A snapshot from the launch of the Connected Cities program. Source: Facebook/City of Port Adelaide Enfield

A snapshot from the launch of the Connected Cities program. Source: Facebook/City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Australia powers through new IoT network in the heart of Adelaide

AUSTRALIA has been laying the foundation for smart cities across the length and breadth of the country.

Over the past few years, since 2017, Australian Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure, and Population Alan Tudge has worked on two rounds of smart city development projects with AUD50 million (US$35 million) worth of support from the government.

More recently, with support from Minister Tudge, a major remote sensor network has been established in metropolitan Adelaide as part of the Australian and local government-funded Connected Cities project.

According to Minister Tudge, over 100 smart sensors are now making public spaces safer and more enjoyable for the community as a result of this project.

“This sensor network tells councils how many people are using facilities, where they need to mow, apply more water or save water, and what play equipment requires maintenance,” explained Minister Tudge.

The AUD289,000 (US$202,000) Connected Cities project was jointly funded by the Australian Government, and five cities — City of Prospect, City of Burnside, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, City of Playford, and Campbelltown City.

City of Burnside Mayor Anne Monceaux said the project introduced 29 smart sensors to measure live usage of facilities including tennis courts, the wading pool, playgrounds, barbecues, and carparks.

“Data obtained will assist in providing an evidence base and inform future upgrades of the park, allow for improved maintenance response times, and provide an accurate real-time source of information for our community,” Mayor Monceaux said.

Mayor of the City of Prospect David O’Loughlin feels that the network will not only assist councils but also help businesses solve local problems.

“The sensors can also tell us when bins in parks are full, when public barbecues are occupied, or simply when sporting grounds are busy in real-time,” emphasized Mayor O’Loughlin.

From the statements, the emphasis is on gathering real-time data to help improve public facilities and provide residents and citizens with a better experience overall.

What’s interesting is that the collaboration to launch the smart city network involved support from the University of Adelaide which has been building its own capabilities in this regard over the past few years as well.

Last year, for example, the University of Adelaide worked on another project with the same City Councils to create and launch a dual-band LoRaWAN gateway to simultaneously support Australian and Asian standard bandwidths.

The gateway project is probably what led to the launch of the new IoT-powered smart city network that was set up with 100 sensors.

Hopefully, this is only the first phase of a long project that uses the data it collects to help businesses and municipalities build better products, services, and solutions — and serves as an inspiration to smart city projects across Australia and the APAC region.