Northern Melbourne Smart Cities Network, enabling data to drive change

Funded

City of Whittlesea

Across 5 Councils: City of Whittlesea (Whittlesea), Moreland City Council (Moreland), Banyule City Council (Banyule), Mitchell Shire Council (Mitchell) and Nillumbik Shire Council (Nillumbik), Victoria

Project stage

In progress

Timeframe

Start date: 01 February 2019
End date: 30 June 2020

Project value

Australian Government funding:
$528,250
Total:
$1,420,635

Partners

  • Moreland City Council
  • Banyule City Council
  • Mitchell Shire Council
  • Nillumbik Shire Council
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • La Trobe University

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Innovation and economic development
  • Facility and services management (buildings, energy, waste, utilities)
  • Public safety (crime and disaster prevention and management)
  • Education and public health
  • Natural environmental data and measurement (air quality, dust, noise, waterways)

Project type

  • Community engagement
  • Public safety
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Disaster management (fire, flood...)
  • Smart waste (management, recycling)
  • Smart amenity management (library, pool, BBQs, toilets...)

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Network infrastructure
  • Smartphone applications
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Environmental sensors
  • Online portal

Project summary

The Northern Melbourne Smart Cities Network, enabling data to drive change project will provide an IoT-based Smart Cities network to drive the first steps towards smart cities transformation for City of Whittlesea, Moreland City Council, Banyule City Council, Mitchell Shire Council and Nillumbik Shire Council.

The project will develop and implement a LoRaWAN network that will enable integration of 5 different types of sensors to collect data on a wide variety of aspects of everyday life in the cities and allow Councils to monitor and improve efficiency of services provided and support potential delivery of new services.

The challenge

The Northern Melbourne Councils being Moreland, Banyule, Mitchell, Nillumbik and Whittlesea generally manage the cities/shires through a combination of scheduled activities and reactive activities:

  • Scheduled activities include waste collection, mowing, asset renewal e.g. footpaths, roads etc., cleaning activities e.g. public toilets, BBQ’s etc.
  • Reactive activities include responding to potholes, litter, dumped cars, infringements, blocked drains, fallen trees, replacing damaged equipment etc.

Solution

This project seeks to change the old paradigm through the use of smart cities network, sensors and data.

A simple example is a networked bin sensor. A bin sensor will communicate to the network, allowing councils to collect waste on an ‘on demand’ basis instead of the current schedule basis. This will create multiple efficiencies as the council would only visit the bin when it is close to full, as compared to the current scheduled approach where most bins are close to empty when collected. This will reduce labour costs and truck movements which create congestion and emissions. Conversely, councils can empty bins days before it is scheduled if a sensor confirms that it is full and thereby avoid rubbish piling up or being blown around parks reducing public amenity and getting into waterways.

This project seeks to introduce five sensor types to the five councils to kick start the smart cities journey together as a region. 

The five sensor types deployed (People Counting, Air Quality and Environmental Factors Monitoring, Water Level Monitoring, Waste Management Collection and Asset Tracking) as part of this initial project are at the beginning, and will prove the concept to the participating councils and communities

The network developed as part of this project is the key driver towards the future smart cities transformation. The network will allow the five councils to explore different sensors inexpensively and play and share data to determine how access to data can best inform council process and service improvement. The shared network promotes collaboration and sharing resources, risks and opportunities. 

Benefits

Improve the functioning of Whittlesea, Moreland, Banyule, Mitchell and Nillumbik through the application of IoT-based smart cities network and sensors to environmental, economic, social challenges.
 
Increase innovation and capability in 5 Councils through collaboration and disruptive new technology.

The real time data produced will enable Councils to proactively and efficiently manage cities and shires, driving solutions that:

  • increase community engagement by providing real-time information on council performance and a platform for community feedback and comment;
  • involve the community in service design and delivery;
  • empower customers to make decisions through greater access to information;
  • improve access to council services; and
  • support real-time availability of council information and data.

LoRaWAN network implemented will not only enable Councils to expand the smart cities sensor network for future use but also allow community members to integrate their own network of sensors and enable the community to create sensors and generate new data elements to solve everyday problems. This project is scalable.

Lessons learned

  • Allow sufficient time in drafting, negotiating, finalising and signing the contributor organisation agreement for all Councils and universities
  • Ensure effective communications across Councils to increase awareness and interest in the project
  • Early engagement of Council business units to participate in this project by establishing user groups in each Council

Outcomes

Network design in progress

Contact details

Name: Hans Wolf
Phone: 0457 185 250
Email: Hans.Wolf@whittlesea.vic.gov.au