venerdì 2 ottobre 2009

Police is handling Obama visit with Mac

Non è proprio un comunicato stampa, ma la segnalazione arriva comunque dall'ufficio stampa di Apple. L'articolo originale è in danese (; qui di seguito la traduzione in inglese.

Police is handling Obama visit with Mac

When U.S. President Barack Obama set foot on Danish soil in the IOC summit on Friday, police manage the massive security from a few dozen Macs.

The security of a visit by a U.S. president can make even the most sober Danish policeman to develop gray hair. But the Danish police are well prepared in their new, digital-heavy surveillance center at Police Headquarters in Copenhagen.

An almost identical control room is used in daily life to address on emergency calls from the capital's citizens.

There are two things that strikes a first-time visitor in the 40 square meters large command post at Police Headquarters, from which all emergency calls are handled by the police in Greater Copenhagen.

There is much to the hectic scene which is in remembrance of the many police series, which is shown on television. There is an unconditional peace on the floor. There is no yelling or screaming or retractable to stress. Here they chitchat, laugh and eat lunch between traffic accidents and gunfights at Nørrebro.

The second thing that immediately stands out is the light from the many large screens that adorn nearly every square centimeter of space. On walls, on desks and hanging from the ceiling, this very small space is dominated by very large image readout aggregates. There are 73 in total.

From this it-studded space all emergency calls from more than one million people in Greater Copenhagen are handled. From here the fleet of vehicles and personnel sent to the big city hotspots is orchestrated.

If you leave the room onto the narrow staircase that leads one floor down, you´ll find a nearly identical room. Again, there are screens from ceiling
to floor. From here, the police handle security during major international events. IOC summit and the future Climate Change Conference COP15 are the first topics on the agenda.

Overall, police in Copenhagen has arranged four floors for the operational communications. Four floors, where police have installed new IT equipment and a new IT system to deal with the Danish security when things goes really wrong.

The new IT equipment doesn´t include a single Windows machine.

Windows is too slow
Windows is otherwise standard platform with bureaus, but here the approach is to use Mac.

"It is more stable and user-friendly," says the Deputy Police Inspector in operative communication.

"When we had to make the decision on which system that should replace the 13 years old IT solution, we went to England and the United States to look at their Windows versions," says Allan Christensen.

"The ones we saw were not nearly as user friendly as the old system, we had already used, and then they were much slower. If we had chosen to convert to Windows, we would have to more than double the number of people serving the citizens - mind you just to achieve the same result, "he explains.

Therefore the police chose to continue with the Mac platform.

Former the premises in the four-storey Police Headquarters were housing women's prison department.

Today, they are top tuned, newly decorated and crammed with computer hardware from floor to ceiling. Decorated by police officers for police officers. All the way there has been experienced and operational users involved in the development of the system.

"It is the users who have determined how the interface should be. There have been no problems with introducing the system functionality, since the users knew them already. At the same time the experiences we have gained through 13 years, have been carried on. Many people forget about this when developing new systems, "says Kurt Clemmensen, who is responsible for development, operation and implementation of HS2, which the system has been baptized.

Everything unnecessary has been cut away, and therefore on the surface it looks like the worlds most boring system. But it is fast, flexible, manageable and so it works for users even when there is pressure on, "he says.

Beneath the user interface the new HS2 system is somewhat more finely tuned than the 13 years old predecessor, which has got the title HS1.

"This is an upgrade of the system and not a new system," says Kurt Clemmensen. "Though it is a very substantial upgrade."

Spiced Hardware
The platform of the home-developed applications are Mac OS X 10

"The usability and flexibility does brilliantly support our needs, says Kurt Clemmensen.

"At the same time, the BSD-core network part is very stable, which is important to us. The system must operate continuously. We can not just shut down."

"It has been the main arguments for re-election. There are also some side benefits, such as good security by using Apple's platform," he says.

The operational command center, taking care of peoples call, consists of 13 workstations, each associated with a Mac Pro desktop machine.

The machines are standard hardware added a little spice.

They are thus equipped with eight gigabytes of RAM, two graphics cards and three disks on each one terabyte. Disks are configured in a Raid 5 system that makes it possible to change a broken hard drive, without affecting the system.

Each machine also has a "read-only copy" of all the relevant lookup databases, such as the CPR and phone numbers.

"When the central server is updated with new information, updates are pushed automatically to individual workstations. Thus, we can proceed even though the network causes trouble," says Kurt Clemmensen.

For each of the 73 big screens, it is associated with a Mac Mini, which takes care of the content to be displayed on each screen. There is thus an army of well-designed small machines decorating the police server room.

Replacement of the police operational system was necessary as the old HS1 could no longer be maintained.

"We simply could not obtain spare parts to our system anymore," says Deputy Police Inspector Allan Christensen.

"Some years ago we bought large lots of parts, but stocks were about to be emptied, and we had to become very imaginative, every time something broke."

Meanwhile, the major conferences, that Denmark will have to conduct this year, have accelerated the process.

"IOC and COP15 have had great influence on the decision, and also on the pace of work," says Allan Christensen.

The implementation of the solution started March 8th., and since July 19th, the system has been running without stops.

"The system works perfectly, but it is a dynamic system which will continuously be improved, which means that we´ll probably never consider ourselves as completely finished," said Deputy Police Inspector.

We are still working on full throttle with the final details, such as the GPS system, which should make it possible to follow the fleet of vehicles on display. A feature that needs to be finished when we are going to conduct the IOC conference in October.

Users at the center
Users' needs are greatly benefited in hardware solutions.

One example is the speakers used when playing digital and compressed radio and telephone calls, which the individual officers use in their communications. It is specially designed devices that can play compressed audio, so it is recognizable around the workstation, but does not bother the rest of the room.

"In addition we have a permanent requirement that it has to be done cheaply," says Kurt Clemmensen.

"However, there has been responsiveness to the needs, and if there has been an operational objective of the technology, so it has not been spared," he says.

The Metropolitan Police is currently the only police district using HS2. The system is built to perform tasks throughout Denmark.
Med vänlig hälsning/Kind regards
Petter Ahrnstedt

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento