Australia’s infrastructure sector is encouraged to adopt a “digital-by-default approach” to help accelerate Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery. It has a vision of intelligent infrastructure, which includes the use of data from the Internet of things.
Now, the focus should be on shaping the policies and capabilities needed to ensure this vision actually benefits citizens, says Adam Beck, consulting practice director at the Center for Urban Innovation and owner and host of the engagement platform of the Urbanism.Live industry. Beck was also Founding Executive Director of the Smart Cities Council of Australia, New Zealand.
We asked Beck about the key issues, ahead of his appearance leading a session on these challenges at the IoT Impact conference in Melbourne on June 9.
If there’s one thing Australia does really well, it’s building things,” says Beck. “We have always invested significantly in physical infrastructure in this nation. We just need to overload it with some digital and data to make sure it has a longer lifespan, that it’s responsive. And, in fact, it really helps accelerate the sustainability results that we’ve all committed to.”
This must happen before the infrastructure is built.
“Once we put the concrete and the river into the steel, once the survey pegs are in the ground, we are missing opportunities to make those projects strong and durable and fit into our rapidly evolving digital lifestyles. Beck says.
We asked Beck about the progress on this topic. “If I take the last five or six years, I think we’ve certainly made slow progress, uh, on all things digital data IOT and cities and communities. I think our focus has been more on point solutions or pilot projects, certainly dipping our toe in the water to get a sense of what that could mean.”
“And there’s a big gap between that. And digital by default. there is this inherent idea that everything is going to be digital. It’s going to climb It will be en masse and that will require some significant adjustments. If we’re going to be digital by default, we’re going to have to really institutionalize some fundamentals.”
He pointed to privacy and security as important areas of progress. Ethics and governance are the “next frontier” in his opinion.
“Have we institutionalized what that means in politics? Are we pursuing ethics and governance through contracts and deployment? I’m not so sure.
“’Digital by default’ only works with those settings: privacy, security, ethics and governance, [and] there is more.”
The digital capacity and digital and data literacy of practitioners and policymakers is also critical, Beck noted.
Beck sees these issues prior to technology deployment as “it feels like we’ve stumbled in the past: those mandatory configurations that somehow give us permission and refer us to then deploy at scale.”
“We certainly see some of the leaders, particularly in local government, starting to put the pieces together. Also in the state government as well. We are very inspired by the moves of the state government in this area.
“We are seeing that a good policy is being implemented, but that is the exception. It’s not the norm in this country to have a policy that implements all these mandatory configurations, that gives us the trust, the mandate, the political cover to go digital by default. And we have to do it sooner rather than later.”
Adam Beck will lead the “Smart Places, Ignition Sensors” session at the IoT Impact conference in Melbourne on June 9. IoT Impact is the only event that brings together Australian organizations across government, energy, water, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and other sectors. to share how they are harnessing the growing wealth of IoT data.
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