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Australian govt told to take control of smart cities

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Standards Australia has called on the Federal Government to take a lead role in smart city developments – in particular to set standards. It warns that a lack of standards could greatly increase the cost of smart city deployments.

Standards Australia is due to appear on 22 March before the House Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities inquiry into the development of cities to talk to its submission to the enquiry.

The Standards Australia submission cited a 2016 study from IoT research company Machina Research that estimated deploying of IoT without interoperability standards would add $US341 billion in costs to smart city deployments worldwide by 2025, increasing costs from $US781 billion to $US1.12 trillion.

In its submission Standards Australia said the committee should “recommend that the Federal Government make strategic investments in the development of a connected cities blueprint, to complement the work already underway through the Cities Framework.”

It identified three key activities:

  1. Thought leadership involving all sectors and resulting in a sophisticated blueprint of minimum requirements for a connected Australian city
  2. The development of a standards roadmap for Australia, identifying the work that needs to be undertaken in each sector to unlock the benefits of a connected Australian city
  3. Detailed standards development work in strategic priority areas (for example, infrastructure and ICT) to enable learnings from proof of concept trials, for example, to be reflected in the development of standards.

Specifically, Standards Australia said the committee should “note the role that contemporary Australian, ISO and IEC Standards can play in enabling the creation of connected cities, within the broader conformance regime … [and] recommend that the Government make further strategic investments in Australian Standard mapping and development, to position our cities to take full advantage of technological advances that can make a marked impact on the lives of Australians and Australian communities.”

In the submission CEO Bronwyn Evans said Standards Australia wanted to widen and deepening its engagement on smart city developments with all levels of government.

“We believe that a coordinated and measured approach, which prioritises standardisation, should be taken to ensure Australian cities are connected cities to enable greater movement and flow of information, capital and people, all critical to our economic growth,” he said.

The enquiry was launched by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester on 30 May 2017. Its terms of reference require it to:

  • Identify how the trajectories of existing cities can be directed towards a more sustainable urban form that enhances urban liveability and quality of life and reduces energy, water, and resource consumption
  • Consider what regulation and barriers exist that the Commonwealth could influence, and opportunities to cut red tape
  • Examine the national benefits of being a global ‘best practice’ leader in sustainable urban development.

The enquiry has to date received 163 submissions and by the end of March will have held 23 public hearings, all in the eastern states and territories. No reporting date has been given.

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