Look to a smart future as innovation builds the Coast

THE new economy needs innovation. The future really is here.

Some of the most advanced technological companies in the world were among more than 100 stakeholders and suppliers at the launch of the Smart City Framework for the Sunshine Coast this week.

Sunshine Coast Council has partnered with Cisco and Telstra to develop a Smart City Framework for the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area (PDA), and the wider Sunshine Coast region.

It is designed to help make the region even more liveable, workable and sustainable. In doing so it will place the region at the forefront with other smart cities around the world in attracting investment and population.

Smart City services can transform and improve the way residents, visitors, businesses and governments interact with their environment, the way information and communications technology can connect people, processes and data.

A city connected by fast internet, where an app on your phone helps guide you to a car-park, energy-efficient street lights, sensors on water supplies and rubbish bins that detect when attention is needed.

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson said new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke about the importance of creating this new economy when he visited as then-communications minister.

Mr Jamieson said the Smart City Framework reinforced the fact this investment in technology really was an important part of the region's history.

"In the next 10 years our region will be recognised nationally and internationally,'' he said.

"It has already moved from development to implementation and will be tested in Caloundra.

"Innovation is not what we have been known for, but every day we see the reality of change to a new economy based on technology.

"The economic strategy of the region is a clear blueprint for the next 20 years. It's an outstanding plan that redefines where we want to be.''

Mr Jamieson said it would lead to greater prosperity, more jobs and a growing population.

The next step was the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport, the development of the green city in Maroochydore's central business district, completion of the near-$2 billion Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital next year and the allied and related industries.

Then there was the accommodating of the future population with Caloundra South expected to see another 50,000 people in 20 years and Palmview be home to an extra 17,000-18,000 in the same timeframe.

Other investments in innovation include the $81 million expansion of the university, development of the Valdora solar farm, early feasibility work on a light rail connect from Caloundra to Maroochydore and eventually to the airport.

Mr Jamieson said the proposed international broadband submarine cable received wholehearted support by the then communications minister.

Telstra's Merrick Spain said the reason to build a smart community framework was that every day 180,000 people globally move to urban cities.

At stake for the Sunshine Coast was $800 million in investment and 2600 jobs.

"It's a competition to attract those people,'' he said. "We need to facilitate those aspirations and expectations of people.

"They are changing, they expect real time information, information that can add comfort, convenience, choice.

"People want to feel like shareholders in terms of outcomes.''

By the end of the two-hour breakfast two billion bits of data would have been created, the meeting was told.

What you do with that data is critical.

Data is like fish - you can't store it or it will go rotten. You have to use it straight away.

Daniel Sekers, of Invigor Group, said that with 45% of the world expected to use computers and mobiles now more popular than personal computers it was important to create connected consumer experiences.

"It comes back to how data is applied and how it can be shared in an open way.

"Volume, variety and velocity of data but also about value extraction, how you use it. Decisions can now be made in real time and not from data that could be up to five years old. It comes back to the data, what you do with that.''

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