Newcastle Council uses sportsground for smart city trial

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Newcastle Council uses sportsground for smart city trial

Remotely tracks condition of the playing surface.

Newcastle City Council is starting to deploy IoT gateways and sensors as it moves ahead with a smart city strategy announced last year.

The council today said it had awarded a tender to the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo) to build a carrier-grade low-powered, wide area network (LoRaWAN) over the next six weeks.

LoRaWAN is designed to enable low-power devices like IoT sensors to send and receive data over a wireless network.

The first LoRaWAN gateway has been deployed at the No. 5 sportsground in Newcastle West, where council plans to run a series of internet of things (IoT) trials.

Initially, a soil monitoring sensor will be used to measure the field's moisture, potentially allowing council to save on water costs and maintenance.

The sensor will also allow sports organisations to remotely determine whether the field is fit for play hours in advance of competitions.

NNNCo founder Rob Zagarella said further gateways and sensors will be installed in the next four to six weeks.

The sportsground is also set to trial bin sensors to streamline emptying schedules and routes, smart lighting control, and parking sensors.

Once council is happy, these services will then be rolled out across the CBD, before being extended across the wider city.

Zagarella said sensor data would be freely available through web portals for council, community groups, businesses and education providers to analyse.

“Part of the service that we’re providing as part of the network infrastructure includes a data IoT platform, which will encode the data and provide that data to the various portals and applications will essentially drive the decision making for each of those use cases," he said.

“LoRaWAN’s capabilities are extremely well suited to smart city requirements and the technology is already used in cities across Europe and the US, where it’s proven to be reliable, secure and affordable at scale."

The data will be housed in an Australian data centre.

The NSW government is providing $4.98 million in funding towards council's broader smart city strategy.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said in a statement that the investment in IoT infrastructure “will provide a platform for community groups, education and research providers, industry, businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their own smart applications and ideas”.

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