Start-ups help catapult Smart City

17 Apr 2019

Civic Park will feature an illuminated night-time attraction next month thanks to a City of Newcastle project that will see a local technology start-up deliver an interactive light display in the popular CBD park.

The new Luna light display, which will be tested from May 6-10 during the Hunter Innovation Festival, will form part of the “Catapult” trial to harness the potential of start-ups to achieve several strategic Smart City objectives.

Luna's illuminated night-time display will activate Civic Park after dark

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Newcastle was the perfect testing ground for companies - like Luna - looking to launch ideas in a progressive and emerging Smart City landscape.

“Creative lighting adds a whole new layer of interest to the public domain and we’re delighted to be able to support Luna to test their technology for the first time in a real-world environment,” the Lord Mayor said.

“What is great about Luna is that it allows people to become active participants in the light display, rather than just passive spectators, by giving them the ability to change the colour and intensity of the lights.

“In our increasingly digital age, cities need to look towards new approaches, innovative technologies and smart infrastructure to create an environment that supports economic growth and diversification.

“So, we’ve called upon the visionary ambitions of four very exciting new companies to help achieve that.”

An online mapping platform called Accessibility in the City joins Luna as part of the Catapult trial.

When launched later this year, Accessibility in the City will offer users verified information about where to locate accessible features, such as disabled parking and toilets, and help them navigate busy, cluttered and visually oriented environments.

Accessibility in the City founder Chad Ramage

Both companies have the capabilities to better understand resource utilisation, and in turn, make improvements to help the City reduce its energy costs.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the opportunity for Newcastle to be used as a testing ground.

“The city has been working hard with our stakeholders over a number of years to establish Newcastle and the Hunter as an internationally recognised centre for technology innovation,” Councillor Nelmes said.

“Cities around the world are facing the challenge of improving liveability for their residents while reducing resource consumption, and the companies selected as part of this trial will to help us tackle these challenges head on.

“Our award-winning Smart City Strategy includes clear objectives around making our buildings more energy efficient, around piloting inclusive smart technology to increase equity of access to the city, and around deploying interactive technologies into the public domain to create active and safe places of interest and discovery.

“The Catapult program is one of the many ways that we are delivering on our strategy and our vision to be a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.”

The Catapult program is part of the $13 million Smart Moves Newcastle project, which received $5 million through the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program in 2017.