and 30 degrees off center. It can scan 36 million faces in less than one second. It also has search algorithms, which can group similar faces together and show them immediately as thumbnails, eliminating the biggest barrier to video surveillance – watching hours of video to find what you want. This is technology from Kokusai Denki, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd.


There are also new technologies and solutions that could have made it possible to prevent the bombing altogether. Hitachi Data Systems announced Hitachi Visualization, a cloud based, public safety solution that integrates the capture, management and analysis of real-time information for situational awareness. Hitachi Visualization (HV) solution consists of edge capture devices known as Hitachi Visualization Platform (HVP) and an integrated map-based software platform called Hitachi Visualization Suite (HVS), which enables correlation of disparate data and video systems geospatially. This announcement was made at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Orlando Florida.

Hitachi Visualization Platform video-capture and gateway devices allow organizations to intelligently collect share and analyze information with built-in wireless networked data and video feeds. These devices can also be seamlessly integrated with private video feeds, which are widely used in public safety systems, and other key systems such as license plate recognition, gunshot detection, and computer-aided dispatch technologies. Critical information is presented intuitively by HVS, placing an integrated view of multiple video feeds, sensor data, and information from third-party public safety systems onto a map of the area. HVS analytics software also taps into information from public sources such as social media and online news, using algorithms to search for correlations and anomalies. HVS workflow software then allows organizations to use this insight to rapidly and remotely respond by repositioning cameras, sending  customized alerts to appropriate personnel, and storing data for evidence. The aggregated situational view from Hitachi Visualization can be accessed from any networked device, giving personnel the information they need at any time or place. Video streams are automatically optimized for available bandwidth and can be shared with hundreds of simultaneous users.


Hitachi Data Systems has formed a Public Safety and Smart City business based upon Hitachi Visualization which integrates Hitachi Data Systems big data analytics and IT systems with technologies from two recently acquired public safety companies, Pantascene and Avrio RMS Group. These solutions are already being used by organizations like the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the New York Waterway to protect their citizens and critical public assets. This business is an example of Hitachi Data Systems transition into a big data, Internet of Things, cloud based, social innovation solutions provider. Hitachi’s objective is to build safer, smarter, sustainable societies.