Mindful of terror attacks and street protests – including those that brought down Hosni Mubarak in January 2011 – the government of Egypt has contracted US firm Honeywell to provide a city-wide surveillance system for the new capital it is building outside Cairo.
More than 6,000 cameras linked wirelessly to a command centre will "monitor crowds and traffic congestion, detect incidents of theft, observe suspicious people or objects, and trigger automated alarms in emergency situations", Honeywell said in a press release yesterday.Â
The "Integrated Command and Control Centre" will use Internet of Things technology to trigger responses by security forces, police and medics.
The New Administrative Capital is being built in the desert 45 km east of Cairo. It will be the new seat of the Egyptian government, which hopes it will grow into a new business and cultural hub with a targeted population of around 7 million people.
Honeywell will deploy the security and surveillance systems as part of the first phase of the capital in collaboration with its partner MTI.
US Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Egypt, Thomas H. Goldberger, was on hand for the contract signing.
Honeywell did not reveal the value of the contract. A report on the deal in December said it would cost $31m.
Egypt is on high alert for terror. Three Vietnamese tourists and a local tour guide were killed in late December when their bus hit a roadside bomb in Giza, near Cairo.
The government is also sensitive to popular uprisings after the 25 January revolution in 2011, when protesters concentrated in Tahrir Square took effective charge of the capital, forcing the armed forces to end the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.
Deadly sectarian clashes, as well as clashes between people and security forces, have occurred since.
Image: Render of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital by master planner Urban Development Consortium (UDC)