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How Ipswich is becoming a global technology hub

Imagine a city which embraces the “internet of things” – which connects homes, businesses, cars and city services to apps, advanced software and sensors.

It’s not quite the Jetsons, but it’s a safer world with knowledge to burn. Power poles have sensors which constantly collect data, making us better equipped to respond to the needs of the day.

Essential services, ranging from traffic congestion to bin collection, are helped by big data.

Let’s put it another way.

Sensors on light poles tell us how many cars are in any particular area. That information is fed back to a computer which suggests ways drivers might be able to avoid problem areas.

Meanwhile, a sensor above park bins tells us how full they are.

In this world, entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop solutions to real-life problems. Technology and data are humanised. Issues such as affordable housing, dog barking, and identifying plant species are made easier via the use of modern solutions.

Communities are offered real-time healthy living options, businesses are encouraged to tap into the broad benefits which come with being a Smart City, and corporate giants from outside the city choose this advanced environment to test their research and development.

This is real. This is Ipswich.

For the fourth year running, Ipswich has been named in the Intelligent Community Forum’s worldwide Smart21.

Never mind being in the top 21 smartest cities in the world. For the second year running, Ipswich has been named in the Top7.

This year, the city is the only one in Australia to have received that status.

Mayor Andrew Antoniolli says it’s a badge of honour, and the first step to greater recognition as an Intelligent Community, positioned to prosper in the broadband economy.

“The theme of the 2018 program is Humanising Data,” he said.

“It provides the City of Ipswich with an opportunity to report on its achievements in Big Data and Open Data.”

In the award submission, Council focused on several areas of its Smart City Program, including:

  • Naeus Explore App – to create increased engagement with the city’s nature reserves and conservation estates;
  • Healthy Living Lab – bringing together health providers in collaboration with Council to study the health and wellness of the community;
  • Advancing Regional Innovation Program – to create sustainable pathways for any entrepreneur to give it a go;
  • Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative – to run Australia’s largest cooperative intelligent transport system program;
  • Pilot Precincts – three locations as testbeds for technology and platforms, new solutions and opportunities;
  • Open Data Gov Hack – Smart City data platform with an open data approach providing benefit to the public and Council.

Cr Antoniolli said these open data programs were helping improve the health, welfare and safety of Ipswich residents, as well as leading to business opportunities for individual entrepreneurs and established companies.

The Pilot Precincts project has seen new digital technology solutions implemented and in use.

The digital technology implanted in the Pilot Precincts is not only testing new operational and management solutions, but they are generating new data relating to climate, noise, air quality, traffic, parking, maintenance requirements, water usage, facility usage, WIFI usage, pedestrian flow and pedestrian demographics.

Paul Tully

Economic Development and Digital City Committee Chair

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