The Newcastle City Council has started installing smart lighting in the CBD, marking the start of a two year rollout that, it says, will give it the biggest and most functional smart lighting installation in Australia.
Initially up to 50 smart light poles will be erected around Newcastle’s inner city over the next few months to be followed by 300 more over the next few years, the council says.
They will have LED lighting that can be dimmed by remote control, Wi-Fi access points, audio speakers for public announcements and cameras for real-time traffic analysis.
Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, said: “At the end of the roll-out in around two years, this installation will be the biggest and most functional smart lighting installation in Australia.”
He said the smart light poles were the first real tech hardware installed as part of the just-released smart city strategy. (A two month public comment period on the draft strategy started on 10 May).
“This is just the beginning of a new era in which we’ll see sensor-based smart lighting and other technology help make the city run more efficiently and provide valuable data insights for businesses, advanced manufacturers and entrepreneurial industries,” Nelmes said.
The smart lighting and other components of the city infrastructure being deployed across Newcastle’s city centre are part of the NSW Government-funded Hunter Innovation Project, being delivered in partnership with University of Newcastle, Newcastle NOW and Hunter DiGiT.
Newcastle City Council interim CEO, Jeremy Bath said the new smart poles would offer the city flexibility as its broader plan unfolded. “Our poles are a modular system that can be easily adapted to different requirements and incorporate the latest communication and energy-saving lighting technologies,” he said.
“All the lighting can be controlled on a desktop on Google Maps and you can dim them in the middle of the night to save energy. We’ll be able to add environmental sensors, smart parking systems and electrical-vehicle charging stations later on.”
The council listed other smart pole installations around Australia as including:
• Darling Harbour Sydney – 41 poles with remote controlled colour-changing lights, CCTV, speakers and WiFi;
• Victoria Square Adelaide – 10 poles for lighting purposes;
• Robina Shopping Centre, Gold Coast – nine multifunctional poles with lighting, speakers, projection, WiFi and CCTV;
• The University of Wollongong – seven multifunction poles with street lighting, CCTV integration and banner arms.
Smart City Strategy
The council says a central part of its smart city strategy is a four-storey innovation hub being built by the University of Newcastle in partnership with council to allow entrepreneurs to connect with industry, investors, students and academics to build high-growth companies to drive the region’s economy.
“The overall strategy outlines a council-led collaboration to diversify the regional economy and encourage innovation to meet urban challenges,” it says. “It also reveals how Newcastle will attract investment and tech industries to a new digital precinct with high-speed internet connections in the city’s CBD.”