How the smart city vision has become a reality with Milestone video and IBM AI

Intelligent solutions are proving technology is indispensable for people safety in city life. In such places as Copenhagen, Stockholm and Denver, integrated systems raise the quality of living through reduced crime and safer transportation. In Poland, Katowice has one of the most advanced and flexible systems. In this capital city, Milestone’s video management platform centralizes monitoring, increasing security and coordinating services.
Katowice City Hall Departments for IT and Crisis Management
Silesian region, Poland
Camera count
300+ from a mix of manufacturers
Milestone software
XProtect™ Corporate video management system (VMS)
IBM IOC and video analytics, loudspeakers, License Plate Recognition (LPR)
IBM, KISMiA Project team
Challenge: Help to scale out operations, add AI
The first video cameras were installed in Katowice in 2001, when the city invested in 16 analog devices installed in the city center, sending the images to the Municipal Police Headquarters. This was the first step to building a video monitoring system to guard against dangerous events. The vision grew for new investments as a smart city, which became the KISMiA project: Katowice Intelligent Monitoring and Analysis System. By 2021, around 300 cameras spread across 160+ km2 of the city. Katowice chose an open design video platform to be able to expand the network over time.
Adding more cameras made us think how to more effectively operate using artificial intelligence. The monitoring center established in 2017 covered locations in the city center and other districts, as well as 16 Family Activity Zones. Additionally, 10 road traffic supervision points were launched. The system can be expanded to more than 1,000 cameras.
Mirosław Cygan, head of the Crisis Management Dept of the City Hall, KISMiA project coordinator
When the KISMiA project was born, a fiber optic network was created connecting all city centers and many points of the city. The goals were to improve the effectiveness of the monitoring operators and city services with better coordination. The integrated system gave clearer orientation on incidents and more efficient cooperation of security support. The system was fully implemented in 2017, and now can expand monitoring in new areas, such as Park-and-Ride transfer centers.
KISMiA is unique in the country, in that the system was created with the future in mind. The construction of the fiber optic network with flexible monitoring points and a unified data center was aiming for the top. Katowice has a project engineer who is technologically certified and supported by Milestone Systems. This makes it easier to develop a city strategy for years to come.
Marcin Palka, Dept of IT and Crisis Management
Solution: a 21st Century Data Center

Implementing this system was possible thanks to several components. IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center software was used as an operational support module, and IBM Intelligent Video Analytics as a recorded image analysis module. The video material is handled with the Milestone XProtect® Corporate video management platform to register, store, share video material and smoothly manage the cameras.

The system is defined for the types of threat situations, and immediately alerts an operator. This cuts short the time it takes to respond for services or voice communications at the scene. This includes among other things:

  • person lying down
  • left object
  • animals in Family Activity Zones (playgrounds, parks, barbecue areas, etc.)
  • crowds gathering in public spaces (critical during pandemics)
  • vehicle collisions
  • parking in prohibited places
  • driving against the traffic directional flow
  • damage caused by wind or flooding
Result: Controlling danger in parks or on roads
Threatening situations are detected, and operators can determine how to address an incident. An undesirable object or movement may appear in a park at dusk, for example. If it is a wild boar, the reaction will be different than dealing with people who are there after dark. Such places are also equipped with loudspeakers, which are useful if vandals invade the area. The operator's voice deters them, and often more intervention is not necessary.

The system also supports traffic control in the city. LPR (License Plate Recognition) gateways show the flow of traffic and help detect such things as runaway or stolen vehicles. The operator can also tell relevant services which direction a wayward car is going.
Katowice is a city of innovative solutions and implementation of new technologies; we are becoming more and more smart city in many areas. We were the first in Poland to create this intelligent video monitoring system on this scale. Undoubtedly, the modern solutions of Milestone XProtect Corporate contribute to increasing the level of security in Katowice.
Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice
About Katowice crime
The effectiveness of the KISMiA system proves itself in the total crime detection for this city of 300,000 inhabitants (greater metro population is 5,300,000). The Katowice police data show that since 2017 the absolute number of crimes is falling.
  • The number of car thefts decreased from 337 in 2016 to 79 cases in 2020. This trend was supported by the detection of crimes in this category going from 16.4% to 76%.
  • In 2020, the total crime detection rate reached 67.4%, when the Municipal Police used nearly 2.5 thousand video surveillance recordings.
The video is widely consulted, and its preventive role in influencing public spaces is invaluable. The high system efficiency has enabled ongoing development and expansions. The citizens of this capital of the Silesia region now demand monitoring; many social activists submit applications to City Hall for more cameras. This highlights how the system gives residents the opportunity to live in a smart city of the future, already today.
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