Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) will implement an advanced citywide intelligent security system as part of Chicago's Operation Virtual Shield, a project that encompasses one of the world's largest video security deployments.  

In collaboration with its business partners Firetide and Genetec, IBM has deployed the infrastructure build-out for Operation Virtual Shield with plans to expand the network throughout the city.  In the first phase, IBM worked with city network engineers to design and implement a surveillance infrastructure to capture, monitor and record video for real-time and forensic-related safety applications.  This entailed building a unified fiber network throughout the downtown Chicago area, deploying a critical wireless infrastructure to offer flexibility as required, installing hundreds of new surveillance cameras, linking thousands of preexisting cameras to the network, and creating a back-end system which monitors the video, stores the images and allows for business continuity and disaster-recovery applications.

The Chicago OEMC and IBM are now teaming to expand the surveillance system and to add analytics, license plate recognition, trending projections and intelligent search capabilities to the existing infrastructure. According to a release from IBM, Chicago's security solution will provide several benefits to both city officials and citizens including: real-time video surveillance intelligence for proactive homeland security monitoring; faster response time to emergencies; more effective deployment of emergency responders; and increased travel efficiency through traffic congestion tracking.

"Mayor Richard M. Daley has had, for many years, a grand plan to incorporate cameras from public entities and private-sector businesses into a single unified system allowing first responders access to real time visual data," said Tony Ruiz, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. "IBM is helping enable the city of Chicago's vision for intelligent security."

Operation Virtual Shield was designed to allow advanced detection and notification systems to be plugged-in and tuned as necessary to meet new threats. The Smart Surveillance Solution deployment with Chicago is a first-of-a-kind implementation to bring intelligence to city security. This concept was sparked by the power and capabilities of the city's existing high-tech command and control center. The surveillance network will allow city officials to monitor such mundane activities as traffic patterns on a day-to-day basis, while also being able to detect suspicious activity and potential public safety concerns from a centrally operated system.