by Jennifer O'Brien

The 7 Aussie projects that ‘made the grade’ in IDC’s Smart Cities awards

May 15, 2019
Artificial IntelligenceBig DataCloud Computing

smart city
Credit: Cisco

Seven Australian ‘smart city’ projects from across the nation – including ones from Launceston to Newcastle to Cairns – have been shortlisted as finalists in the annual 2019 IDC Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards.

For 2019, one project from Launceston City Council, three from City of Newcastle, one from Cairns Regional Council, one from Mid-Western Regional Council, and one from the Sunshine Coast Council have been shortlisted as finalists in four of the 12 award categories.

IDC market analyst Jefferson King said given the nature of the competition that Australia’s projects are up against, the results are especially noteworthy.

“For Australia to have seven projects that stand out on the regional stage is an exciting achievement. Australia has consistently punched above its weight in the five years that these awards have been running.”

The projects are as follows:

Mid-Western Regional Council (MWRC) Smart Water Meter (SWM)

Mid-Western Regional Local Council

Installing smart water meters across the Mid-Western Regional local government area that record hourly and daily water usage so the council can take a more proactive approach to water management. The meters will also detect leakage issues earlier on, potentially saving ratepayers thousands of dollars (e.g. in 2015/16 there was 140 million liters of wasted water, most of which lost through leaks).

Residents are able to access the data recorded by the meters via individual logins to the MWRC website, giving the ability to manage and control their water consumption more carefully.

Smart Urban Irrigation Project

Cairns Regional Council

This project will use ground surveillance technology to collect data that will assist in irrigation design and programming. This project is all about saving water and making irrigation more efficient through implementing sensor technology that will respond to irrigation needs in real time.

The solution saves water by integrating soil monitoring technology into a centralised urban irrigation system, allowing irrigation of parks, sporting fields and communal spaces to automatically respond to real time moisture conditions. Sensors will detect the level of moisture in the soil and will relay the data to a wireless network to avoid over-watering. The data collected would be very specific, allowing council to ascertain how much water each square meter of the irrigation system requires.

Smart Region Implementation Program

Sunshine Council

Queensland’s Sunshine Council has harnessed a host of technologies to create a more liveable region, including the first whole-of-region smart Wi-Fi, smart bins and water meters, street lighting as well as sensors for parking and to monitor wildlife and waterways.

The council’s commitment to smart cities and sustainability is illustrated in the wide range of projects and trials of new technology, a dedicated centre to test new technology, and city designs/plans in consideration of these new technologies.

Summer Hill Solar Farm

City of Newcastle

The project demonstrates smart thinking and innovation through its land reuse of an old coal mine turned landfill, engineering challenges for footing design on a landfill cap, financing arrangements with the CEFC, electricity retail arrangements, and planning for electric garbage vehicle charging.

It is intended to become a repeatable model for councils across Australia, unlocking significant areas of underutilised land that can be repurposed for increasing renewable energy generation and providing an ongoing source of income.

Greater Launceston Transformation Project

Launceston City Council

Using the latest connective technology and new 3D virtual city modelling (digital twin) tools, Launceston can transform city planning processes, deliver better educational outcomes and develop a community co-designed innovation hub. The technology involves layering datasets and providing visual representations of entire land areas, providing local councils with the ability to simulate how land use planning decisions affect the future functions of the city.

Hunter Innovation Project – Smart City Infrastructure

City of Newcastle

The project is a catalyst regional endeavour dedicated to the implementation of smart city infrastructure comprising interconnected elements including: a passive layer of fiber and conduit to support above-ground smart city tech; over 150 smart poles in the CBD that improve the efficiency of the lighting network, and an improved ability to remotely monitor lights for planned and unplanned maintenance.

The project also includes a LoRaWAN network to provide low cost, low-power connectivity and support IoT sensors and data collecting devices; and a Wi-Fi backbone within the city which provides alternate access to the Environmental Sensing Network and IoT platform as well offering free Wi-Fi to the public in the Newcastle CBD.

Smart Move Newcastle Transport Projects

City of Newcastle

The Smart Move Newcastle (SMN) project seeks to optimise multi-modal networks to deliver time critical, accessible options while promoting cycling, public transport and walking linkages to reduce reliance on private vehicles and the city’s carbon footprint.