Adelaide poised to become Australia’s first smart city


Professor Ali Babar, Professor at the University of Adelaide told The Guardian: “Adelaide is small enough to use as a laboratory but large enough to undertake ambitious initiatives.

“A proof of concept can be developed and tested here.”

Other key stakeholders participating in the project include Adelaide City council and technology providers Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Fuji and Xerox. Barbar said that a Memorandum of Understanding with NEC Australia was also secured.

Commenting on the MoU with NEC Australia, the university professor said: “We will try to brainstorm suitable projects for Adelaide by partnering with [NEC Australia], sharing findings and making those findings available to the general public.

“That in turn will stimulate further collaboration with industry partners and government.”

[quote] Barbar noted that “things can be taken further” with regard to improved energy and water management, in light of the fact that South Australia is the driest state in the country.

He said that Adelaide’s smart city model would resemble that of the ‘Bristol is Open project’ in the UK, where NEC has contributed software-defined networking (SDN) compatible switches, LTE small cells and iPasolink ultra-compact microwave systems.

Tim Vines, Vice-President of Civil Liberties Australia, a non-political NGO based in Canberra commented saying: “These smart technologies hold a lot of promise in terms of making better cities and using resources more efficiently.”

Smart city security

As with any smart city development project, the issue of security and privacy is one that takes precedence. NEC Australia’s South Australian state manager, Milan Djuricic said: “At the end of the day, smart city research is not about private data.”

David Lindsay, vice chair of the Australian Privacy foundation also expressed his concern about the potential for widespread surveillance offered up by the Internet of Things.

He says: “As with any new technologies and applications, we believe that adequate and appropriate privacy protection should be built into the design of the technologies.

“When new applications and technologies are being deployed, it is absolutely essential that a proper privacy impact assessment (PIA) be conducted by an independent body and by means of a public process.”

The Guardian added that Babar acknowledges that smart city technologies present serious privacy concerns and that society would need to develop a mechanism to address these challenges.

Barbar added that the Australian centre for smart cities is investigating privacy awareness as part of its brief.

He said: “… We will be looking at who owns the data from the user’s point of view, and enabling users to manage their own privacy.

“Perhaps at certain times they are willing to share their data, but at other times of day they don’t want to and they need to be able to control that.”