Newcastle leads the way with smart city infrastructure

18 Oct 2019

An advanced network of sensors spread across the city has put Newcastle on the front foot to combat a range of local environmental issues.

The City’s ‘Envirosensing’ network and Internet of Things (IoT) project, which will be officially launched today, is the culmination of three years of work to build one of the most advanced smart city infrastructure systems in Australia.

The system is designed to measure a range of environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, wind direction, air quality, water usage, soil moisture and solar irradiance.

The infrastructure also allows for the pilot deployment of smart bin sensors, smart parking sensors and other smart city applications.

Data collected by the sensors can help the City better understand and respond to issues such as urban heat island effect, air pollution, flood management and water sustainability, as well as monitor the performance of urban systems and assets.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Newcastle is leading the way when it comes to investment in and uptake of technology.

“The launch is a significant milestone, marking the completion of the base infrastructure required to start deploying applications that not only solve the city’s challenges but also harness exciting opportunities,” Cr Nelmes said.

“An example of how these sensors can be used is in combatting the phenomenon of higher temperatures in areas with a lot of buildings and pavement, known as the Urban Heat Island effect.

“Studies show that Urban Heat Islands are associated with higher pollution and negative health conditions, especially for the elderly and young children. This technology will be integral to exploring possible actions to mitigate urban warming.”

Today’s launch will also showcase custom-designed adaptable sensor housings developed with local industrial design outfit Design Anthology, which are integrated into the city’s growing smart pole network and can be accessed by the City’s research and industry partners to develop new technologies and help solve city challenges.

Cr Nelmes said this network will establish Newcastle as an experimental testbed for progressing research, prototyping and entrepreneurial activity.

“The scope of this system’s potential is as far-reaching as the imagination of the researchers and entrepreneurs we hope to attract to solve an open-ended range of challenges using sensing and data,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This infrastructure will allow us to focus on optimisation, efficiency and evidence-based decisions in our journey towards becoming a smart, sustainable and liveable global city.”

The NSW Government supported the deployment of smart city infrastructure through a $5 million grant via the Restart NSW-funded Hunter Innovation Project. A partnership with the State Government will see the City of Newcastle invest an additional $2 million over three years.