Smart cities project in Greater Melbourne off to flying start

A $1.4 million project to help five local councils across Greater Melbourne take their first steps to becoming “smart cities” was completed on 30 June.

The Northern Melbourne Smart Cities Network project involved developing and implementing a LoRaWAN network to enable improved municipal service delivery and pave the way for new services in future.

Five types of sensors were deployed across the Moreland, Banyule, Mitchell, Nillumbik and Whittlesea local government areas: People Counting, Air Quality and Environmental Factors Monitoring, Water Level Monitoring, Waste Management Collection, and Asset Tracking 

The sensors are linked to the LoRaWAN network, which shares the data across the five councils.

The LoRaWAN network is also shared with the community, so businesses, organisations and individuals can add their own sensors and retrieve their data securely and independently from the councils.

Within a few months of the network going live, the data from the councils’ 300 sensors now only makes up less than the third of all the sensor traffic on the network, indicating strong community demand for these types of networks and data.

As well as informing better municipal service delivery, the shared network promotes collaboration and the sharing of resources, risks and opportunities.

According to projects partners La Trobe University and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, three lessons emerged which should help similar projects in future:

• Allow sufficient time in drafting, negotiating, finalising, and signing the contributor organisation agreement for all councils and universities;
• Ensure effective communications across councils to increase awareness and interest in the project; and
• Establish user groups in each council to promote engagement of council business units.

This project was funded and supported by the Commonwealth’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. To learn more, watch these videos.