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Australian government launches initiative to transform Adelaide into a ‘smart city’

Government representatives at both a national and local level are collaborating with entrepreneurs and the University of Adelaide as part of a collective effort to transform Adelaide into a 'smart city'. The initiative is part of an overall program launched by the new Australian Smart Cities Consortium.

The consortium will seek a public consultation with Adelaide residents in an effort to see how they feel public spaces can be better managed and what services they feel are a necessity in order to make the city a better place to live.

Associate Professor Nick Faulkner, Director of University of Adelaide's Australian Smart Cities Consortium stressed that the primary objective is to make the city smarter so that it benefits and enhances the lives of the residents and citizens who call it home. He said: "Smart cities initiatives are about making cities better for the people who live there. Smart city thinking makes good use of rapidly developing technology to help make cities work better, easier to navigate, safer, healthier and more enjoyable places to live."

Professor Falkner also highlighted the importance of information gathering, that doesn't compromise privacy. He said it was imperative that people get the opportunity to express what changes they feel need to happen with infrastructure and public spaces in the city. He added: "The work carried out in by members of the Consortium will involve using non-camera based sensors - ensuring there is no personal identification or invasion of privacy - to be able to analyze how people are using the parks at different times and monitor what's happening in the park."

He illustrated the use of sensors in playground equipment as an example of this, citing that if one of the swings stands unused, that could indicate to council members that the equipment may need to be repaired.

It was disclosed following the public announcement of this collaboration to accelerate efforts to transform Adelaide into a 'smart city' that the agreement is between six local government bodies. The consortium is being led by Prospect. City of Prospect Acting Mayor, Mark Groote said it was his role to oversee the implementation of new technology towards a new digital future.

Groote said: "This collaborative project will see a linked series of sensors that will provide useful data for a major swathe of Adelaide's northern, western and eastern suburbs, from the coast to the foothills. Leading experts from across the University's five department faculties are also part of the Australian Smart Cities Consortium. They will support development of policy, new products, designs and services."

Professor Mike Brooks, University of Adelaide Interim Vice-Chancellor said: "Our smart cities initiative is unique because of our ability to link smart science and technology to social well-being and business outcomes because of the broad range of research disciplines the Consortium brings together. Our students will have the opportunity to work alongside researchers in computing, engineering and sciences together with urban design and other social and economic disciplines - producing real benefits for the people of Adelaide."