Roll out of Australia's biggest "smart pole" installation has begun across Newcastle, with up to 50 smart city tech poles to be erected around the inner city. With 300 more due to be installed over the next few years, here's all the info on what the poles will actually do, and where they will be going.
As well as offering WiFi connectivity, the smart poles boast energy-saving LED lighting that can be dimmed by remote control, audio speakers for public announcements and cameras for real-time traffic analysis.
"At the end of the roll-out in around two years, this installation will be the biggest and most functional smart lighting installation in Australia," Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said. "We're excited about the smart poles because they're the first real tech hardware installed as part of the smart city strategy we have just released for public comment."
Nelmes says this is just the beginning of a new era - in which we'll see sensor-based smart lighting and other technology help make the city run more efficiently and provide valuable data insights for businesses, advanced manufacturers and entrepreneurial industries.
Newcastle City Council Interim CEO Jeremy Bath said the new smart poles would offer the city flexibility as its broader plan unfolded.
"Our poles are a modular system that can be easily adapted to different requirements and incorporate the latest communication and energy-saving lighting technologies," he said. "All the lighting can be controlled on a desktop on google maps and you can dim them in the middle of the night to save energy. We'll be able to add environmental sensors, smart parking systems and electrical-vehicle charging stations later on."
Other smart pole installations around Australia include Darling Harbour (set to get 41 poles with remote controlled colour-changing lights, CCTV, speakers and WiFi), Victoria Square Adelaide (getting 10 poles for lighting purposes), Robina Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast (getting nine multifunctional poles with lighting, speakers, projection, WiFi and CCTV) and The University of Wollongong (scoring seven multifunction poles with street lighting, CCTV integration and banner arms).