Sunshine Coast named one of the world’s Smart21 communities
  • Tuesday 31 October 2017

The Sunshine Coast has again been named a Smart21 community for 2018 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), during the 4th Annual Next Gen Tech Conference in New York City at the weekend (October 28).

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the announcement was a wonderful achievement that identified our region as one of the top 21 communities in the world.

“The announcement means more than just being a semi-finalist for an international award,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The Smart21 represent the best models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age as judged by ICF and a team of independent analysts.

“It’s an excellent outcome that continues to support our region and our economy as being healthy, smart and creative.

“It also demonstrates the value of some of the key programs that support digital innovation including Smart City, the advancing regional innovation program #SCRIPT which was recently launched, the work to build and support our digital innovation ecosystem and programs such as Level Up that upskill local small and medium businesses in digital technologies.

“These programs are a great example of the collaborations and partnerships occurring within our region as well as the involvement of organisations such as Silicon Coast which develops, supports and guides a vibrant ecosystem to maximise creativity, collaboration, sharing and innovation.

“It’s this combination that has led us to being named as a Smart21 community.”

Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre CEO Mark Paddenburg said it was a great outcome for the Sunshine Coast which supported the existing collaborations within the industry.

“Being shortlisted again as a Smart21 community helps to reinforce the Sunshine Coast’s strong reputation as a dynamic hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Mr Paddenburg said.

Mayor Jamieson said the region’s game-changer projects clearly demonstrated the benefits of using smart technologies.

“The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm which was recently opened will offset 100% of council’s electricity consumption from clean energy and the new Maroochydore CBD will use Australia’s first high-tech, automated waste collection system to deliver smart solutions and cost savings for our community.

“We’re also striving for an international broadband submarine cable to land on the region’s coastline which will deliver high speed broadband and telecommunications and power us ahead as a smart city region while connecting the Sunshine Coast to Asia and potentially the United States.”

This is the fourth time the region has been named a Smart21 community after being selected from a group of nearly 400 other communities throughout the world.

The Sunshine Coast Smart City program, which started in 2016, has delivered smart technologies and infrastructure to the region in a bid to make it easier to live, work and do business in the region.

Some of the Smart City projects that have already been delivered include:

  • The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm which allowed council to become Australia’s first local government to offset 100% of its electricity consumption from clean energy
  • The installation of free public WiFi across the region
  • The opening of the Smart Centre and Living Lab at Caloundra which trials new technologies such as waste bin sensors, parking space availability sensors, digital water flow meters and dimmable LED lights for evaluation before installation in other areas.
  • Innovative LED lighting, waste and parking sensors and smart street lighting installed during the Bulcock Street screetscape project in Caloundra
  • Hosting community events such as HackFest to create publicly available apps using open data
  • And the Level Up program which helped local small and medium businesses to fully utilise digital tools, innovation principles and business solutions to improve productivity and profitability.

Along with these projects, the recently launched $1 million #SCRIPT (Sunshine Coast Region Innovation Pipeline Team) promotes the Smart21 principles to drive economic outcomes that will support the existing innovation ecosystem in the region to achieve economic outcomes such as growing exports, creating new jobs and attracting talent and business expansion to the region.

The Smart21 Communities of 2018 include cities and countries from Canada, the United States, Taiwan, Australia, Finland and France. Watch the announcement video.