Will Australia’s largest smart light project lead to city's rebirth?

The light poles offer not only controllable and dimmable LED lighting, but also Wi-Fi connectivity, speakers through which public announcements can be made and cameras  that can offer real-time traffic analysis to authorities. 

Australia’s seaside city of Newcastle has launched a massive new smart lighting scheme, which is set to form the spine of the city’s expanding and lavish smart city strategy. 

Around fifty smart light poles are being installed across the Newcastle area, with a further 300 set to make an appearance over the next five years.

It is hoped that the project will help to transform Newcastle from a primarily industrial and shipping hub, into a city with a broader range of economic foundations.

The light poles offer not only controllable and dimmable LED lighting, but also Wi-Fi connectivity, speakers through which public announcements can be made and cameras  that can offer real-time traffic analysis to authorities. 

The lighting can be controlled at any time of day using Google maps and it is expected that the poles will also soon be fitted with further environmental sensors, a smart parking system and electrical-vehicle charging stations.

Newcastle, in New South Wales, is Australia’s seventh largest city and with a population of just under 450,000, the city is just the right size for hosting a smart city trial. 

‘We’re excited about the smart poles because they’re the first real tech hardware installed as part of our smart city strategy we have just released for public comment,’ Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes commented. 

‘This is just the beginning of a new era in which we’ll see sensor-based smart lighting and other technology help make the city run more efficiently and provide valuable data insights for businesses, advanced manufacturers and entrepreneurial industries.’

Similar smart poles have been deployed around Darling Harbour, a shopping centre on the Gold Coast and at the University of Wollongong.

Newcastle’s smart city strategy involves a good slice of investment and nobody can say that the local authority is not standing squarely behind the plan. 

The plan also entails the construction of a four-storey innovation hub to be built by the University of Newcastle in partnership with the council.

This and other initiatives are designed to help diversify the city’s economy by attracting advanced manufacturing and digital industries. It is also hoped that the new technology will help to foster entrepreneurial talent as well as innovative start-ups.

‘From building the tech hub in a new digital precinct and promoting science-based disciplines to effecting major energy efficiencies in transport and other services, we’re re-inventing the city,’ Nelmes continued.

‘Apps for ratepayers to transact with council, digital wayfinding for tourists and sensors to show garbage truck drivers the bins that need emptying, businesses when to open and motorists where to park are key components of this overarching vision.’

  • Smart Cities will be a key topic at the LuxLive 2017 exhibition and conference on Wednesday 15  November and  Thursday 16 November 2017. Entry is free and you can pre-register to stay in the loop by clicking HERE.

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