Is it possible to enhance public spaces, parks and gardens using digital technologies? Are we ready to introduce the Internet of Things in an otherwise tech-free zone where people go to enjoy various forms of passive and active recreation?
Subject to intelligent design, purpose and a focus on user-need and expectations, the answer is yes. We are already seeing how technology is helping us to optimise operational activities, conserve water and maximise energy efficiency, among a myriad of other activities and tasks.
The benefits are diverse when it comes to landscape, buildings and cities. Indeed the opportunities to create smart spaces and transform communities are endless and can include:
- emergency services and public safety – sensors and video technology to monitor and manage major events, traffic safety and allow improved emergency responsiveness.
- healthcare – high-speed video technology allowing improved connectivity to conduct diagnosis and treatment, real-time monitoring and warning systems; and smart cities,
- buildings and homes – sensors and systems that assist with navigation, finding services and facilities, monitoring outages, as well as maximising energy/ resource use and waste efficiency.
The City of Joondalup in Western Australia provides a real-world example of how local government is working with telcos to provide innovative applications that a mobile-enabled society is increasingly asking for. The Internet of Things and its ability to support billions of connected devices worldwide is likely to positively reconfigure industries, sectors and communities, including local municipalities such as the City of Joondalup.
As part of a trial project, Joondalup has embraced the Internet of Things as a very specific strategy to create a ‘smart park’. By partnering with Telstra, the City was set specific goals aimed at transforming Tom Simpson Park, Mullaloo into a smart park by trialing the Internet of Things.
The Tom Simpson Park trial is a Proof of Concept highlighting the importance of having the right telecommunications infrastructure to enable unique applications. From an urban landscape perspective, the trial included several novel innovations:
- An IoT enabled smart car park connected to the Telstra mobile network that shows how many spaces are available to people travelling to the area, helping traffic flows during peak periods and summer holidays.
- Environmental sensors that monitor light, temperature, noise, humidity and pollution levels in the park in real-time.
- A smart bin solution with sensors on the 32 bins located in the park that notify the waste services team when bins need to be emptied. This means we can manage rubbish collection more efficiently and gain insights into which areas of the park are being more frequently accessed by the community.
- An analytics tool and dashboard that provides a real-time view of how the park and its infrastructure are being used. This helps us monitor park facilities and use resources more efficiently to allow the city to plan more effectively.
The trial demonstrated what is possible using digital tools, including IoT devices, to optimise the efficient use of resources and assets, monitor public safety and ensure infrastructure is used much more efficiently. Of course design plays a key role, as does the use of trial data to identify ongoing opportunities for improving public open spaces and parks across the municipality.
For more information visit Exchange Telstra