What is a Smart City?

We hear a lot of talk about Smart Cities, but what does it mean and how can you ensure your city is smart? The experts weigh in.

If becoming a smart council is on your radar, the time to embrace smart initiatives has well and truly arrived. The Australian Government is on board, having established a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program (SCSP), with the second round of funding underway. The program is currently supporting the delivery of innovative Smart City projects that aim to improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities and towns across Australia.

While planning for a smarter future is an exciting endeavour, it’s easy to get distracted by new technologies on offer and fall short of defined goals in the race to become smart.

To help you pave the way toward a smarter future, we asked three industry experts to share their thoughts on the movement and how other Local Governments can get on the front foot.

Peter Sutching, Group Director Local Government, TechnologyOne

What is a Smart City?

I believe that a Smart City or Community is one that provides an enhanced urban experience for all members of the community. It’s important to note that no two Smart Cities are identical; however, the most successful implementations are those that are designed around the provision of services that meet the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital citizens.

For progressive councils, this often means utilising technology that connects infrastructure and objects with systems that can streamline the delivery of services and provide lifestyle improvements for its inhabitants.

What’s the first step in becoming a Smart City?

Having a concrete digital base should always be the starting point — trying to develop smart functionalities before the groundwork is done is like trying to run before you can walk. For many councils, the journey to ‘smart’ begins with internal digital transformation and this often means rationalising multiple standalone applications into a single enterprise-wide solution to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and streamline processes through end-to-end management of council operations.

Paul Francis, Partner Smart Cities, KPMG

What is a Smart City?

I think a Smart City is one that utilises emergent technologies, such as the Internet of Things and ubiquitous connectivity, to help enable and sustain outcomes relating to liveability, sustainability, economic growth and the efficient running of city services. Essentially, it’s about digitising the physical environment and utilising data for more informed and timely insights.

Where does the value lie for councils embarking on their Smart City journey?

Once you have a solid foundation and the appropriate IT capabilities in place, the immediate value is the obvious operational efficiencies. However, I think the broader opportunity lies in the softer benefits that improve the livability, safety and sustainability of communities and are linked to the creation of new jobs and new opportunities. That’s what forward-thinking councils are working towards now.

Michael Stretton, General Manager, City of Launceston

What is a Smart City?

Cities by their very nature need to be smart; they are complex engineering and technology marvels, even when looking back 100 years or more. To increase livability, vibrancy and sustainability, cities must maintain and grow the engineering and technology capacity that supports them. It is to that end that Local Government must stay focused while leveraging the best technology has to offer to serve its citizens and the local economy.

How do you think digital transformation helps Local Government achieve their ‘smart’ ambitions?
Reliable, accurate data is the foundation of powerful insights and good decision making. To arrive at smarter decisions, cities need to gather and process even greater quantities of real-time ‘big data’. A city also needs to have the relevant processes in place to use and share this, as freely available open data can seed new services and insights that benefit residents, businesses and visitors.

Explore the key trends shaping industry transformation, and hear how your peers are growing their businesses and becoming innovators in local government at Showcase 2019. Find out more or register here.


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