In the last few years I’ve attended a number of events on the ‘Smart City’, or some variation of that theme. Discussions at these events have typically focused on technologies, systems or public policy frameworks to make things ‘Smarter’.
Unfortunately ‘Smart Cities’ has quickly become one of those ambiguous terms where it can mean everything but also nothing.
Recently I attended a different sort of Smart City event; the National Smart Communities Conference hosted by The Broadband Today Alliance. The need for highly available ultra-fast broadband was certainly advocated as a prerequisite for Smart Communities. So, what was different?
From my perspective the urgency expressed from local government and regional development representatives about what they wanted for their communities from broadband was much more constructive than anything I’ve previously witnessed. Presenters talked about service innovation and starting to create new value today for both citizens and local government. The mood was one of action. Conversations didn’t centre on envisaging the perfect Smart Community architecture. Instead people shared initiatives and ideas where good outcomes and challenges were equally exposed. People genuinely rallied around the objective of ensuring Australia and their local communities realise the full economic benefits of new ICT infrastructure investment; including a National Broadband Network, expanding 4G coverage and the recently announced Telstra public WiFi Network.
I was delighted to present information about the ng Connect program, particularly to share ng Connect service concepts applicable to a Smart Community. There was a lot of positive enquiries about Public Digital Display and Ageing in Place services in local government and I’ll be kept busy responding to those who expressed an interest to receive further information.
The Broadband Today Alliance have published an excellent whitepaper on What Makes a Smart Community which you can read here.
A sincere congratulations to all those who made the event such a success and thanks for the opportunity to be part of it.