Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:19

Smarter cities a key to Australia’s innovation, economic future: Nokia

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Nokia says Australia’s political and industry leaders need a greater and more concerted focus on development of smarter cities as a key enabler of the country’s innovation agenda and for future economic opportunity.

Accordfing to Nokia, while there is an agenda for building smart cities, Australia faces key capability gaps in how it is positioning its cities to “win in the technologically disrupted future”.

Nokia cites its new report — "A new world of cities and the future of Australia" — which it says highlights the risks of Australia failing to develop a more sophisticated approach to smarter cities that contribute to the digital economy.

But, on a positive note, Nokia says that, drawing from leading global examples, its report identifies a clear opportunity for Australia to define and develop better policies and structures to leverage the benefits of emerging technologies.

{loadpopsition peter}Ray Owen, Nokia Oceania Market Unit head, says it is vital that Australia fully understands the huge technology-driven shift underway, “where networked data is now fundamental to the design and management of all kinds of infrastructure and services, raising new possibilities for users, for businesses and for the national economy”.

“The possibilities are substantial, but success will require significant and tangible policy focus. Several key metrics measured by the World Economic Forum highlight that Australia is falling behind today.”

According to Warren Lemmens, Nokia Oceania chief technology officer and author of the Nokia report on smart cities, “cool new software applications and services are really important to address specific problems and provide insight on digital value, but smarter cities are about a lot more than software development”.

“We’re talking about a fundamental change, with millions of devices, objects, people and businesses connected through all kinds of data. The difference is about how we organise and utilise that data to evolve the city environment, to support how a city meets the personal needs of people and importantly partners with businesses to deliver long-term economic benefit.

“Innovation has been raised high as a national priority. Smarter cities have continuous innovation at their core, building on automation and linking data assets to enhance the intrinsic value of a city. We need more than a start-up culture. Cities need a standard City Digital Platform and operations enabling data, management, security, analytics, and applications innovation. This will allow smarter cities and the entire innovation ecosystem to focus on solving real problems, creating new applications that deliver jobs and export opportunities on top of improvements to productivity and innovation.

“Right now we have various positive policy initiatives — including at the federal government level — and while leading city examples are emerging across Australia, there’s a concern that momentum will be slow because every city has to invent and invest in its own digital IoT platform.

“The opportunity is there for governments to identify a tangible framework for smarter cities implementation, focused around a standard City Digital Platform to quickly build momentum for Australia’s digital future and a rising place in the global economic picture. Smarter cities are critical for our future economy and high standard of living. Australia needs to raise its understanding and act to capture this opportunity.”

Nokia has outlined its own six-point framework for Australia to “better develop its smarter cities capacity":

•    Eliminate the current technology "stovepipes" that separate the device, data and application environment;

•     Establish a standard City Digital Platform that empowers cities to define, resource and implement the required infrastructure and systems;

•    Unleash a national movement around digital innovation, building on current momentum with a focus on connected data;

•    Establish a new collaborative dynamic between business, government, academia and start-ups around smarter cities;

•    Lead the world with a city personalisation measure that serves to attract and retain the best talent; and

•    Facilitate public-private partnerships for city innovation.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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