Collaboration, integration and interoperability key to smart cities

Written by Adam Schultz

Long the responsibility of State Governments, the Australian Federal Government has been considering what central role they might play in the development of cities. As the country struggles with population growth, economic transition and climate change, the solutions offered by IoT technologies, smart and connected cities and infrastructure is of increasing national interest.

At a public hearing on 22nd August in Sydney, the IoT Alliance of Australia (IoTAA) presented a compelling argument for the Federal Government to play a more hands-on role in formally establishing an interoperable and secure framework for open data and case study sharing across all levels of government and industry.

In a relatively small country like Australia, we think it makes extremely good sense to collaborate, share lessons and best practice as we develop our smart cities. Opportunity, money and time will be wasted if each city and state embarks upon their individual IoT and smart city journey without consideration to collaboration, integration and interoperability.

Naturally a key part of collaboration is in information and data sharing – between and within government agencies, cities and states. Much to be gained in moving beyond this to open and democratic data sharing between government as well as commercial sectors, particularly as we as so dependent on one another for improved quality of services and life in our cities.

In the energy management and monitoring space, we believe in the critical importance of generating free and open data and using this data to make informed decisions and to help change behaviour. What could we collectively achieve if we openly shared our data within the context of the city and country, be it energy or water consumption, people movement, shared services and the like?

Given cities are fundamentally about people, can we also consider encouraging citizens to share their data too?

The IoTAA believe so. In Sydney, CEO Frank Zeichner noted that citizens are an “unrealised resource” in the IoT ecosystem. If incentivised in the right way, citizens can and will play a greater role in collecting and sharing data – for example, sharing electricity, gas, and water meter data with city councils in exchange for a discount on utility bills.

By including citizens in this journey, by collaborating across all aspects of our cities and through the generation of open, usable data we believe city planners will truly be able to build informed, smart and evolving cities for the future.

Buddy is proud to be a member of the IoTAA and support this call for data sharing and collaborating. Moreover, our Buddy Ohm service will actively help organisations unlock, understand and act on their own data.