Australia’s cities are some of the most liveable in the world. A raft of new technologies—including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and analytics—gives us a vision for productive, liveable cities and towns that encourage innovation, support growth, and create jobs.
“The concept of smart cities represents solutions to the age-old challenge of how to continually improve service and get the most out of public assets while controlling expenses.” – Keith Rajecki, Oracle’s Global Vice President, Infrastructure, Government, Education, and Health.
From governments, people and street lighting to transport, water and solar power, every process and object can potentially be connected, captured and analysed. Using these insights, smart governments will have unprecedented ability to make intelligent, informed decisions that improve people’s lives.
Job creation is a key goal for governments. Businesses are incentivised to locate in areas with access to large numbers of employers and customers. Likewise, people want to settle where they can access employment opportunities, goods and services.
Smart-city projects are job creators. They will require new IT professionals, while fuelling growth and innovation in infrastructure, education, tourism, and more. Meanwhile, new digital technologies help enhance productivity, efficiency, accountability and security.
Macquarie Park, NSW is a great example of how smart city initiatives can drive urban renewal and private investment. Zoning and planning changes, alongside investment in rail, have helped transform the formerly semi-rural area into a hub for technology, communications and biomedical research. Helped by its proximity to the Sydney CBD, Macquarie University and public transport, it is an important employment hotspot that generates billions in economic output every year.
A continuing influx of residents, tourists, and businesses brings revenue to urban centres. For that reason, it is imperative that Australia continues to promote itself as a desirable place to live, work, and play. That means adopting business-friendly environments and addressing the challenges of a growing population.
By embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and IoT, policy-makers can enhance our quality of life—streamlining service delivery, fostering private investment, and enhancing local infrastructure.
One in four Australian jobseekers is open to job opportunities abroad—creating a growing war for talent in the public sector. Furthermore, almost a third of Australian federal public servants were aged 50 or over in 2016.
This aging workforce often lacks the digital skills needed to modernise public services. As people retire, the public sector must work quickly to find talented replacements, and reskill existing staff. New digital technologies and knowledge-management capabilities provide an opportunity to quickly and cost-effectively reskill the workforce, and attract younger workers.
As we move beyond the mining investment boom, our future success depends greatly on being more innovative than offshore competitors.
A highly educated workforce and leading research institutions will position Australians as leaders in high-tech, knowledge based industries. Like a thriving private sector and a healthy job market, a strong standard of education helps make our cities and towns desirable places to live.
But our governments must ensure that the same strong standard of education is applied consistently across states and regions. This means adopting the latest technology-driven teaching methods, along with supporting a global pool of candidates and students.