smart communities
Melbourne was recently awarded a grant under IBM's Smarter Cities Programme toward the Melbourne's smart city efforts

In Australia, the City of Melbourne is seeking to use ICT to create smart communities that achieve its economic, social and sustainability goals.

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, recently presented its vision of an internet-connected smart city before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications, according to news source ZDNet.

The standing committee is one of nine groups established by the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia.

The city plans to use ICT for “asset management, integrated parking, design, mapping, modelling, and data-based public tools for way finding and community engagement.”

A Melbourne City representative, Austin Ley told the committee that the community works with “industry, the [Melbourne] university, and community centres to encourage experimentation and a generation of ideas and solutions to infrastructure management issues.”

Ley added that smart city priority areas include open data, development of IT-enabled urban spaces; high-bandwidth connectivity, using IT to improve performance and address both positive and negative disruptive impacts.

Current efforts toward smart communities

Melbourne has several smart city projects underway using the Internet of Things throughout urban areas, utilising technologies such as solar-powered sensors that collect real time data on temperature, light, and humidity.

The city currently also employs a pedestrian counting system which measures pedestrian activity. The system transmits data from 42 wireless pedestrian counting sensors across the Central Business District to a central server and a visualisation website, according to the news report.

"Complex urban challenges can now be addressed collaboratively via smart communities comprising hyper-connected, technologically agile, and often entrepreneurial innovators," a city representative said in a statement.

"These smart communities are the new agents of change and the generators of knowledge."

Melbourne was also awarded a grant under IBM’s Smarter Cities Programme in order to understand community engagement processes in case of catastrophic events.

The grant is intended to assist in anticipating and coordinating municipal responses before, during, and after, extreme events in order to minimise adverse impacts on health and safety, infrastructure and economy.

The US based technology giant said in a statement: "By deploying new enabling technologies, we can make our age-old existing infrastructure more efficient and reliable and potentially offset new investment in the longer term in our power grids, water networks and transport systems."