Cisco has released a study into the application of smart city technologies and systems to South East Queensland, saying the area has the potential to become the world’s first smart region, adding 30,000 jobs and $10b to its economy “in the coming years”.
The report, South East Queensland: A Smart Region, does not detail how these figures were arrived at, nor does it make any reference to them. However, Cisco has provided some additional background information explaining their derivation.
Darren Scott, director of consulting at Cisco ANZ, made a distinction between smart city initiatives of which there are many — he said Cisco had been involved in 150 smart city project in every region of the world over the past 10 years. — and smart regions.
“We see South East Queensland as the first regional globally to have an opportunity to become a smart region.” He said the study had shown that the main benefits form smart region projects could only be realised with the participation of multiple bodies.
Co-operation will be essential
“One of the core things we are trying to bring out is that these capabilities cannot be developed by one entity driving it. If you look at the top priorities in the report, they need a coordinated response from local and state governments and even from private industry to deliver them.”
He said that the Council of Mayors SEQ — which represents all 12 of the local governments of SEQ — was supportive of the idea and committed to regional development. “We see the council as a body really looking at this topic and we see the ambitions of South East Queensland in things like hosting events like the Commonwealth Games.
“We see each of the councils with some very interesting initiatives, but if you look at some of the target areas listed in the report they are all across councils, across borders, and that is where we see the real opportunities.”
He added: “One of the factors that drove us to focus on South East Queensland was because the councils realise that, to be successful, and compete globally, they need to come together to look at these broad digital capabilities.”
Input from major business groups
Cisco says the report brings together the insights of more than 1,000 South East Queensland residents and the views of major business groups within the region.
Scott said the report had already been circulated within the Queensland Government, but not at a federal level. “We will be setting up conversations with the state government to continue the discussion and the debate and we are hoping this data can show that there is a strong appetite and help them think through the priorities as they go through their own investment plan.”
He added: “We are seeing a lot more conversations around this at every level of Government. It is becoming a core topic for discussion, like roads. We are pretty excited about this whole area.”
Cisco plans smart city index
Scott said that Cisco was planning similar studies for other regions in Australia and would also release, later in the year a Smart City Index.
“We will be taking a very citizen-centric approach, looking at how citizens can interact with government servicers through a digital medium. It will look at 25 of the biggest cities in ANZ and we will also be baselining that against cities across the globe.”
IDC also recently launched a Smart City Evolution Index for Asia Pacific, describing it as “an effort to help establish the fundamental causes of the birth, evolution, and survival of key cities in the region.”