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2012 Australia - The Emerging Smart City Market

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 1 Feb 2012 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 160

Analyst: Paul Budde

Publication Overview

This report first goes into detail about the two key infrastructure elements needed for smart communities, high-speed telecommunications infrastructure and smart grids. It describes the developments that are taking place in Australia. It also highlights the role of both federal and local government and key elements of smart communities, such as e-health, e-education, e-government, smart transport and smart cars. In addition it addresses policy issues needed to move these developments further and explains how this will have an effect on the social and economic developments of local communities, and indeed on the country as a whole.

Researchers:- Paul Budde, Stephen McNamara, Kylie Wansink
Current publication date:- February 2012 (1st Edition)

Executive Summary

Smart Cities: sustainable engines for growth

The concept of smart communities is based on intelligent infrastructure such as broadband (FttH) and smart grids, so that connected and sustainable communities can be developed. However, before these smart communities can be built trans-sector policies and strategies need to be developed.

They cannot be built within the silo structure that currently dominates our thinking; a holistic approach is needed – one that includes environmental issues such as self-sufficient energy buildings, exchanges for renewable energy and e-cars, delivery of e-health, e-education and e-government services, as well as digital media and internet services.

The world is facing a significant number of challenges. The key problem associated with these challenges is a lack of smart government policies based on integrated solutions that cross sector boundaries. Political leadership is needed to address these issues. Over the last few years citizens all round the world have indicated that they are ready for change. We have seen this in relation to climate change and the use of new and modern means of communication.

BuddeComm has argued that we can solve the challenges at hand, but we will have to do things differently. There is no linear way forward – lateral solutions are needed. Over the last 60 years we have created a world of specialists who operate within silos. These silos need to be demolished and new horizontal structures established in which all sectors and disciplines work together.

Leadership from the top is needed if this is to be achieved. It is called the trans-sector approach, and ICT is the glue needed to build more horizontal collaborative structures. Whether we are talking about smart cities, smart transport, smart grids, smart buildings or e-health – what is needed is good data that can be analysed in real time, allowing people and/or machines to make instant decisions in relation to energy efficiency, traffic situations, weather activities, and personal health issues, as well as commercial decisions. The infrastructure that can be used to link sectors together in a dynamic way is referred to as M2M or the internet of things.

The only large-scale national infrastructure example of such an integrated policy is unfolding in Australia, where the government is rolling out a national broadband network based on those trans-sector principles. However, given the failure of some of the ad hoc solutions in relation to sustainability policies, this concept needs to be extended even further – the entire infrastructure should be structured around cohesive policies. Both the electricity grid and the NBN are critical elements in this and they should be used as infrastructure building blocks for a smart country, smart cities and communities and smart buildings.

In many cities around the world high density living is the norm and attention is now turning towards making this style of living more sustainable. Technological innovations include water harvesting and reuse, and solar collection and energy-efficient appliances, including those used for heating and cooling. Sustainable urban transport systems are also on the agenda for many governments.

Good government policies are the key to success.

  • In healthcare alone there are hundreds of silos of specialists who are unwilling to share information and work together.
  • By law utilities are not allow to share the data that would make it possible to more effectively manage their water, energy, gas and other infrastructure.
  • Regulations also make it impossible for other industries to generate energy (for example, on their factory roofs) and share that with the neighbouring community.
  • The current energy network is completely unprepared for the management of PV systems and for the approaching marketing blitz of smart cars.
  • Privacy laws need to be rewritten to make data-sharing possible according to permission-based policies (the users should own their own data, not the utility, health provider, etc).
  • The 17th century-based International Property Right system needs to be changed, opened up to innovation and flexibility, and aimed at advancing knowledge and thus advancing our society in order to face the challenging future.
  • Governments should develop clear vision statements on how they will use smart ICT tools and infrastructure to build smart countries, cities, communities and buildings.
  • Local government policies are needed to prepare their communities for these developments – both at an infrastructure level and through education and information regarding the social and economic changes that are needed to obtain the full benefit from these digital opportunities.

This report first goes into detail about the two key infrastructure elements needed for smart communities, high-speed telecommunications infrastructure and smart grids. It describes the developments that are taking place in Australia. It also highlights the role of both federal and local government and key elements of smart communities, such as e-health, e-education, e-government, smart transport and smart cars. In addition it addresses policy issues needed to move these developments further and explains how this will have an effect on the social and economic developments of local communities, and indeed on the country as a whole.

Market Highlights:

  • Addressing today’s economic, environmental, healthcare and education challenges
  • The smart city concept requires new ways of government and industry thinking
  • Comprehensive and interconnected policies and strategies are needed
  • The key role of local councils in these developments
  • Good visionary examples are coming from Asia
  • Shared broadband and smart grid infrastructure are the backbone of smart cities
  • Facilitating e-health, e-education, e-government, digital media, smart transport, etc.

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Paul, Many thanks for your inputs yesterday. You provided a compelling different perspective to our traditional infrastructure focus and this is valuable for our future planning. I also had very favourable feedback from our participants on your involvement.

Stephen Negus, Aurecon

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