Populations in Australia and Asia are urbanising fast, creating challenges for businesses, public sector organisations and their employees.
This trend is putting pressure on housing and infrastructure and increasing the cost of living. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has highlighted potential health risks of population density and climate change poses risks to power and infrastructure.
This all has implications for application developers, according to Oracle. It points to various digital initiatives with implications for urban life, safety and security – from digital twin planning to the establishment of cyber security hubs and online services such as iVote.
To help address these issues, it has sponsored the Hackmakers #SmartCities hackathon taking place from June 4 to 9. The event aims to find new ways to connect, get better insights to foster a better environment and develop smarter and safer cities in Australia and the rest of the Asia Pacific region.
Oracle is looking to encourage developers to find solutions in these three challenge areas:
- Smart Administration – as citizens expect higher quality services and greater responsiveness to their needs, applications will need to provide smarter governance and intelligence mobility. The smart administration category is there to help cities manage public administration issues.
- Safe Cities – cities need a deeper understanding for and respect of security, and smart cities can deliver safe cities by taking a proactive and integrated approach to security. This category is for developers that want to help address public security issues in rapidly growing populations.
- Smart Transportation – transportation and logistics is more critical to the health of a modern, transformed, and smart city than ever. This category is designed to help find solutions that can help smart cities manage both public and private sector mobility more effectively.
Speakers from the private and public sector are presenting at the event’s opening and closing ceremonies. They will highlight examples of leading smart city projects and explore the challenges and opportunities. These speakers include:
- Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service
- Yudhistira Nugraha, Director of Jakarta Smart City
- Ian Oppermann, Chief Data Scientist, NSW Government
- Horng Shya, Managing Director, Oracle Singapore
- Dr Supakorn Siddhichai, Executive Vice President, Digital Economy Promotion Agency, Thailand
- Saed Tasbihsazan, CTO, Strategic Accounts, Telstra
The event challenges teams to use Oracle Cloud services as the foundation for their work. Teams also have access to application development and process support. For many development teams, this will be an additional opportunity to gain deep insight into the functionality of the Oracle Cloud.
Security, agile methodology and the creation of achievable steps that lay the groundwork for further innovation, will also be focuses of the hackathon.
Learning from small scale projects
Much has been said about Singapore’s smart city work. Facing some of the highest population density in the world and a rapidly aging population, it launched its Smart Nation vision in an effort to “transform Singapore through technology.”
Singapore’s strategy brings together the private and public sector to use data, mobile technology, edge, digital platforms and IoT technology in a systematic way to improve life for Singaporeans.
Implementations include whole-of-government application analytics that monitor all digital interactions with all government bodies to ensure consistency when citizens engage with their government. They also include a cloud-based smart mobility platform that enables data-driven smart buses. Singapore is also on its way to a truly cashless society.
Cities in Australia and other Asia Pacific locations are enthusiastic about smart city concepts, but are generally much earlier in their development of smart cities. Their projects are much smaller in scale and typically focused on delivering immediate returns.
For example, Broken Hill is rolling out smart lighting and security in its festival and event parks, in an effort to increase the perception of safety, reduce crime rates, and better monitor conditions during events and periods of low activity to identify potential risks. This, and other examples of Australian smart city projects, are useful examples of the type of smart city projects getting traction here.
Our region can also learn from other small scale smart city projects, such as in Furano City in Japan, one of the snowiest places on earth. It has been undertaking an experimental project using real-time data from GPS devices fitted to snow ploughs. It is using this to map out their operating patterns in order to optimise travel routes and find ways to improve work efficiency by reducing work hours and costs.
And both the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) are deploying a fleet of drones equipped with AI-guided cameras, and then using Kinetica’s streaming data warehouse and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) High Performance Computing (HPC) to identify and collect waste in public waterways.
With global smart cities spending expected to reach $189.5 billion by 2023, there is an opportunity for application developers to contribute meaningfully to the liveability of cities, improve the productivity and efficiency of cities, and reduce their carbon footprint.
Infrastructure and approach
Of course, smart cities rely on government bodies and private organisations having access to computing infrastructure and data. Oracle points out the need for data lakes and cloud infrastructure.
It also points to a need for smart city solutions tailored to each cities unique challenges. Smart city applications should be designed with a city’s unique characteristics in mind, the company states.
Oracle also encourages creative development processes for smart cities applications – and the Hackathon will give developers an opportunity to demonstrate them.
Find more information or sign up to participate in the Hackmakers #SmartCities hackathon here.