One year on

Thu, 2017-08-17 06:22 -- Adam Beck

It’s been a year since Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand launched.

To say we've been busy is an understatement. It's been a sprint. And it’s not over. In fact, we've just jumped off the starting blocks, and that’s an exciting opportunity in itself.

What we have achieved has laid the foundations for our future success. In a year of highlights, we:

  • Grew our local membership, thanks to our early partners Aurecon, KPMG, PCSG, Telstra and Place Design Group
  • Established task forces for the Built Environment, Policy and Leadership, and Social Impact
  • Commenced adaptation of the Smart Cities Readiness Guide for Australia and New Zealand
  • Delivered Smart Cities Readiness workshops and master classes to local governments across most states and territories
  • Presented at over 65 conferences and events
  • Hosted industry events to discuss issues such as smart city planning, smart buildings, smart cities standards and smart cities policy
  • Published a national guidance note on smart cities standards
  • Forged partnerships with the Internet of Things Alliance Australia, Planning Institute of Australia, Consult Australia, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and the Green Building Council of Australia
  • Secured a seat at the table of the National Cities Reference Group, convened by Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP
  • Prepared submissions on multiple smart and sustainable cities policy documents at federal and state level
  • Published more than 100 articles
  • Attracted more than 1,000 social media followers
  • Kicked off the development of the Code for Smart Communities, a national reference document for government and the development sector
  • Launched the National Smart Cities Awards Program.

Our early success has been the result of one key attribute: collaboration. Doing this alone just doesn't make sense, so we’ve worked closely with our members and partner associations to get the best results for everyone.

We continued to deliver on the four pillars of our strategic plan: producing quality information, delivering practical 'readiness' training, convening industry and government stakeholders, and working with government to create effective policy. The year ahead will see us continue to focus on these core activities, as they underpin the creation of a vibrant smart cities marketplace.

For our small but growing team, the smart cities approach is a tool for enhanced productivity and prosperity. Smart cities can help build democracy and social inclusion, quality of life, and overall liveability. Smart cities are also an accelerator of key environmental and economic targets, particularly our necessary pursuit of a zero-carbon economy.

Big buzzwords, right? But behind the buzzwords, tangible outcomes demonstrated through case studies.

Our global library of articles and case studies is now in the thousands, highlighting the amazing work of our partners, and the cities and towns they support. This emphasises how government and private sector organisations alike are using data and technology to transform their businesses and services. In turn, these efforts are transforming people’s lives.

Our Compassionate Cities campaign has catalogued many best practice examples. From the Seeing AI app from Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, to SAS’s new book for government data analytics being used by human services officers.

The outcomes being achieved are made possible because a smart city is one that puts people at the centre, and uses technology and data as the key enabler for success. This approach to building our cities, managing growth, and providing the necessary services for communities to thrive, is an idea whose time has come.

At a national level, we have commitment from government, policy (the Smart Cities Plan), and catalyst funding. State governments are starting to mobilise, but still have a way to go. And the people within local government building our cities and towns are trying their hearts out, and achieving some amazing outcomes.

This is not an agenda in which we deploy technology for technology sake. But rather an agenda where technology, data and intelligent design unlock human development potential. Connectivity remains the key, making sure that all communities have access to the internet economy, and the opportunity to learn, participate and thrive.

We are very clear on the big picture, and laser-focussed on the now. SCCANZ has a plan.

This is an important agenda. At the Council, we are building a smart cities movement. And we invite you to join us.