Smart Cities Collaborative supports community-based solutions

The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) has partnered with a group of leading national and international companies to establish a Smart Cities Industry Collaborative to support communities working towards the new sustainable, sharing and digital economy.

Its aim is to assist smart cities and their stakeholders (health, education, transport, and businesses) who are developing strategic plans based on digital cities and smart council approaches such as holistic, citizen-focused, open government, open data and systems.

ASCA executive director Paul Budde said the group was placing citizens at the centre in this process to deliver smart city projects based on what was best for the community.

“This collaborative provides a structured approach to the development of smart cities by putting the community’s social and economic benefits before commercial goals. Based on this principle, an independent assessment is made to select the right companies which can deliver this outcome to local councils. Organisations involved in the project team have all committed to this approach,” he said.

The founding members of the collaborative include Accenture, Avaya, BigBelly, Cisco, Energex, Endeavour, Ergon, Ericsson, Intel, Indra, KPMG, Lend Lease Technology, Netcomm, Oakley Greenwood, Optus, Silver Springs, Thinxtra, Telstra, Transgrid, Vertel, Vodafone, Wipro Technologies.

“A dozen councils have already shown interest in this approach and collaborative meetings are now underway with four of them,” Mr Budde said.

“The industry collaborative can assist local councils to develop their own unique smart city by using open standards for each community on which city platforms can be built. This allows for inter-city and inter-regional sharing which will significantly reduce costs. This also protects cities from locked-in situations.”

Mr Budde said the group could assist local councils to develop viable business and investment models through innovative concepts for procurement, city-as-a-service models, and through OPEX rather than CAPEX models, which reduced the financial and political risks attached to new smart city approaches and projects.

“As this approach is different from other commercial offerings, it can deliver the best outcome for each council by looking for local options within each community where possible, before looking to state, national or international capabilities,” he said.

“Key challenges for councils when deploying smart city projects are the delays and delivery problems due to aligning the various activities from the different partners involved in these projects. The project team can assist councils with coordinating and streamlining these projects and speeding up the delivery.”

Mr Budde said the close cooperation between local councils, ASCA and the industry collaborative was aligned with the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Plan.