Nokia has released a study on smart cities for Australia and called for a concerted political and industry focus on their development saying they will be a key enabler of Australia’s innovation agenda and for future economic opportunity.
Nokia says its report A new world of cities and the future of Australia “highlights the risks of Australia failing to develop a more sophisticated approach to smarter cities that actively contribute to the digital economy.” It “identifies a clear opportunity for Australia to define and develop better policies and structures to leverage the benefits of emerging technologies.”
Ray Owen, Nokia Oceania market unit head said several key metrics measured by World Economic Forum highlight that Australia is falling behind and that success will require significant and tangible policy focus.
“It is vital that Australia fully understands the huge technology-driven shift underway, where networked data is now fundamental to the design and management of all kinds of infrastructure and services, raising new possibilities for users, for businesses and for the national economy,” he said.
A ranking of smart cities compiled by IESE Business School (its Cities in Motion Index) reproduced in the report shows Sydney in 10th place up from 11th in 2013), Melbourne 17 up from 22 in 2013) and Auckland 29 p from 32 in 2013.
Six point smart city plan
In the study Nokia outlines a six-point framework for Australia to better develop its smarter cities capacity:
- Eliminate the current technology ‘stovepipes’ that separate the device, data and application environments.
- Establish a standard City Digital Platform that empowers cities to define, resource and implement the required infrastructure and systems.
- Unleash a national movement around digital innovation, building on current momentum with a focus on connected data.
- Establish a new collaborative dynamic between business, government, academia and start-ups around smarter cities.
- Lead the world with a city personalisation measure that serves to attract and retain the best talent.
- Facilitate Public-Private Partnerships for city innovation.
City Digital Platform needed
Warren Lemmens, Nokia Oceania chief technology officer and report author said a standard City Digital Platform and operations enabling data, management, security, analytics, and applications innovation would “allow smarter cities and the entire innovation ecosystem to focus on solving real problems, creating new applications that deliver jobs and export opportunities on top of improvements to productivity and innovation.”
“Right now we have various positive policy initiatives – including at the Federal Government level – and while leading city examples are emerging across Australia, there’s a concern that momentum will be slow because every city has to invent and invest in its own digital IoT platform.
“The opportunity is there for governments to identify a tangible framework for smarter cities implementation, focused around a standard City Digital Platform to quickly build momentum for Australia’s digital future and a rising place in the global economic picture.
Shared and standardised data essential
The report identifies a piecemeal approach to smart cities as one of the biggest barriers to their development in Australia. It notes that number of Australian cities have formulated plans for becoming smarter cities, saying “These projects are innovative but largely done in isolation of one another. Also, they have limited impact against the higher order challenge of maintaining Australia’s standard of living. Cities need substantial cross-sectoral data analytics based projects and bold steps to underpin the future.”
It identifies the lack of a shared digital infrastructure that standardises data collection, storage and analysis for automated monitoring and control of the city as another major hurdle. “Data collected from across a city is the basis for a 360 degree operational view. The range of possible cost effective data sources is diverse, growing fast and there will be a wide variety of data types. Types of data might include continuous and very high bit rate video data from surveillance cameras and otherwise infrequent low bit rate telemetry data used to alert on filled waste bins for example. The value of data multiplies significantly if it is processed in real time and the total store of data is readily accessible by software developers.”
Nokia makes smart cities a focus
Nokia has been ramping up its focus on smart cities for some time. There is now a dedicated sub site on its web site. Last November Nokia published the Smart City Playbook developed for it by IoT research firm Machina Research the report developed by Machina Research on behalf of Nokia. It examined the strategies of 22 cities as they become smart, safe and sustainable. It distils three different smart city approaches and highlights key developments in technology and business models that have helped cities become smarter.
In October 2016 Nokia joined the smart city initiative of the UK city of Bristol, Bristol Is Open, saying it had been invited to do so because of its track record in developing solutions for smart, sustainable cities, and its long history of collaborative research, including the Nokia-founded IoT Community for cross-industries collaboration.