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Newcastle on the front foot with urban technology

June 19, 2019

June 19, 2019

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Newcastle on the front foot with urban technology

We may not have flying cars (yet), but the rapid innovations in vehicle technologies are cultivating a driving experience more reminiscent of a Jetsons episode than of the cars our parents drove us to school in. Ten years ago, bluetooth and reverse cameras were the crazy new technologies sweeping the car industry and leaving us all in awe. But now driverless cars are taking the lead as the Internet of Things (IoT) builds momentum, and the collective aspiration for a globe fuelled by ‘Smart Cities’ only grows more real by the second.

We may not have flying cars (yet), but the rapid innovations in vehicle technologies are cultivating a driving experience more reminiscent of a Jetsons episode than of the cars our parents drove us to school in. Ten years ago, bluetooth and reverse cameras were the crazy new technologies sweeping the car industry and leaving us all in awe. But now driverless cars are taking the lead as the Internet of Things (IoT) builds momentum, and the collective aspiration for a globe fuelled by ‘Smart Cities’ only grows more real by the second.

As technology innovations continue to permeate into every sector, we are experiencing the dawn of a new era – the ‘Internet of People’ has become the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT for short. The vision for IoT is for virtually all objects around us to be able to communicate with each other, exchange information and work in synergy – prime examples of this being Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ and the Google Home. As such, the IoT is intrinsically imperative in the formation of Smart Cities: a metropolitan region that uses data and technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability, create economic development, and enhance the quality of life factors for people living and working in the city.

In the background of our lives, the IoT is constantly moving and evolving. As more appliances come online and the web of interconnectedness grows stronger and more tangible, we can only predict that Smart Cities could become the norm. Street lights are able to self-report when they are dim and traffic lights can alter timings to alleviate congestion during peak periods. If driverless cars didn’t convince you, the envisioned trajectory of society definitely looks a lot like a Futurama episode now.

At the 2019 Smart Cities Conference in Melbourne last month, various cities (qualified by having a population greater than 100k) across Australia were lauded for their movements towards becoming a Smart City. The verdict from the conference found Newcastle the best candidate, who were praised for their advancements in digitally connected public and urban infrastructure, the establishment of energy-efficient solar projects, electric-vehicle charging stations, free Wi-Fi, and bike-sharing initiatives. Judges were looking for cities showcasing the best use and implementation of technologies and processes that “enhance the overall operability and living experience within their city”, with Newcastle satisfying this criteria as one of Australia’s top smart cities in recognition of its strategic future planning for a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Additionally, Tasmania is evidently one of Newcastle’s biggest rivals, as proven at the Smart Cities Forum in Hobart in August of last year. The Keynote Speaker, Richard Griggs, the Tasmanian Director of Civil Liberties Australia, echoed the sentiments of the entire Forum in his appraisal of the IoT as integral to the future of modern society across the globe*.

The take-home message of the conference was that the formation of Smart Cities is vital in keeping up with the rapid evolution and permeation of IoT into daily life. Other than the issues of data security and privacy concerns that were touched on by various speakers at the forum, it seemed that the smart city concept was a relatively unproblematic bright future. Further pushing the IoT agenda, Australian Road and Lighting company Aldridge Traffic Systems have recently been appointed Silver Sponsors of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) Conference, taking place from the 3rd-5th July 2019. With offices located in Glenorchy, Aldridge Traffic Systems will be exhibiting their range of LED road lighting and Smart City solutions at the Hobart conference, alongside the other sponsors and trade exhibitors such as Commonwealth Bank and Telstra.

On an international scale, some of the largest and most influential cities in the world are taking big steps in the direction of establishing themselves as Smart Cities. Los Angeles is currently in the process of installing new LED lights across 4,500 miles worth of streetlights, increasing visibility and making for a safer city overall. Seattle’s new SR 99 tunnel has been deemed the ‘smartest tunnel’ to date by Forbes; even when commuters are 200 feet underground, the tunnel’s 13 miles of fiber optic cables, 95 miles of electrical wiring, 15 miles of lights and 8 miles of heat detectors constantly monitor conditions within the tunnel for the benefit of public safety and communication. Throughout the entirety of the two-mile tunnel, travellers have complete LTE connection to use their phones and be alerted of emergencies. In the city of Nanjing in China, sensors have been installed in 10,000 taxis, 7,000 buses and 1 million private cars to help track and monitor traffic patterns.

With the trend of converting traditional infrastructure into Smart Cities, we are moving quickly towards a world where manual labour will be replaced by automation – again linking Smart Cities back to IoT. Upon examining both phenomena individually, it is bleedingly obvious that one could not thrive without the other. They hold a symbiotic relationship that the world is catching wind of, and Australia’s proficiency in both has not gone unnoticed. Australian companies such as Traffic Technologies (ASX: TTI) have secured contracts to provide services in existing international hubs which are looking to improve their citizens’ lives, such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as being contracted to address the needs of rapidly expanding global gateway cities like Doha, Qatar and Mexico.


For more information on TTI, please visit their Investor Centre.

TTI subsidiary – Aldridge Traffic Systems are silver sponsors of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) Conference, taking place from the 3rd-5th July 2019. To join them at the conference, click here. TTI subsidiary Aldridge Traffic systems are also set to feature at the upcoming Australian Intelligent Transport Summit in Melbourne on August 28-29. For more information click here.

*Source: https://tasmaniantimes.com/2018/08/hobarts-smart-city-strategy-captured-by-vested-interests/.


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