Sunshine Coast continues to be one of the smartest in the world
  • Wednesday 23 October 2019
ImageThe Sunshine Coast has again been named in the top 21 smartest communities in the world for 2020.

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today announced its annual Smart21 Awards at its Global Cities Digital Revolution Conference in Rochester, USA.

This is the sixth time the Sunshine Coast has been recognised by the ICF in its Smart21 Awards as a global leader.

The Sunshine Coast now has the opportunity to enter the running to again be recognised as one of the Top7 intelligent communities in the world, after being the only location in the southern hemisphere to achieve this recognition earlier this year.

The Smart21 are selected from hundreds of submissions annually from around the globe, demonstrating delivery of initiatives aligned to the six intelligent communities’ indicators – broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was pleasing to be listed in the Smart21 communities again for 2020 and is recognition of the pathway that the Sunshine Coast is following in supporting its community to embrace the opportunities associated with the digital age.

“Being part of the Smart21 demonstrates we are delivering world-class initiatives across the six intelligent communities indicators to support our community well into the future,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Our Smart WiFi is the first whole-of-region smart city solution system and it is now available across more than 45 locations.

“We are also the first local government in Australia to secure an International Broadband Submarine Cable, which will come into service next year and provide the fastest data and telecommunications transmissions from the eastern seaboard of Australia to Asia.

“Our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem has expanded 65% since 2016, reflecting the dynamic network of education programs, business incubators, co-working spaces, advocacy events and meet-ups which make the Sunshine Coast an ideal location for start-ups, entrepreneurial talent, news ideas and creativity.

“I am also especially proud of the outstanding local talent that is developing in our schools, as we have showcased through our annual Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, alongside many other innovation initiatives across the region.

“We have also been recognised for the work we have been doing with the community to further our sustainability objectives, with projects such as our Australian-first Blue Heart initiative covering approximately 5000 hectares in the Maroochy River catchment and Council’s solar farm, which has enabled our Council to be the first government in Australia to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.”

Council has also supported a wide range of community groups in their innovation and technology projects.

RoboCoast co-founder Simon Richardson said council has committed to ongoing support for education of robotics, engineering and coding and the RoboCoast team looked forward to reinforcing the region’s status as the world’s top location to be healthy, smart and creative.

“In 2019, RoboCoast has been enabled to provide leading robotics, coding and graphics workshops for over 1500 students and 250 staff from 45 schools as a result of generous funding from the Sunshine Coast Council,” Mr Richardson said.

“The increased capacity building in robotics and engineering education on the Coast has also helped forge world-class robotics teams such as Chancellor State College’s RoboRoyals, who received support from Council to travel to Houston, Texas to represent Australia at the World Championships, placing second in one of the most prestigious categories on a world stage.

“Due to the region’s sustained level of robotics excellence on the world stage, RoboCoast has been able to secure a five-year commitment to hold the RoboRave Australian International Open Robotics competition based out of the USC, with the option to host the World Championships in 2024.”

Sunshine Coast – Previous ICF awards:
• 2019 – Top7 and Smart21
• 2018 – Smart21
• 2017 – Smart21
• 2015 – Smart21
• 2014 – Smart21

The Smart21 announcement is the first stage in ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle. Based on Intelligent Community Index questionnaires submitted by communities large and small from around the world, ICF selects 21 finalists with the potential to become one of the Forum's Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. Gaining a place among the year's Smart21 is considered a badge of honour as well as the first step greater recognition as an Intelligent Community positioned to prosper in the broadband economy.

Smart vs Intelligent Cities
The ICF says Smart Cities are about saving money, becoming more efficient and delivering better service to the taxpayer. But Intelligent Communities are a step further, they seek to make better cities: places large and small, urban and rural, where citizens and employers thrive and prosper in the broadband economy. Intelligent Communities adopt technology but do not make it their focus. They find vision-driven, community-based, technology smart solutions to their most urgent problems. They make sure they have the broadband and IT infrastructure they need to be competitive. But they know it is only a means to an end. More of their energy goes into developing a workforce able to do knowledge work. More effort goes into crafting an innovation ecosystem where business, government and institutional partners create high-quality employment and meet social needs. More emphasis is placed on expanding access to digital skills and technology for those otherwise left out. More work goes into engaging citizens as advocates for progress.