News & Events
by Joe Kochan December 22, 2017
This fall, I recently had the pleasure of being hosted by the wonderful people of Adelaide, Australia so that I could attend the IgniteSA launch. During this multi-day smart city event, US Ignite was proud to welcome Adelaide as the first international city to join our Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program. The SGC program is a collaboration among US Ignite, universities, municipalities, community anchor institutions like hospitals and schools, nonprofits, network carriers and ISPs. Together, these organizations are focused on developing smart gigabit applications that address local community needs, such as education, workforce development, public safety, community health, smart energy and transportation.
IgniteSA is partnership between the State Government and the University of South Australia (UniSA), and will support start-ups to develop transformative gigabit applications that appeal to local, national, and global markets, leveraging Adelaide’s GigCity gigabit internet network.
US Ignite believes that the communities most likely to become the first smart communities are those with widespread, open, and flexible advanced networks. Working with the South Australian Research and Education Broadband Network (SABRENet) and EscapeNet, GigCity Adelaide connects key innovation sites and coworking spaces, including the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, TechInSA, Stretton Centre, and St Paul's Creative Centre. This network has proven to be so successful that the South Australian Government recently announced that it will expand the GigCity Adelaide network to additional innovation precincts to further expand the footprint of the gigabit network.
Through Adelaide’s advanced gigabit network, the SGC program and other smart city ventures, Adelaide has all the necessary elements in place to become one of the world’s smartest cities. Adelaide has built a robust smart city ecosystem aimed at driving economic growth and more resiliently innovate many of its core services and improve the lives of its citizens – enhanced core services include smart city lighting initiatives and smart environmental monitoring. Recently, the state of South Australia announced that it powered up the world’s largest battery ahead of schedule – this feat could serve as a solution to the country’s energy challenges.
During my one-week visit, I experienced first-hand the ways the people and government of South Australia have transformed Adelaide into one of the most connected cities in the world. The US Ignite-Adelaide partnership enables the South Australian Government, businesses, universities, and entrepreneurs to collaborate and share information within Australia and with other smart cities in the United States, including Austin, Texas, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and San Francisco, California. In Adelaide, I witnessed a tremendous concentration of advanced network resources, which are the foundation and baseline needed for a smart community. I was impressed the multi-stakeholder partnerships and the manner that the partners seamlessly collaborated with one another – all partners from top to bottom were focused and aligned on the same overall mission and embraced the spirit of public-private partnerships.
My week-long journey included the official launch of IgniteSA, a session with the Minister for Science and Information Economy, meetings with local businesses, university researcher workshops (UniSA, Adelaide University, Flinders University), the Hybrid World Adelaide Conference, gigabit network demonstrations, and a tour of the Tonsley Innovation Precinct.
In Adelaide, I see a breadth of unique opportunities that will lead South Australia innovation and present a tremendous opportunity for South Australia, such as space and new transportation/smart vehicle advances, including driverless cars. The transformation of the former Mitsubishi Motors manufacturing site into the Tonsley Innovation District, a vibrant mixed-use precinct in Adelaide, has won the 2017 Australian Urban Design Award in the category of Delivered Outcome. The Tonsley Innovation District, part of GigCity Adelaide, focuses on South Australia’s significant economic strengths and competitive advantages, including software and simulation, mining and energy services, and cleantech and renewable energy. In fact, while I was in South Australia, many people I spoke to were wondering if Elon Musk could win his tremendous bet to help launch the world’s largest battery to begin modernizing South Australia’s electric grid. By the time I got home, news arrived that South Australia was again leading the way.
Though IgniteSA has only been part of the SGC program for a few short months, they’ve already made significant, invaluable contributions to the SGC gigabit ecosystem, including scaling-up a gigabit demonstration connecting Adelaide, Australia to a virtual reality (VR) application in Lafayette, Louisiana. This cross-continental demonstration required coordination of a team of talented professionals from at least five organizations. IgniteSA has already commenced gigabit application ideation, including potential collaborations between the South Australian Museum and the Smithsonian, as well as a gigabit application challenge, scheduled for January 8, 2018.
If you’re interested in learning more about IgniteSA and US Ignite SGC program, please contact me at [email protected].