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Council to save money with high-tech project

Friday, 14th December, 2018

By Callum Marshall

A smart technology project involving solar panels and wind turbines will take several public assets “off the grid” and save City Council money.

The project comprising solar-lighting, CCTV and an IOT (Internet of Things) platform will be rolled out soon.

CCTV will be used to monitor Council assets such as play equipment to deter vandals, while the smart lighting will comprise lamps powered by solar panels and small wind turbines.

Discussed as a confidential matter during Wednesday night’s Council meeting, it was revealed that the company OneWifi & Infrastructure would be awarded the $541,000 tender for the project. 

General Manager of the City Council James Roncon said it was “incredibly exciting” and was part of Council’s long-term smart technology plans for the city.

“About eighteen months ago Council adopted a Smart Communities Framework and part of that was looking at how we can introduce technology into the city to make it smarter - how we can innovate, make the city more liveable and attract more people to it,” Mr Roncon said.

“The first part was the free public Wifi that’s been rolled out. We’ve also done some smart parking out at the airport.

“So, for this next stage, we’re looking at a $541,000 (commitment where) we’ve engaged OneWifi & Infrastructure to undertake this project for us. 

“They’ve got a very good track record in terms of having delivered in other jurisdictions and local government areas.”

Mr Roncon said the implementation of solar smart-lighting at places like Sturt Park, Patton Street and the council’s administration building, alongside the IOT platform, will help the city “economise on power.”

“Part of it is that we’re putting in solar smart-lighting into Sturt Park and Patton Street, along with some CCTV into Sturt Park. 

“Also, twenty-seven lights around Council’s administration building will be replaced with solar smart lights. 

“We’re also integrating that all into an IOT (Internet of Things) platform that will essentially be the control mechanism for that.

“What that means is that it’ll do things like operating the lights at only twenty per cent but when they detect motion go up to one hundred per cent brightness.

“The IOT platform will also activate the CCTV, so you economise on power that way.

“From a smart tech perspective we’re really excited about what this project means for the city. 

“We’ll be totally off the grid in terms of those four areas which is very exciting, relying on the sun to power up the batteries. 

“There’s also a secondary mechanism in terms of wind turbines which will generate and keep those batteries loaded up so they’ll run all night.”

“Also, we’re rolling out a pilot for smart bins. 

“We’ve got the bins coming this week and we’ll roll them out across the city in early January. There’s about seven bins that we’re going to roll out in the beginning.”

Mr Roncon said the project should be completed by the end of April.

“In the tender document we set a pretty ambitious time frame for it and said we wanted it all rolled out by the end of April,” he said.

“Following tonight’s decision, we’ll be looking at doing some pre-planning over the next week. 

“We would hope that probably by the third week of January the company will be out and starting to do all the due-diligence and work that they need to do. 

“So we hope people will start seeing things go up in early February with the completion and due date at the end of April.”

Council’s Chief Financial Officer, Jay Nankivell, said OneWifi would come to Broken Hill next week for a site visit and begin plans for construction.

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