The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Providence Asset Group (PAG) and the Tamworth City Council for a three-way collaboration to conduct a trial exploring the potential of smart city technologies.
Described as Australia’s first fully integrated smart city trial, it will be the first based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and will include applications across transport, energy, health, telecommunications and other community services. The partnership will be lead by UNSW Professor Joe Dong, Director of the UNSW Digital Futures Grid Institute.
“The aim for the Tamworth Smart City project was to build IT systems that would monitor and control data flowing through ‘smart’ services, using the wireless network. Imagine having an app on your computer or phone that gives you your electricity usage and cost information in real-time, and also tells you how some slight change of usage pattern of appliances such as the washing machine could most effectively save electricity bills,” said Dong. “You could have other apps on the smart network for a variety of purposes – such as wearable health monitors that alert your medical practitioners should you need to go and see them or live transport and traffic monitoring to give you alternative routes as soon as a hazard occurs.”
Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett said UNSW researchers will investigate opportunities across a range of local industries. “We are in the very early stages, but it is exciting to be a part of such an innovative project: Australia’s first fully integrated smart city trial,” he said. “It will take some time before it is clear what the tangible outcomes may be, but right now we do know the partnership is looking to bring significant investment to our region and is committed to securing a project which benefits council, our community and local industry.”
Dong added, “If we can prove that our solution works, the potential benefits are endless. UNSW is very excited to trial these systems with Tamworth City and Providence and hopes it will provide a template for other smart cities in Australia in the future.”