Local councils and the Australian industry are working together in their approach to develop smart cities.
For the last couple of years Australian cities and businesses have been looking at the various smart city projects around the world. The country is rather late in the development of smart cities, but at the same time many earlier smart city projects around the world have not been particularly successful.
It is clear why this is the case. In order to become a smart city you need to have a smart council that can facilitate this development. Traditionally councils work in silo structures and hardly ever take a truly holistic approach to smart city projects. A real smart city project, however, demands cross-silo thinking – or, even better, the removal of silos. If the right foundation is not in place you end up with ‘death by pilot’. The world is littered with stranded, not-so-smart projects of that kind.
Smart councils need to be led from the top. The CEO or GM needs to create collaboration within the bureaucracy; open structures and open data systems; and a smart city manager, working across the organisation, needs to be appointed – while the mayor and the councillors need to show leadership to the citizens.
Next to smart councils a collaborative industry is essential – one that is willing and able to place the social and economic benefits of the community before commercial goals.
Together – local smart councils and the industry collaborative – then form a local council steering committee to look at smart city projects. Lessons learned from overseas tell us that one can only have successful smart city projects if they are based on sound business and investment models; and it is the industry that will have to come up with such models.
The reality is that before the social and economic benefits can be achieved, significant infrastructure investments need to made and the ICT infrastructure element of this is a critical horizontal layer that can link projects together. In this way costs can be shared between projects, and maximum social and economic benefits can be achieved.
This is where the new multi-billion smart city policy from the government fits in. Once smart councils and industry collaboratives have been established, sound business and investment models can be developed that are able to show the social and economic benefits. This will include new business and job developments in smart cities, as well as many lifestyle issues as discussed in the ‘30 minute smart city’ concept. A smarter city is a more prosperous city and in return the investments made by governments will not only deliver the social and economic returns – they will also deliver the tax returns requested by the government.
At the moment there are over 40 local councils (representing 8 million Australians) that have already developed smart councils, or who are in the process of becoming a smart council. And 20 leading Australian companies have committed to a collaborative smart city approach based on open systems and open data.
Interestingly, it is often easier for midsize cities to transform themselves than it is for metro cities, and several of these midsize cities are in an excellent position to bring projects forward that could benefit from the new government fund, because they already have a strategic approach and they will already have many elements in place that fit the conditions attached to the funding.
Free report: Australia – How to become a smart city
We invite your comments: Comments Off on Midsize cities are ready for the government’s multi billion dollar smart city fund