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17/05/2017
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A SMART digital revolution for Wollongong

From flood mapping to improving wheelchair accessibility, a free-to-air digital network will transform Wollongong into a living laboratory through the launch of an Internet of Things (IoT) network

Launched today (17 May) and led by The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) SMART Infrastructure Facility, it will enable Wollongong to become a ‘smart city', home to the free-to-air network designed to address key social and environmental challenges within the region.

It will connect individuals, community groups and businesses, helping them develop technology-based, research-oriented projects to improve the liveability of the city and the lifestyle of the people within it.

Case-study project using the IoT network could include:

  • Flood mapping
  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • Air quality
  • Traffic control
  • Parking availability
  • Energy usage and efficiency in the home and office
  • Waste reduction
  • Street lighting
  • Aged care enablers and health studies 
  • Crop and livestock monitoring for farmers

IoT is the ability to link small digital devices in a cost-effective way, enabling the collection of data that can be used to develop real-time applications.

Using LoRaWAN technology on a non-commercial frequency, groups can map research data pivotal to specific projects, allowing for game-changing developments in social, environmental and economic fields.

In a city as diverse and vibrant as Wollongong, it could be used to map the availability of wheelchair access to pivotal venues; monitor water flow in primary lagoons, rivers or stormwater systems; test air quality or develop improved transport options.

SMART Infrastructure Facility Director Professor Pascal Perez said the development of Wollongong as a digital living lab would place the city on the cutting-edge of a global revolution, allowing it to become Australia’s most dynamic and forward-thinking hub.

“With the University of Wollongong backing this project so generously we have a unique opportunity to make this city a leader in the digital world.

"In doing so we can improve the living standards of each and every person in the community,” he said.

“Through the IoT and its potential applications across such a broad stream of projects and groups, we will have the ability to attract the brightest students, entrepreneurs and associations from around the globe.

“We may be looking to the future but there’s no science fiction involved. The application of IoT technology is a reality and it starts in Wollongong today.”

SMART Infrastructure Facility Chief Operating Officer Tania Brown said today’s launch marks the start of the rollout of the IoT network in Wollongong.

“We expect to have the network fully operational within the next two months with the first companies using the technology by around August,” she said.

“While the potential for commercial companies is obvious, we also anticipate strong interest from community groups, individuals and students.

"The benefit is, that this is a an open platform so any interested party can join in the fun.

“The Internet of Things network is designed for community use. It’s all about people working together to create a region that reflect the needs and desires of the people at its heart. The possibilities are endless.”

SMART is partnering with Meshed and The Things Network to deploy the system.

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