New York, Moscow, Sunshine Coast….
  • Thursday 27 October 2016

For the third time in four years, the Sunshine Coast has been named as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities recognised for applying digital technology to deliver economic opportunities that lead to jobs, investment and social development.

The Sunshine Coast was one of four Australian cities to make the list that was chosen by a panel of seven judges from the New York-based Intelligent Communities Forum.

The select group of communities, which emerged from a group of nearly 400 around the world, also included seven communities from Canada, five from Taiwan and one each from the USA, the UK, Russia and New Zealand.

Communities outlined their challenges, opportunities and results based on the five Intelligent Community Indicators - broadband connectivity, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, marketing and advocacy - and success factors (collaboration, leadership and sustainability).

Mayor Mark Jamieson said being named in the Smart21 Communities of 2017 was recognition of the Sunshine Coast’s commitment to embracing digital technology and becoming a smart region.

“Being recognised as a Smart 21 community is good for our economy and ultimately good for business,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“It raises interest in our region and our ‘game-changer projects’; it is a point of differentiation against other localities across Australia and the world; and it brings attention of similar minded communities and will likely raise the interest of potential investors.

“We’re in the midst of a very exciting time in the history of the Sunshine Coast and to be once again included in the world’s Smart21 Communities really reflects the exciting direction in which our region is heading.

“Our Smart City Framework along with our other game changer projects are helping to position the Sunshine Coast as one of the leading locations within Australia.

“In a short time, the Sunshine Coast has already developed a strong reputation for digital innovation through these Smart Communities and Google awards.

“We’ve looked closely at what other leading global cities have been doing and then developed a custom designed framework that will provide our residents, visitors and businesses truly outstanding experiences and opportunities into the future.

“In the coming years, as we implement our Smart City Framework, our region will continue to be recognised as a digital leader in Australia and competitive with many other cities and regions globally.

“We will have created a smart city and a smart region and one that is focused on being Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green diverse.”

Executive Director Telstra Home and Premium Services John Chambers said Telstra has been working closely with council to develop their Smart City Framework since early 2015, with many more exciting initiatives in the pipeline.

"We congratulate the Sunshine Coast on being recognised as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities yet again, and are excited to have played an integral role in helping to deliver this framework,” Mr Chambers said.

“We are currently rolling out more Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the community, allowing council, local businesses and residents to benefit from the service in the future.

“We’re also assisting in delivering innovative technologies as part of the Living Lab initiative including smart water quality monitoring and community management platforms.

“In the coming months, we will also start working to deliver intelligent monitoring for public safety, such as CCTV and video analytics.”

Locally-led initiatives and successes that have placed the Sunshine Coast at the forefront of the digital economy include:

  • Digital Sunshine Coast connecting people in digital innovation and advancing broadband capacity and capability.
  • Speed it Up community engagement to promote and accelerate investment in digital infrastructure.  
  • Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance
  • Australian Smart Communities Association – Founding member and sponsor of the inaugural Australian Smart Communities Summit. 
  • Smart City Framework developed with Cisco and Telstra.  
  • The Smart City Living Lab and Smart Centre (public shop front) to test Smart City technologies to enhance community education and stimulate ideas on adaptation. Free Wi-Fi has also been provided in 82 public areas to help understand movements and usage.
  • Tech Train - identifying community projects which connect young people with technology and determining support was needed from Council to ensure their success.

 The Smart21 will be narrowed to the Top7 communities in February 2017, with the Intelligent Community of the Year to be announced next June.

Fast Facts:

Other key projects that relate to Smart 21 criteria:

  • Promoting Digital Champions, feeding into a Queensland government program  
  • Supporting the Innovation Centre and pitch competition 
  • Spark Bureau, helping businesses prepare to pitch for investment with the help of visiting entrepreneurs.
  • Big Day In Careers expo in ICT and The Job Show
  • Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards - annual program for youth in grades 10-12 to showcase innovative ideas, learn new skills and win prizes
  • Generation Innovation - annual challenge for 15-25 year olds Startup Weekend Youth Sunshine Coast - annual event for school children.
  • CoderDojo Sunshine Coast – free coding club for school children.
  • Y Shop program – Library run workshops and test trading space linked to a scholarship from the world famous Eumundi Markets. Foot In the Door: Work experience and interns programs
  • Hackfest and GovHack - annual events which explore the opportunities for new products and services based on open data sets.
  • Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast
  • Developing an industry positioning statement which is being used to leverage investment and link business to export opportunities. Connecting local businesses and start-ups to export development programs, undertaking international trade missions and pursuing specific international City partnerships.  
  • Future careers+ 2025 identifies career opportunities in the year 2025, aligned to global trends and the Sunshine Coast growth projects and connects local students to those career pathways.