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Melbourne wins intelligent community award

Communities in the awards programme are evaluated based on six intelligent community indicators

Melbourne is redefining
Melbourne is redefining

The city of Melbourne, Australia, has been named 2017 Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) think-tank.


Melbourne was selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year after a year-long evaluation that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections by the ICF, and votes from an international jury made up of experts from around the world.


It beat off six other cities on the Top7 shortlist: Chiayi City in Taiwan, Edmonton in Canada, Grey County in Canada, Ipswich in Australia, Moscow in Russia and Taoyuan in Taiwan.


Communities in the awards programme are evaluated based on six intelligent community indicators, along with a seventh criteria, ICF’s annual theme, the Internet of Cities.


“Melbourne is famously ‘the world’s most livable city,’ but the question was ‘are they an intelligent community?’” said Lou Zacharilla, co-founder ICF.


“They answered that question this year. They are redefining the concept of technology, work, and the workspace. They have created a city that functions like an artist’s canvas. They have built an entire system where creativity flourishes, education is harnessed to the workforce, and quality of life has become the city’s greatest competitive advantage. It is a dynamic combination and one the Intelligent Community Forum honours.”


Melbourne is Australia’s second largest municipality and the capital of the state of Victoria. A leading financial centre, this city of 130,000 is at the centre of a metropolitan area of 4.5 million people and is hub for the Australian film and television industries. In 2016, The Economist magazine named Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for the sixth year in a row.


But Australia ranks 48th in the world for the speed and services available over broadband, due to a long history of monopoly and duopoly markets. That has put Melbourne’s people, institutions and businesses at a disadvantage in reaping the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution.


Some of the initiatives the city was recognised for include:


As a midsize city, Melbourne has many competing service providers but also significant gaps in coverage outside its central business district. A group of frustrated Internet users teamed with a community-led pilot project in Melbourne to create Lightning Broadband, which uses a mix of optical fiber and wireless to connect high-rise apartments and business customers at 100 Mbps.


Rolling out in Melbourne suburbs now, it is targeting a national build-out in areas underserved by private carriers and bypassed by Australia’s National Broadband Network.


Two projects, one in production and the other in development, are also equipping Melbourne with new innovation districts. The Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT, a public research university, creates collaborative projects between researchers and industry, and equips them with technology and equipment to speed up prototyping and design of the manufacturing process.


Early results include a 3D printed spine implant and an improved car seat for the Tesla Model S.


The Carlton Connect Initiative (CCI) aims to bring together people from diverse disciplines to one precinct, where CCI will create and curate partnerships between research and industry locally, nationally and globally.


It has established the Melbourne Accelerator Project, whose 24 startup teams have already created 150 jobs and generated A$10m in revenue. LAB-14 is CCI’s first small-scale demonstration site, where 270 people are at work on projects from computing through artistic creation. When CCI is complete, it will be Australia’s largest innovation district and home to the Melbourne School of Engineering.


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