Smart technology - initiatives and options

There are many new and emerging smart/digital technologies that are being integrated into development around the world.

To support discussion about smart technology for Lake Macquarie, this section presents an overview of such initiatives, especially the most common and most promising.

Smart City Networks

Digital communication networks are the foundation of a smart city. These include:

  • fixed broadband, typically provided by optical fibre or co-axial cable
  • wireless broadband, typically provided by Wi-Fi, microwave or satellite
  • wireless narrowband IoT, being low power wide area networks designed specifically for the Internet of Things
  • cellular networks for mobile phones and internet

Smart Street-lights

Upgrade of lights to LED and smart controllers are delivering huge savings in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Smart street-lights allow real-time monitoring and control, including dimming by movement or light conditions.

Street-lights are considered to be the backbone of a smart city, offering favourable positioning (in both distribution and height) for placement of networks and sensors. Many cities are combining LED upgrades with smart city deployments to reduce costs and integrate digital functionality.

Street-lights may be retro-fitted with smart technology. Alternatively, many vendors are offering ‘all in one’ smart street-lights with an array of networks, sensors and smart services.

Smart Homes/Smart Buildings

Digital technology is becoming an increasingly important element of our homes and buildings. In-built sensors, networks, security features, and analytical programs, are being used to improve liveability, functionality and resource efficiency.

This can include bio-security entry, building management systems, mobile/remote monitoring and control, sensors to measure and manage space utilisation, and building ‘pulse’ dashboards.

Smart Parking

Sensors and communications networks provide real time information about parking availability to make it easier for citizens to find parking when and where they need it.

Smart Waste Management

Sensors and big data analytics help to optimise waste collection, reducing over-flowing bins and unnecessary trips to pick-up half empty bins.

Digital Utility Metering

Smart water/gas/electivity meters provide real-time information to citizens and utilities, allowing the community to better manage energy and water consumption, and reducing the cost of metering.

Urban (‘Living’) Innovation Labs

Right around the world - in cities like Barcelona, Copenhagen, San Francisco and Seoul - Living Labs are being established to encourage ‘on street, in city’ testing of new technology. These Labs aim to trial and evaluate new ideas and solutions, and ultimately build a better city.

Innovation/Smart Working Hubs

High-speed connectivity makes the world our office and our marketplace. Dedicated spaces for remote working and innovation are being integrated into new development to increase local employment, reduce transport congestion, and support commercial activity.

Open Data

Smart cities are fuelled by access to data, and our suburbs and buildings are giant data catchments. Sharing and opening up data sets can improve city planning and operations, as well as support transparency and innovation.

Smart Planning

Cities and regions are using big data and computer programs to develop accurate 3D city models that improve city planning outcomes, streamline planning processes, and encourage community co-creation.
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