Imagine wheelie bins that communicate with garbage trucks to say when they need to be emptied; this could be a reality for Ipswich locals, as the City Council unveils its Smart Plan, bracing for a new era of connectivity.
Written by Lexy Haggard
Produced by Annie Pullar
Electric cars, drones, Wi-Fi-connected LED street lights and censored rubbish bins are some of the futuristic technologies to be adopted by Queensland’s fastest-growing city as part of Ipswich City Council’s Smart City plan.
The internet will form the backbone of the council’s plan, with more Ipswich premises connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) than both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
In a bid to keep a-pace with the larger cities, Ipswich Deputy Mayor, Paul Tully says technology will be key.
“What we’re looking at is using modern technology, technology which currently exists and harnessing it in various ways so that we’ve got an opportunity at being the leading front of the 600 councils around Australia.”
He says it’s important for all councils and governments to take a progressive approach.
“Councils and state and local governments need to be at the forefront of technology, embracing it and utilising it and that’s what we’re trying to do in Ipswich.”
Connectivity will be a mainstay of the council’s approach, as well as growing jobs and increasing liveability.
Ipswich has already been recognised as one of the smartest cities in the world.
In a recent global study by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), Ipswich was placed in the top seven most intelligent communities, a first for any Australian city.
Councillor Tully says the listing ultimately reflects both the council’s technology driven approach and the opportunities brought about by embracing high speed internet.
Now in the running to be the number one most intelligent city in the world, Councillor Tully is hopeful for the city’s future.
“We’re working for our communities, we’re not sitting back on our laurels, what we want to do is to be at the forefront, and hopefully that will pay off with the recognition, not only being in the top seven of world intelligent communities but hopefully number one,” says Ipswich Deputy Mayor Paul Tully.
START-UP LEADING THE WAY FOR INNOVATION
The Smart City plan will join the lineup of other government led digital innovation.
Last year the Ipswich City Council launched Fire Station 101, a tech hub aimed at fostering innovative start-ups which has seen fantastic growth over the past year.
The station is Australia’s only innovation hub fully owned and operated by local council.
Community Manager at Fire Station 101, Chad Renando, says the hub will continue to leverage its connection with council to drive growth for start-ups in the region and community innovation in Ipswich.
“It’s going to promote some structure, it’s going to give people some place to really connect to if they want to make a difference in our city,” says Community Manager at Fire Station 101, Chad Renando.
He says while the plan’s advancements in technology are exciting innovations, inclusivity should be the focus.
“The interesting thing about smart cities, is that it’s definitely about the widgets and trash cans, but it’s about inclusivity, it’s about liveability in a city, it’s about making sure that the technology is available for everyone,” says Mr Renando.
Mr Renado is confident Ipswich will remain a leading city in innovation.
“Where we are is fairly advanced, between fire station 101, other hubs emerging in the region, in the smart city plan and progressive council, it’s all going to be taking off here,” he says.
By 2018, the council plans to have eight public Wi-Fi networks and wireless sensor networks covering 40 per cent of the city.