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Putting people first: why Adelaide’s a smart city

Hear the term ‘smart city’ and words like big data, Wi-Fi and connectivity likely spring to mind. Each has a place in the conversation, but it’s people – not technology – guiding the City of Adelaide’s transformative smart city strategy.

Ranking consistently among the world’s most liveable cities and named one of the world’s ‘Smart21 Communities of the Year’ by New York-based international think-tank, the Intelligence Community Forum, Adelaide has a growing international reputation. However, with the city’s economy in transition, becoming a smart city has been identified in Council’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan as essential for a prosperous future.

An aerial view of City of Adelaide
An aerial view of City of Adelaide

Smart cities use digital technology and data to drive economic growth, accelerate innovation and better manage energy, resources and services. Adelaide’s become a leader in the smart city sphere in a relatively short space of time, partly by designing its strategy around people.

“At the outset, we put our feet in the shoes of residents, businesses, investors and visitors – and walked a mile with them to discover what their issues with the city were. What barriers stop people making Adelaide home or a business base?” said Peter Auhl, City of Adelaide’s Chief Information Officer.

“Our belief is this. Address those concerns, make the city experience more streamlined – then more people will choose to come. Equally vital is continuing to consult with the community about what’s happening, how they benefit and getting widespread input.”

Ultimately technology will enable delivery of solutions, but putting people at the centre results in better outcomes that go to the heart of community concerns and enrich the overall city experience.

A season for all

City residents, workers and visitors are already benefiting from early-stage projects in the smart city plan – many Australian ‘firsts’ including the comprehensive free public access Wi-Fi network AdelaideFree and Adelaide Smart City Studio – our own catalyst for smart city innovation. Both joint initiatives of the City of Adelaide and the South Australian State Government, their success has helped place Adelaide at the forefront of the smart city movement.

With other urban centres looking here for inspiration and guidance, Council was invited to present at North America’s premier smart cities conference and expo, Smart Cities Week, in October 2017. Opportunities like this allow the City of Adelaide to share its expertise and vision on a world stage, while building Adelaide’s brand as a future engine room for smart city innovation.

Adelaide tram turning onto North Terrace, Adelaide
Adelaide tram turning onto North Terrace, Adelaide

Already live or work in Adelaide? Expect to see significant progress on several game-changing Council-led smart projects in 2018 including smart parking and the transformational fibre-optic ‘Ten Gigabit Adelaide’ network.

Following announcement of the supplier, construction on ‘Ten Gigabit Adelaide’ begins in 2018. This will gear Adelaide up to be Australia’s first capital city to access cloud-based data services that bypass traditional internet, allowing city-based organisations to deliver big data securely, at lighting fast speeds locally, national and globally.

“Ten Gigabit Adelaide can be the solution for attracting head offices to Adelaide, creating jobs, driving creativity, innovation, investment and so much more,” said Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Martin Haese.

With organisations in sectors like health and education being able to tap into this high level of digital infrastructure, the flow-on benefits to city residents will include access to the most innovative and efficient services.

A smart city hub helping fast-track the future

The future’s looking bright, but today’s just as dynamic.

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

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