The event drew a packed house. Fifty people attended, some having travelled across the city, just a few days before the end of the financial year. They included small business owners, the property trade, council staff and others keen to hear about the future of our cities and suburbs.
Geoff Heydon, who is associated with Creator Tech, Nokia and the IoT Alliance Australia introduced “Smart Cities” to a standing-room-only audience on Tuesday 20 June. Heydon spoke eloquently about the early steps some key towns and suburbs are taking to improve liveability for their citizens and visitors.
A key theme was the importance of data sharing. Opening up proprietary data has allowed software developers to create applications to make city living easier for residents.
An example is the opening of NSW State Rail timetables and train movement data by Data NSW. That has enabled the smartphone application TripView to be created, which is today used by hundreds of thousands of Sydney residents and visitors.
Geof is a key member in a Creator Tech team advising one of NSW leading smart cities Speaking both from extensive study on the subject and from practical first-hand experience he addressed the benefits for present and future citizens, the challenges to councils in delivering these benefits, and the roles that state and federal governments should be – and in some cases, are – playing.
He also touched on instances where thought leadership and innovation have shone through in Australia, and on the need for this to continue, and to accelerate. Nations, cities and even suburbs are in competition with other nations and towns across the globe for talent and for inward investment, both cross-border and domestic.
The issue of data sharing was hotly debated. Should towns and suburbs be totally open about the data they collect, or does this open the door for key information to fall into the hands of terrorists and other ne’er-do-wells?
Although the question of what data should be shared and what kept secret may not be made into a hit song any time soon, it will become key for suburbs, towns and cities in Australia – and throughout the world.
Creator Tech was commissioned by Comms Alliance to undertake an Australian IoT study. The three month study culminated in a report launched by Federal Minister Paul Fletcher in late 2015. It can be accessed here.