Aug 2, 2021, 14:00 PM

Citywide writer Natalie Schroeder

Natalie Schroeder
Senior Bid Leader

With technology and data now a part of our daily lives, local governments are increasingly looking to service their communities better and more efficiently by using data to deliver a direct and tangible benefit, without compromising personal privacy.

Driven by their objective to deliver better services, collecting data and using it to improve amenities such as parks, public transport and other open space is at the heart of any smart city strategy. 

For optimal results, developing and installing sensors is a collaborate effort between technology suppliers, service providers and researchers – working in partnership with local governments.

One example where Citywide played a central role is Argyle Square in Carlton, Victoria. 

A City of Melbourne initiative (along with Amazon Web Services, Peclet Technology, PHORIA, Meshed, Smart City Solutions and the University of Melbourne), this pilot program (link opens in new window) placed sensors inside the park that detect, collect and communicate data about microclimates, pedestrian activity, rubbish bin levels, air quality, bench use and more. 

Complying with privacy laws and addressing community concern, systems are set up to ensure personal information is not collected.  Instead, the focus rests on the service itself:  Are there enough bins in the area?  Is waste being collected regularly enough?  Are park benches in the right place?  In which areas of the park do people most enjoy spending their time?

Sensors gathering municipal data will help Council monitor: 

  • Rubbish bin fill levels
  • Pedestrian numbers via randomised Bluetooth signals
  • Humidity and temperature of tree species
  • Local air quality, rainfall levels and wind speed, comparing data with the Bureau of Meteorology and DELWP.

Other benefits include optimising rubbish collection to reduce trucks on the road.

Ultimately, the information collected by the City of Melbourne will help improve maintenance in Argyle Square, with lessons applied to other parks and open spaces across the municipality.

The City of Melbourne’s vision is to make Melbourne a Smart City.  The information collected realises that vision, helping council make more efficient and effective decisions about services.

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