What next for ASCA?

Blog by Michael Whereat, ASCA President

Nine months in the planning, three days from beginning to end and 375 happy participants: Telstra Australian Smart Communities Conference 2017 is a wrap and a huge success based on the feedback from all. 

From the ASCA board and team who pulled it all together a final thanks to our host city and state - Adelaide and South Australia. Also many thanks to our naming rights sponsor Telstra and the long list of others who helped to make the event a great success.

So as we finish up from this year we have to ask: What next for ASCA? How do we step up our program of activities to achieve our vision to create a network of smart communities? Should we set our aspirational target higher and bolder? Indeed in one session, it was proposed that Australia is well positioned to become recognised as an international leader in smart cities and communities. What would we need to do to achieve that goal?

 If we could address some of the challenges raised at the conference, I believe we would be well on the way:

  • There are too many products and solutions for any one community to filter and shortlist for evaluations. In fact, what's needed is a system-based approach not the purchase of individual parts. Our communities need to know how to purchase systems that will integrate and work. Perhaps ASCA could help by harnessing the capabilities of the larger proactive councils and deliver informed advice and support for others?

  • For Australian communities looking to become smarter, there are may different pain points and areas for improvement so, despite differences in size, location ,age and population there are many opportunities for common solutions.

  • There are a myriad of considerations to be addressed:

    • the standardisation or level/maturity of integration-ready components, services or platforms 

    • the lack of systems based approach and integration of silos to achieve real-time rules-based outcomes

    • best practice connectivity options across industry

    • the need for APIs (how devices talk across products and systems)

    • vastly increase open data (static and real time) to drive app development and increase user access from Australia wide data sets

  • We need our business and industry partners to assist with this to help them move from the many pilot schemes to deployment at scale

  • We need our research and development partners - Data61 and the eight universities that work with us now - to assist in the acceleration of uptake and to identify ways to support  the transition phase

  • Most local governments are too small to work through all of this. Can larger local governments help trickle down to smaller local governments to actively develop and implement smart city programs? 

  • Can ASCA help identify funding options or understanding of how smart city initiatives can self-fund

The conference has placed ASCA and its ecosystem of member partners in a strong position and now is the right time to pivot to take advantage of the newfound reputation and confidence in our ability to deliver truly national objectives.

If you have any suggestions about how we might step forward and harness our unique ecosystem of partners, please contact me directly. 

We will be talking with our network to build a program designed to benefit all communities across Australia.

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