Mark Elliott & Colin Fairweather (CIO, City of Melbourne) have joined others to write a summary of some of the trends they are seeing in Smart City activity in respect to their countries. This comes off the back of the Smart Cities Conference, which Mark attended in November 2015. Below is the English transcript of the Smart Cities magazine article Australian component submitted by Mark Elliott and Colin Fairweather (CIO, City of Melbourne) –

1. 2016 will be a year of consolidation as city leaders develop strategies and review internal operating models to prepare for targeted investments. Investments in IoT, ubiquitous data networks, and mobility will continue with a strong focus on integrated systems, especially in areas like parking and traffic management (integrated signs, meters, traffic optimisation). This will be a prerequisite to support driverless cars.

2. Data and analytics​ will be critical for city leaders to gain insight into their operations, and this will require investment in capabilities to access and use data in real-time. 2016 will see a greater focus on machine learning especially in areas like parking and physical infrastructure management where the algorithms can increase efficiency. City leaders will need to address community concern about new technologies and work hard to ensure savings that result are passed back to the customer through reduced taxation or improved services.

3. Smart people will therefore be needed, either through direct hires or as partners. In particular, city administrations will recognise the advantage of working with their communities through collaborative and sharing networks to promote start-ups through policy, or more directly as a key customer. This will necessitate increasingly sophisticated approaches to community engagement and co-creation.

4. New procurement strategies​ will be required to support all of the above, representing a key challenge for city administrators. Procurement currently doesn’t support the partnership arrangements required for collaborative operating models that will be required. The focus will be on ‘just enough’ governance to support new operating models while enabling cities to participate in sharing IP and risk. This will involve increasing tensions to work with partners that are either 1) new businesses that by nature are agile and responsive; 2) larger and established vendors who will aim to broker new deals from fear of losing customers. These decisions will have long term ramifications and will need to be made wisely.

Colin Fairweather – bio

As the CIO for the City of Melbourne, Colin is responsible for the delivery of technology and information services and is a member of the organisation’s leadership team. Colin has many years’ experience in local government and has a highly developed domain knowledge with particular expertise in people leadership and organisational dynamics. He has a deep interest in cities and using ICT to address urban challenges and to support business transformation. Colin is currently leading a major refresh of the technology strategy to support digital transformation.


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