Cities will become more desirable when IoT takes hold

Chantal Thomas
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Media Release, NZ IoT Alliance, NZTech News

Cities will become safer and more desirable to live in when the internet of things (IoT) takes hold a research study report says.

The IoT research was commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, an independent member funded group of tech firms, major corporates, startups, universities and government agencies.

Alliance chair and NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says by managing traffic flows to reduce congestion, deterring crime using intelligent lighting and cognitive CCTV, enhancing public transport and using adaptive city lighting both for aesthetics and safety, IoT can make a city a more desirable place to be.

Data collected from IoT sensors can assist council to create evidence based policy. In Wellington, a safe cities programme uses cognitive CCTV and overlays data from police, social welfare, district health board and organisations such as City Mission.

City based IoT initiatives, often called smart cities, are designed to save on the costs of running a city, making it more efficient and providing a better experience for the citizens who inhabit, visit or work there.

“The data is used operationally to help make the city safer and the Wellington council is also using it to inform its new policy on homelessness,” Muller says.

A city can also use IoT to start to understand the economic return on public events. Wellington city for example, is trialling stereoscopic cameras to count people at different choke points in the city. The system also uses wi-fi to understand the flow of pedestrians.

This is enabling the council to better understand attendance at its free public events, from which an economic return on those events can be calculated.

“Auckland Transport is utilising an IoT network to improve school safety by connecting school zone road signs to the network, a proof of concept solution developed by Massey University in conjunction with Auckland based industrial design company Motiv.

“Auckland Transport is delivering a project that will see 40,000 individually addressable street lights deployed. The lights will be managed by an IoT central management system.

“Connectivity is currently via the cellular network but Auckland Transport are moving from SIM to fixed connectivity for more assured capacity, speed and security reasons. They will retain SIM connectivity for hot standby. The driver for the project was the anticipated cost savings from a reduction in electricity consumption and reduced maintenance costs,” Muller says.

City infrastructure maintenance will benefit from IoT. Tracking the structural health and use of highways, roads, tunnels, bridges and buildings reduces costs by optimising maintenance frequency.

IoT can also reduce the time required to ascertain structural integrity of assets post-quake or other disaster event. For example, Wellington City Council are implementing a project to sense whether a building is safe to enter after a quake.

The report says smart on-street car parking reduces congestion in the city, improves usage and occupancy of car parks and improves revenue collection from parking fees.

It is estimated there is a potential $128 million net benefit to New Zealand, in present value terms, from the use of IoT in the management of city infrastructure over the next 10 years, and an extra $27 million net benefit from IoT use in managing on-street parking, in the three main cities alone.

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For further information contact New Zealand IoT Alliance chair Graeme Muller on 021 02520767 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188