Six of IBM’s top executives flew into Geraldton over the weekend to begin three weeks of intensive investigation and reporting on how Geraldton could become an internationally-recognised ‘smarter city’ and digital hub.
The team will work on two outcomes — creating a carbon neutral region which seeks to transform the application of smart technology and the Geraldton and Mid West energy consumption and demand.
It will look at recommendations for options in developing a smart grid on a large scale trial area, investing in smart grid technology in the transmission infrastructure and smart metering in homes and businesses.
This is likely to include both smart metering within the Geraldton urban area and also the potential to create a wide-area network from Eneabba, across to Perenjori and up to Kalbarri and using the Eneabba substation as the control point for baseline data assessment.
Secondly the team will look at leveraging the NBN architecture with Geraldton being connecting point to northern WA for high speed broadband.
The idea is to transform relationships between the City and various agencies, using the NBN as the primary tool.
This could mean setting up Geraldton as a digital local government with digital hubs, more digital enterprises, serving as a services gateway for the community, providing emergency data backup/ redundancy to Perth and sharing of data across agencies such as the City, Geraldton Port, Durack Institute, Geraldton University Centre, CUCRH, GRAMS, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery and the Museum of WA - Geraldton.
Other opportunities could be attracting data centres for big corporations to Geraldton.
The City was successful in obtaining a significant grant from the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, a three-year philanthropic initiative, by the IBM Foundation in New York.
Mayor Ian Carpenter said “the grant to our community is significant because we were the only Australian city chosen this year and one of only 33 chosen worldwide.
“The team will live and work in the City and spend their weekends immersing themselves in our culture and city life,” he said.
The IBM team includes Melissa Downer from Dallas, Texas.
She is the software director for the western region of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, leading a team of approximately 650 technical software professionals and competitive sales specialists.
Other members of the team include Ann Valencic from Sydney, John Kamensky from the US Federal Team in Washington, Catherine Lord from Canada, David Yip from Melbourne and John Constantopoulos from Perth.
In addition, the Smarter Cities & Planet Executive for Australia, Catherine Caruana-McManus will speak at the Mid West Resources Forum and visit over a three-day period while IBM is here.
Senior Manager Consultant, Centre of competency Energy, Glen Garner and Corporate Citizenship Manager, Miranda Scarff both from IBM Australia, will also visit during the engagement.
For more details on the Smarter Cities Challenge visit www.smartercitieschallenge.org