Summit maps out future so Australian smart cities can think ahead
TGC and Oracle’s Smart Cities Summit was a huge success last Monday. Esteemed keynote speakers, utilising their years of professional experience, explored the reality of transforming an Australian city into a smart city with predictive capabilities.
During the Summit over 60 attendees from a cross section of local government and public sector organisations were shown how smart cities of the future can think ahead. The Summit looked at the collaboration required for a city of the future to address:
- mobility services
- transportation (including development of an electric car sharing program)
- clean energy
- digitisation of government
- urban planning
- business ecosystem
- smart homes and office buildings with integrated sensors
- smart parking
- App development for the visually impaired to navigate public transport.
Head keynote speaker, Joel Cherkis, is Oracle’s Global Vice President—Infrastructure, Government, Education & Health—Industry Solutions Group. Joel explored essential pillars such as the city’s health, its safety features, its modern longevity and the pivotal role of education —preparing communities for a bright future. To compliment those pillars, Assetic co-founder Director Ashay Prabhu discussed the extraordinary field of asset intelligence and how a city can accurately predict its needs in order to be cost and time effective.
Other expert speakers offered their insight into how Australian cities of the future should benefit the community. GWI Executive Chairman, Neil Glentworth, discussed how a smart city should ultimately empower the community by offering public value, individual attention and create a vibrant economy. While security professional, Lani Refiti, expressed concerns on how privacy and personal information needs to be respected and guarded carefully within a smart city future.
It was also discussed how the evolution of ideas, to plot the course to reality, must begin with the government seeing technology as an enabler. To have the smart city working effectively its central function (or nervous system), needs to direct a complicated highway of information seamlessly. Therefore hinging on the back-systems are various forms of tech including, the Internet of Things—or IoT.
Transforming cities with IoT
The rapid progression of IoT will impact smart city life in billions of exciting ways. IoT represents billions of connective points accessing information across various interactive platforms. It can be used within the family home, helping public maintenance and keeping a city’s infrastructure humming along smoothly. For example IoT can:
- transform the way cities consume water. Smart meters can improve leak detection and data integrity;
- adjust smart traffic signals so signal timing can accommodate heavy commutes and holiday traffic to keep cars moving;
- give transit authorities real-time insights to implement contingency plans, ensuring residents consistently have access to safe, reliable, and efficient public transportation.
To keep everything in a city running smoothly there needs to be an understanding and integration of the other tech involved. All the billions of connections across multiple platforms need to speak to each other and ultimately learn. IoT is not the only tech being used, other technology which supports a smart city is machine learning, artificial intelligence and intelligent process automation.
A self-aware city predicting and analysing its future
Another major aspect of a smart city is a management system predicting the city’s financial needs. What if we could create a city that’s proactive and intuitive? Imagine a city so smart it would predict exactly when a footpath needs to be repaired, or when a bridge needs maintenance, alerting infrastructure services as needed. Ashay discussed how asset management is the complete workable model for the future. Using software to determine trends the city can accurately identify (ahead of time) problems and thereby eliminate unnecessary spending.
Recognising how a city can be prepared for the future
The take-aways from the Summit were vast and inspirational. The speakers took attendees on a journey into the future which showed limitless possibilities. One thing that’s important to note is the terminology of a ‘smart city’ doesn’t necessarily mean a horizon filled with skyscrapers, neon lights and millions of people. A city of the future means how a city looks after its people. It needs to evolve and align itself with the needs of its citizens. Predictive technology will provide seamless and efficient services as long as governments recognise its potential.
Consider effortless communication where we have the ability to tap a button to borrow a car, leave a room and the lights switch off automatically, know where to park your car safely in a crowded city, let services know when to fix a road, and to get a report back when that road has been fixed—and how much it has cost. Waiting for a bus alone at night and a sensor recognises you’re alone and sends an Uber instead. Having an immersive school curriculum and preparing for a future filled with incredible potential. Then that potential would create jobs for the future—not jobs for cities of the past.