Lonely Planet Writer

Researchers consider Adelaide to be the ideal size to become Australia’s ‘smart city’

Adelaide could become an Australian pilot in the creation of an integrated ‘smart city’.

If Adelaide was to become the study for an integrated smart city, it would raise questions about information gathering and retention, according to civil libertarians
If Adelaide was to become the study for an integrated smart city, it would raise questions about information gathering and retention, according to civil libertarians Image by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

As researchers consider using it as a base for how future cities may assimilate information, civil libertarians have raised the threat to personal privacy in the event of such data streamlining. ABC News reports that the leader of South Australia’s smart city initiative believes that Adelaide is ideal for such a development given that it is a mid-sized urban area with top class infrastructure.

A professor of software engineering at Adelaide University, Ali Babar, said Adelaide appears to be a perfect fit to test how the integrated use of technology could improve citizens’ day-to-day living. He told ABC Adelaide that there is the political will, to go with the fact that the three local universities could provide a huge knowledge base.

Adelaide
Adelaide could become a test case for cities of the future Image by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

The ‘Smart City’ push has begun with the South Australian government, local authorities and Cisco, the tech firm, all rowing in behind the process. One particular area where integrated technology could improve the quality of life is for the older generation who want to live in their own homes for as long as possible. Professor Babar said the elderly would be able to interact with minimum support and, if an accident occurred, there could be help available quickly.

Civil Liberties representative Tim Vines accepted that there could be many advantages from boosting automation. However, embedding sensors and linking them up to databases also calls for an understanding of what type of information is being collected. He said the questions are – who stores it, how long will it be stored for and who will have access to it? Mr Vines added that if sensors are placed around a community, people will lose the anonymity which they currently enjoy.