An exciting time at EGM, Adelaide as we move into our larger office on Pirie Street. The weekend has been hectic. It’s been all hands to the pump; with furniture to build, computers to connect and new neighbours to meet. It’s literally the first chance we’ve had to catch up on all the news from the last few weeks.
One development we thought was brilliant was the announcement that KPMG and Cisco have formed an alliance to deliver world leading smart city technology based on the Internet of Things (everyday devices all connected through the Internet) in Adelaide.
This is truly a trailblazing announcement; the objectives being to make Adelaide a more liveable and attractive city as well as a global leader. It builds on all the great ‘smart city’ work that has taken place in Adelaide so far. It brings us all the opportunities (and more) that other leading cities in this space have; including Barcelona and Dubai.
So, what is a ‘smart city?’ Let’s start with a bit of an academic definition:
"A smart city leverages technology to help people get more out of their day-to-day lives. The city connects technology into an information network for the benefit of citizens. At the core are connected streets and services. "
So, some day-to-day practical applications are:
• Street Lights – already Adelaide (in our own Pirie Street, for example) has street lights that are connected; responding to people walking by, making huge savings on energy costs.
Parking – enabling people to find a parking slot without driving around and letting them pay a top-up if theirappointment runs over via a smart phone app.
Waste – providing intelligence on how full bins are around the City; saving unnecessary collections and noise from garbage trucks.
Traffic – responding to congestion, updating road side displays, controlling traffic lights to minimise disruptionand sending warnings to drivers through in-car technology; identifying accidents real-time and alerting the emergency services.
Water sensors – managing automatic watering levels in parks and detecting leaks and burst pipes. Monitoring river levels to prevent flooding.
Air pollution – spotting areas with high air pollution or carbon emissions and taking action.
Electricity and gas – reading meters and reporting in real time, cutting back the use of energy.
Sundry uses – for example, identifying where lifts are out of order and responding to safety incidents.
Adelaide (as well as Copenhagen, Kansas City, Bucharest, Dubrovnik and Bengaluru, India) is now deploying the Cisco Smart+Connected digital platform. This brings together datafrom a variety of sources to help manage infrastructure and services for residents.
Mid-size cities are perfect for smart city technology and they are the places where all the innovation will happen – the technology gives us a great opportunity to beat the big boys. Adelaide was the first mid-size city that Cisco partnered with. It opens all kinds of possibilities for our city. Adelaide has a fantasticchance to be a global role model.
At EGM, we think there are four things that need to happen to give Adelaide the chance to be a truly world class smart city:
There must be political will - State and local government need to back the initiative to the maximum and have the vision to make it work; half measures are no good. There should be a thorough review and cull of any out-datedregulations that don’t advance the cause. Regulation mustallow digital solutions to breath.
There must be public and private sector collaboration - coincidentally our new offices are on the same street as the Adelaide Smart City Studio; an innovation hub involving State government, the local city council and local entrepreneurs. Key players also include the local universities. The aim is to explore how technology can be used to solve longstanding problems and drive Adelaide forward as a smart city. We look forward to following (and hopefully finding ways to help) their progress.
There must be budget set aside. The development of a smart city isn’t cheap – but it’s surely worthwhile in the long run. This is a fantastic opportunity for Adelaide to develop smart city solutions that can be exported worldwide.Adelaide can be a lab for innovations that go global.
There must be an understanding that citizens come first – not the needs of government bodies or councils. Indeed, this takes us into the critical area of personal privacy. For example, where does the boundary exist with individualconfidentiality? If the authorities can do so many brilliant things, where does it stop when limitless data is being collected by third parties? How would you feel if government can see the precise type of rubbish you are disposing of every week? There are important privacy considerations.
Make no mistake at EGM we are totally committed to Adelaide being a world leading smart city and we will play our part in any way we can.
But (as an aside) the following memory came to mind as I was writing:
When I was living in the UK in 2003, I went to the cinema in my home town of Gerrards Cross.
The film I watched was Stephen Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ with Tom Cruise as the Chief of Pre-Crime, Washington DC (John Anderton).
You’ll know the story where the cops apprehend the criminals before the crime happens thanks to pre-cogs. The murder rate is zero. It all happens in 2054.
‘Sci-fi nonsense’ I thought.
Minority Report Fiction:
• Police use city wide surveillance cameras to monitor the movements of citizens.
• Biometric data precedes people as they walk around the city allowing targeted adverts to come up on billboards based on the individual’s preferences - ‘John Anderton, you could use a Guinness right now and welcome back to Gap.’
• Facial and iris recognition are the basis of identity checks to detect potential criminals.
Sci-fi nonsense or Smart City of the future?