The City of Lake Macquarie will break new ground to become the first Australian local government area to create a Smart City network equivalent to the size of 23 Sydney local government areas.
The Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, officially launched the roll-out of the carrier-grade Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) for the Internet of Things (IoT) earlier this week.
Peter Francis, CEO of Dantia, the economic development company of Lake Macquarie, said the major infrastructure commitment is a game-changer for the region.
“This network is being installed to support citywide initiatives that will enable business and enterprise to drive their own IoT projects and enterprises,” Peter said.
“The scale of the Lake Macquarie City infrastructure is unprecedented. It will make Lake Macquarie the first Australian city to provide 100 per cent commercial-grade IoT network coverage to all populated areas across the LGA, some 650 square kilometres.
“The investment in this infrastructure will create significant opportunities across Lake Macquarie City for start-ups, small and large businesses and open pathways for Lake Macquarie Council to build new technology and innovate.”
Start-ups will have free access to connect to the network and businesses and corporates can receive a 15 per cent discount if they establish operations in Lake Macquarie City.
Partnerships have already been established with major corporations including the University of Technology Sydney, Slingshot, Ampcontrol, ResTech and Hunter Water as well as start-ups like Marine Connect, Liftango and BinShare, all of which are ready to utilise the Lake Macquarie network.
The IoT network is commercially funded for a 20-year contract period, delivered via a partnership between Dantia, Lake Macquarie City Council and leading IoT provider The National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo).
“With this sustainable, long-term approach to infrastructure delivery and the significant incentives for start-ups and businesses, we see Lake Macquarie becoming a major digital and innovation hub that will attract new organisations and jobs to the area,” Peter said.
Paul said IoT presents opportunities to improve productivity, liveability and service delivery, with benefits across many sectors including manufacturing, farming, retail, transport and health.
“IoT is estimated to have the potential to add up to $120 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2025 and Lake Macquarie is now positioned to be at the forefront of IoT network and infrastructure delivery,” Paul said.
“This is an innovative example of what can be achieved when local governments and commercial partners work together, aligned with strong, future-city building policy.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to making our suburbs and towns better places to live through initiatives such as the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, and it’s great to see organisations come together as they have in this case to achieve these outcomes.”
NNNCo has been chosen to install and operate the network based on its proven ability to deploy low-cost, low-power, carrier-grade connectivity and end-to-end IoT solutions such as water metering and street lighting.
“One of the challenges with IoT is the complexity of receiving data from lots of different devices and applications and transforming that data into knowledge that supports decision making,” Peter said.
“Working in partnership with NNNCo, we have the means to overcome these challenges and scale to multiple applications that will make Lake Macquarie a truly Smart City.”
NNNCo Founder and CEO, Rob Zagarella said the Lake Macquarie network would be a showcase for what cities around Australia could achieve with IoT.
“We are working with Dantia and Lake Macquarie City in a true partnership model whereby we’ll be able to support businesses in the area to get their projects up and running quickly and effectively, while also enabling the city to scale important services like smart waste management,” Rob said.
“Smart Cities start with a carrier-grade network but equally important is the device and data platform that seamlessly converts data from many different types of devices into a common format and structure. That’s when you start creating real knowledge and outcomes that can improve the quality of life for citizens.”
The Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Kay Fraser, said the rollout of the network reinforced the city’s commitment to creating a strong digital economy and supporting innovation.
IMAGE | Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities and Rick Swancott Founder of start-up company Marie Connect, an early adopter of the Lake Macquarie IoT Network.