Innovative projects and inspirational leaders applauded at Smart Cities Awards

Fri, 2018-11-02 10:41 -- Adam Beck

A serial disruptor, a government visionary, an emerging leader and a world-leading council are among the winners of the inaugural Australian Smart Cities Awards.

The awards, held as part of Australia’s first Smart Cities Week, recognise and reward leadership, celebrate best practice and stimulate action to advance the smart cities movement.

Telstra and Deloitte partnered with Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand to present the awards.

Sunshine Coast Council was presented with the coveted ‘Leadership City’ category for a nation-leading commitment to smart cities through data sharing, investment in IoT technology, free public Wi-Fi and a 15KW solar farm that offsets all of Council’s energy use.

The Sunshine Coast Council also took home the ‘Regional Leadership Award’, while Council's Smart City Framework Lead, Michael Whereat, was acknowledged with the ‘Government Leader Award’.

Nine awards were presented during the celebration in Sydney at Telstra’s Customer Insights Centre. Serial disruptor and leading thinker Catherine Caruana McManus and KPMG's emerging innovator Katherine Tobias were recognised with individual leadership awards.

The City of Adelaide was applauded for its Economic Insights Dashboard, which the judges said was a “powerful platform for citizen engagement”. Street Furniture Australia took home the ‘Built Environment Award’ for a “partnership driven and replicable approach to smart cities” that quantifies the impact of street activation.

Smart Cities Awards jury chair, David Singleton AM, says the “winners of the inaugural Smart Cities Awards set a high benchmark, and in years to come, this awards program will build a pipeline of world standard initiatives from Australia’s public sector, industry leaders and research stakeholders”.

“Our award winners demonstrate that a smart city embraces outcomes-based technology, data and design. But more powerfully, smart cities build a connected community that can solve common problems to enhance the liveability, workability and sustainability of our cities and towns”.

Monique Esplin, Telstra’s General Manager for Growth and Strategic Markets, presented the final award of the evening for ‘Leadership City’, saying: “Sunshine Coast Council has demonstrated a smart cities capability internally that has set itself up for long term success”.

As host for the awards reception proceedings, Allan Mills of Deloitte said: “the awards presented this evening will provide other cities with a benchmark, and evidence that Australia can play a leadership position in the global smart cities movement.”

Adam Beck, Global Chairman of Smart Cities Week for the Smart Cities Council, extended his appreciation to the inaugural Smart Cities Awards Chair, David Singleton AM, and the jury members for their service.


The details of each category are below:

Digital City Services

This award recognises government organisations that use technology and data to improve service delivery, citizen engagement and satisfaction, employee productivity, competitiveness, environmental outcomes or cost benefits.

Winner: City of Adelaide

The Economic Insights Dashboard provides key city indicators by bringing together demographic, economic, property, business, employment, tourism data and more. Freely available, the dashboard improves decision-making, promotes collaboration and empowers investors, students and residents.

Highly Commended: Sunshine Coast Council

A collaborative partnership between the Sunshine Coast Council and the Urban Institute, the Smart Region Management Platform shares disparate data to provide a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the smart solutions and systems across the Sunshine Coast region.


Smart Cities Strategy

This award recognises government organisations that are guiding smart cities and digital transformation investments with a strategy driven by liveability, workability and sustainability.

Winner: Newcastle City Council

Leveraging its city’s natural and emerging industrial advantages, Newcastle City Council is trialling and developing innovation solutions and addressing urban challenges that could not be achieved in more complex and congested urban environments.

Highly Commended: City of Logan

The City Futures Strategy has given the City of Logan clear direction and a foundation for participative and inclusive adoption of technology. The strategy also builds confidence, culture and capacity as the City strives to position Logan as a home to civic innovation.


Built Environment Award

This award recognises organisations that have invested in technology and data to drive more productive and sustainable built environments.

Winner: Street Furniture Australia

#BackyardExperiment quantified the impact of design by measuring the number of visitors and change in demographics after Street Furniture and the ACT Government activated a thoroughfare in Canberra's Garema Place. The activation over eight days increased foot traffic by 190 per cent.

Highly Commended: Brisbane Marketing

The Capital, a co-working space for start-ups, was opened in 2016 by Brisbane Marketing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brisbane City Council. The Capital is both a physical space in a four storey facility and a project designed to nurture the city’s start-up and innovation ecosystem.


Social Impact

This award recognises organisations using technology and data to improve the lives of disadvantaged citizens.

No award in 2018


Research and Innovation

This award recognises academic institutions advancing the benefits of smart cities solutions with a clear path to post-research investment and deployment.

Highly Commended: University of Wollongong

The Smart Cities, Smart Liverpool, Smart Pedestrians project is a research collaboration between Liverpool Council, the University of Wollongong and Meshed IoT Integrators. The project uses innovative, smart technology and open data for real-time measurement of pedestrian movements.


Regional Leadership Award 

This award recognises organisations embracing technology and data solutions to build regional business opportunities, protect natural resources and enhance lifestyle.

Winner: Sunshine Coast Council

The Sunshine Coast Council is the first local government to offset electricity consumption across facilities and operations with a utility-scale solar farm. The 15MW solar farm – the largest in South East Queensland – is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 tonnes a year and deliver $22 million in savings to ratepayers over the next three decades.


Leadership City Award 

This award recognises local government organisations demonstrating world-leading liveability, workability and sustainability outcomes for their citizens from investment in technology and data solutions.

Winner: Sunshine Coast Council

Sunshine Coast Council has harnessed a host of technologies to create a more liveable city, including smart bins and water meters, parking and sensors to monitor wildlife and waterways. The Council’s Smart Region Management Platform receives data from sensors, street lights and WiFi access points to manage service delivery in real-time, while Council’s Smart Centre has welcomed 2,500-plus visitors since 2016.

Highly Commended: City of Adelaide

Ten Gigabit Adelaide connects businesses to high-speed, high-capability networks, increasing amenities and liveability, boosting jobs and living standards, and attracting the attention of international investors such as Elon Musk and Sanjeev Gupta. The City of Adelaide’s strategy is empowering the economy and aims to make Adelaide one of the most connected cities in the world.

Highly Commended: Ipswich City Council

Using Australian-first technology, the City has built a 100 square kilometre IoT network that supports sensor-based data gathering, video analytics, remote asset management, safety and security. The City is also partnering with Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads to run Australia’s largest cooperative intelligent transport system program.


Government Leader Award

Presented to an individual within a government organisation who has made a significant contribution to advancing the smart cities movement.

Winner: Michael Whereat

The Smart City Framework Lead at Sunshine Coast Council, Michael Whereat has driven an ambitious agenda of smart cities projects, from the international submarine cable project to Australia’s largest 3D model. Michael drafted Queensland's first fibre-to-the-premises code for a planning scheme and is the former President of the Australian Smart Communities Association


Industry Leader

Presented to an individual within a non-government organisation who has made a significant contribution to advancing the smart cities movement.

Winner: Catherine Caruana McManus

The Director of Meshed, IoT Integrators for smart cities, and founder of the IoT Alliance Australia, Catherine is an expert in smart cities and technology. Catherine is a former director of KPMG’s smart utilities sector and IBM’s smarter cities, Catherine is a serial disruptor who built the first digital land use survey for a local council and launched Australia’s first online real estate portal.


Emerging Leader

Presented to an early career practitioner who is making a significant contribution to advancing the smart cities movement.

Winner: Katherine Tobias

An emerging innovator with a sharp policy mind, Katherine Tobias is KPMG's Senior Consultant, Internet of Things Practice. A founding member of the Smart Cities Australia New Zealand Emerging Innovators Network, Katherine is helping organisations to unlock the transformative opportunities of IoT to turbocharge smart cities.