Digital technology and big data has been integrated into essentially every aspect of our lives. From the smartphone in your pocket to your local supermarket and beyond, innovative new tools and the internet of things (IoT) have changed the way we interact with businesses, conduct our work and communicate with friends and family.

While the digital realm has been somewhat fragmented until now, the next major evolution is tipped to be smart cities. Leveraging the IoT, automation, operational intelligence and data analysis, local and federal government agencies are driving our world towards a more connected future, one where digital transformation will integrate with service delivery to an unprecedented degree.


Enter the Digital Transformation Agency

The Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is at the forefront of the Smart Cities Plan, working to assist local councils with their efforts to develop innovative infrastructure and services. The DTA is partnering with the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program – a $50 million competitive venture to support innovative, technology-based solutions to urban challenges – to bring experience and technical knowledge to communities outside the major cities.

“There is a great appetite for innovation within local councils, who are at the forefront of smart city initiatives,” said Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor in a press release.

“Local councils are already working together to deliver services. But they were struggling to find a way to collaborate when a project is still just an idea, or a pilot, or a lesson they have learned that would benefit other councils.”

With the assistance of the DTA, smart cities in Australia have already begun springing up, and some exciting new projects are in the works.

Automated waste collection on the Sunshine Coast

In the Maroochydore City Centre, the Sunshine Coast Council has begun construction on a 6.5km system of underground vacuum pipes for waste collection, replacing the traditional wheelie bin system with automation. The $21 million project involves colour-coded waste inlets – for general waste, recycling and organics – leading to sealed underground compartments to await transportation to a central waste facility twice daily.

Being built on a largely undeveloped site offers further opportunities. In addition to the pipe system, a high-speed fibre optic network is set to be installed concurrently, enabling the council to provide further smart city services. Digital signage and lighting, Wi-Fi hotspots, real-time transport data – the potential for efficient, intelligent services is immense.

A new dimension of data modelling in Ipswich

Planning and delivery of infrastructure and services in Ipswich is about to get an intelligence boost, thanks to the innovative 5D Data Modelling initiative. Pooling data from across various council sources, the platform is designed to offer a comprehensive view of infrastructure and allow for a more holistic appraisal of traditionally fragmented information.

A single source of truth makes collaborative decision-making much easier and faster.

Smart cities in Australia will run on data-driven IT solutions.

The operational intelligence potential for such a system is huge. By gathering data from multiple sectors of the council, a single source of truth can emerge. From that, collaborative decisions can be made much easier and faster, meaning citizens can experience the benefits of infrastructure development sooner.

“The Ipswich Smart City Program is the culmination of 18 months of extensive work including the city’s largest community survey, a global peer city review, extensive industry consultation and a detailed review of council operations,” says Ipswich Acting Mayor Paul Tully.

“This program belongs to the community and whether you’re a citizen, a startup, a community group or major conglomerate we want to work with you to make it happen.”

Innovations for smart cities in Australia are built on a foundation of optimised IT solutions and services. Digital transformation, automation and operational intelligence initiatives are part of our focus at Avocado, and we are helping organisations achieve their goals through IT.