BATHURST’S move towards being a Smart City is just as much about the people as it is technology, SMART Infrastructure Facility’s Senior Professor Pascal Perez says.
He was invited to the city by Bathurst Regional Council to talk to business leaders about innovation and how the use technology created efficiencies, improved sustainability and created economic development, and all the while the importance of keeping the community involved during these changes.
Council recently joined the Australian Smart Communities Association and is well on its way to being a Smart City.
Free Wi-Fi, CCTV, smart street lighting, electric vehicle charging stations, smart parking, Gunthers Lane and Upstairs (a start-up incubator) are either underway or in council’s plans for the future.
Senior Professor Perez spoke to more than 70 Bathurst business leaders from a range of industries about how being a Smart City was about technology and people.
“We need critical mass to do things together and I think that’s going to be the key to innovation,” he said.
“If you talk about when transformations are coming, you need to involved the public.
We need critical mass to do things together and I think that’s going to be the key to innovation.SMART Infrastructure Facility’s Senior Professor Pascal Perez
Council economic development manger Steve Bowman also addressed the business leaders and said that Bathurst was the fourth fastest growing regional inland city.
Last year the city’s population grew by 1.5 per cent, the equivalent of 800 new residents, and Bathurst’s businesses were vital to drive progress and innovation.
“We have a business community which sees the opportunities and gives it a crack,” he said.
Reliance Bank’s Mark Haley was among the business leaders and he said having a greater understanding of technology and Bathurst’s move to being a Smart City was vital.
“In the next 10 years you’re going to see heaps of change,” he said. “From a Reliance point-of-view we’re already looking at robotics to do some of the mundane tasks we do at Reliance.”
Mr Haley said working as a group and keeping the public informed of why changes were happening was vital.
“If you want to change something you got to focus on the group,” he said.