NEC enters ‘smart cities’ partnership with University of Adelaide


news The University of Adelaide and technology company NEC Australia have signed a new agreement that will see them collaborate on a so-called ‘smart cities’ project aimed to help urban areas become more dynamic and sustainable.

“Urbanisation, population pressures and resource scarcity are driving the need to develop solutions for more efficient and safe technology-enabled Smart Cities,” NEC said in a statement.

“To this end, NEC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the university setting out joint efforts that will help realise “more efficient and sustainable cities of the future.”

A smart city is a concept that would see the secure integration of multiple ICT solutions to manage a city’s assets, such as schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, law enforcement, and so on.

The goal of creating such a smart city would be to improve quality of life by using technology to improve the efficiency of services and better meet residents’ needs.

The University of Adelaide, a leading research centre in the field, is bringing together a multidisciplinary group of researchers, along with with industry and government partners, to develop expertise in research relating to smart cities – work that aims to enable cities to benefit from digital technologies and create sustainable infrastructure and ecosystems that benefit both communities and enterprises.

Under the MOU, the two partners intend to collaborate on research projects of “mutual interest” in the field.

“We look forward to working closely with the University of Adelaide to find innovative answers to the challenges that demand a Smart Cities approach to urban living,” said Mike Barber, Executive Director at NEC Australia. “The combination of the University of Adelaide’s research excellence and NEC’s global and local expertise in technologies that are essential for Smart Cities will open up new opportunities in the field.”

NEC will help realise the shared vision via technologies that include include wireless sensor networks, authentication, real-time monitoring and control systems, and cloud computing.

NEC has already contributed to international efforts in the same area, including a partnership in the UK with the ‘Bristol Is Open’ project – a joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol.

According to NEC, Bristol Is Open aims to create “the world’s first open, programmable city” to support the creation of innovative new services for people, businesses and academia.

NEC has been supplying the Bristol project with advanced IT and communications technologies, including software-defined networking (SDN) compatible switches, LTE small cells and iPASOLINK ultra-compact microwave systems – all aimed to help the the UK scheme to build a smart city test-bed platform.

In Australia, NEC said, is already helping build smart city capabilities, including delivering the Western Australian Department of Water’s new information management system to improve sustainable management of water resources in the state.

Additionally, NEC’s biometric identification technologies are now being used on smartphones at South Australian Police and Northern Territory Police.

“Biometrics in combination with access control and video monitoring systems will ensure Smart Cities are able to rapidly respond to safety incidents when required,” the NEC statement explained.