New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unveiled a new crime-fighting system developed with Microsoft – and revealed that the city will take a cut of the profits if it is sold to other administrations. |
The innovation, which bears a passing resemblance to the futuristic hologram data screens used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, will allow police to quickly collate and visualize vast amounts of data from cameras, license plate readers, 911 calls, police databases and other sources.
It will then display the information in real time, both visually and chronologically, allowing investigators to centralize information about crimes as they happen or are reported. "It is a one-stop shop for law enforcement," Bloomberg said at a City Hall press conference unveiling the new technology.
Though it has many screens, maps, and flashing visuals that make it look like science fiction, the new technology has a distinctly un-Hollywood name: the Domain Awareness System (DAS). Developed by Microsoft engineers working with New York police officers, DAS will allow a host of activities to be carried out, such as spotting a suspicious vehicle and being able to track its recent movements or use cameras to track back and see who left a suspicious package.
It features live video feeds, huge databases of recent crime patterns and can take input direct from the field in real time via things like 911 calls or police radios. "All the information is presented visually and geographically and in chronological context," said police commissioner Ray Kelly.
There is more to the new system than just fighting crime in a city that has in recent decades shed a once fearsome reputation to become one of the safest big metropolitan areas in America. Part of the deal with Microsoft will result in the city of New York taking a 30% cut on any profits that the computer firm gets from selling the technology to other cities in America or around the world.