Case studies

A guide to creating a smart community in Australia

This second edition focuses on the key challenges for cities and communities and provides case studies around harnessing disruptive technologies, innovation culture and solution systems.


1. What is a smart community?

City of Newcastle: Council's ambitious Smart City Initiative is influencing a city-wide revitalisation and regional transformation aimed at establishing Newcastle and the Hunter Region as an internationally recognised centre for technology innovation.



2. Harnessing disruptive technologies

Data61: MyClimate is an urban sustainability related project that aims to use image processing and data analytics algorithms to calculate a “sustainability/liveability measure” for a dwelling.

Xandra Labs: The Bright City Guide chatbot provides information to residents, businesses and visitors about the new CBD project’s vision, the technologies behind the Smart City Framework, the timeline of development and how the new city will fit within the broader region.  

Trendwise: 14 proprietary IoT sensors have been deployed and integrated with 46 access points in the City of Mandurah which allows the city to monitor day-to-day visitor and resident behaviours, identify hot spots and paths within and between precincts and understand year-on-year event data.

City of Whittlesea:  For the past four years the Research Centre for Communications, Computers and Social Innovation at LaTrobe University conducted research and field trials of socially assistive robots with people with dementia and their caregivers in home based and residential care.

Community Care Smart Assistive Technology Collaborative: An online community of practice provides a space to collaborate, learn and access resources and expertise on Smart Assistive Technology.


3. Structure, strategy and policy

Sunshine Coast Council: In December 2016 Council adopted the Smart City Implementation Plan, a three-year transition program that lays out a structure, program of works and deliverables for the implementation of the Smart City Framework into Council projects, systems and processes.


4. Innovation culture and organisational transformation

Rockhampton Regional Council: Rockhampton’s CBD Smart Technology and Hub project includes the establishment of a Smart Working Hub and the installation of smart poles and LED lighting, free public Wi-Fi and connectivity to the university EduRoam network, smart CCTV, digital signage, and smart parking solution.

Urban Circus: The Canberra CBR 3D model is modernising the community engagement process, by bringing development proposals to life and allowing broader, more active citizen consultation.  

City of Ipswich: The Transformation Agenda provides a framework for developing innovation capability within government, business and public sector organisations. Initiatives include open data, smart parks and sports facilities, energy village, Application village, drones program and an intelligent transport ecosystem.



5. Risk and reward

Thinxtra: A robust innovative IoT solution allows school signs to be scheduled and automated via the Sigfox wireless network to help keep kids safe.



6. Management platforms

[ui!] the urban institute: The UrbanPulse platform allows cities, large infrastructure providers and others to implement new, data-driven smart services that provide the foundation for increased revenues, reduced costs, improved compliance and more satisfied citizens.


7. Standards and technical specifications

Hypercat: The Hypercat Standard enables easier communication between any connected Internet of Things (IoT) sensor or device used to monitor an environment, such as air quality and energy use to traffic flows and asset use.


8. Connectivity – wired and wireless

City of Prospect: Council launched its Free WiFi network in the Prospect Road Village Heart area in January 2017 as part of its Digital Economy Strategy to boost local business.

ACT Government: Deployed as part of a 12-month Smart Parking Trial, the ParkCBR app uses real time data from infrared sensors in 460 on-street and off-street parking bays in Manuka and helps guide drivers to available car parking bays.

City of Ipswich: Council has been working proactively with nbn co since 2009 to improve planning and implementation processes to ensure the seamless rollout of fibre optic and other infrastructure in existing and new property developments.


9. Choosing priority areas

Telstra: Cairns Regional Council identified Wi-Fi and related analytics as its first step into a digital future, and key to its ability to engage with residents, visitors and tourists, understand the ways that these community groups utilise the spaces and places within Cairns, and also provide input into its planning on its broader smart city aspirations.


10. Selecting solutions systems

Taggle Systems: Mackay Regional Council is using Taggle’s network to automatically read its 40,000+ water meters, a journey which has transformed its water business.

Sunshine Coast Council: In 2017, Bulcock Street Caloundra will be Australia’s first smart city urban streetscape demonstration and testing facility for a range of technologies.

Duncan Solutions: Macau has installed 700 smart integrated parking meters which now provide real-time operational data and streamlined financial reporting.


11. Financing options

Telstra: Smart technology has been embedded in the Tamworth Regional Playground through free public Wi-Fi and analytics, smart parking sensors, signage and enforcement apps, smart lighting and CCTV as well as smart waste sensors on litter bins.


12. Creating APIs and open data

Lake Macquarie City Council: Lake Mac Open Data is an initiative of the Lake Mac Smart City, Smart Council Digital Economy Strategy and aims to empower the community and staff with improved access to city data to improve transparency and provide a resource to catalyse local innovation and app development.



13. Creating a local innovation system

Data61/CSIRO: ASPIRE supports manufacturing companies concerned about waste disposal costs and broader environmental issues by providing an online platform and offline program to engage existing business networks facilitated by local government economic development or sustainability officers.  

City of Whittlesea:  To support the delivery of its STEM program, Council worked with Thomastown West Primary School to assist the teaching of computer coding to students using Raspberry Pi computers.

City of Perth: As the city expands its smart city platform, comprising of an extensive fibre and CCTV network, free public Wi-Fi, live parking availability applications, cyclist counters, 3D City modelling and data / business information projects, it is engaging with new partners including the Curtin University CISCO Internet of Everything Innovation Centre to progress exciting initiatives such as machine learning applications to the urban environment.

City of Ipswich: Fire Station 101 provides education, mentoring and access to sources of potential funding. Its focus is on virtual reality, smart city (IoT, open data, big data analytics), and social enterprise (addressing community challenges through scalable and sustainable solutions).