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Australian city set to deploy Internet of Things sensors in bid to get ‘smart’

Newcastle City Council formally announced its ambitious plans following months of protracted planning and negotiations. In a statement the council disclosed that a carrier-grade long range wide area network (LoRaWAN) will be installed over the next six weeks to provide low cost, low-power connectivity that will support millions of wireless Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data collecting devices.

According to the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), which was chosen to install Newcastle's network, it will be the first large-scale LoRaWAN in Australia. The first of seven sensor gateways has been installed at the city's National Park.

The council said the network will enable a wide range of smart city applications to improve the lives of its residents which include:

  • Helping motorists find parking spaces.
  • Integrated transport services.
  • Enabling council to better manage park and recreation facilities.
  • Signaling when to collect waste.
  • Providing businesses valuable insights.

The city's Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes expressed his delight at the agreement that will see the gateways installed and declared that it would allow businesses and community groups over a wide area of Newcastle to connect for free and collect valuable data.

The Mayor said, "By investing in this infrastructure, we will provide a platform for community groups, education and research providers, industry, businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their own smart applications and ideas. From collecting information on foot traffic to the state of council-owned sporting ground and enabling community and environmental groups to create their own coal dust sensors, this is a big technological breakthrough for the city. The seven gateways will enable connectivity that would have otherwise been far too costly."

Smart city coordinator at Newcastle City Council, Nathaniel Bavinton said, "A smart city needs a carrier-grade network that, as well as supporting community groups, is designed from the beginning for business-case driven IoT solutions that add value to the city and create a sustainable business model. NNNCo has proven its ability to deliver through successful LoRaWAN deployments in Australia and we look forward to a close partnership with it."