Brimbank city council believes in taking a “Community First” approach to everything it does.
Dominic Di Martino, Asset and Property Manager at Brimbank City Council, has been a passionate advocate for the promotion of better and smarter technology as a means to transform the way Council connects with its community in delivering better and more efficient services; ever relevant in today’s economy. He explains about his involvement in pursuing technology to improve the services that public assets help provide.
In simple words, Dominic says, “Our aim is to change our traditional approach to asset management practices by making the right maintenance decisions at precisely the right time.”
As a council, where do you start your Smart City journey? What are the painpoints you need to address?
For Mr Di Martino, the answer is explicit:
- Our first project was about ensuring that street litter bins were attended to at precisely the right time and avoid over servicing or under-servicing. There is a lot of variability in terms of usage of bins, highly dependent on time of the year, events, weather, etc. Having a standard service routine, will almost always mean servicing the bins either too early or too late, clearly less than optimal.
Indeed, these highly visible assets should be serviced in the most efficient and timely manner possible, so as to maintain a positive image of the overall community..
For Brimbank, following this first project, the vision is getting clearer and they see 3 main next steps to keep moving forward:
1- Expand the smart bin project beyond the initial commitment as it proved to be of high value to them. The data collected on the first pilot was already very helpful to better understanding the variability of use of the bins and how this technology could be integrated with existing systems.
2- Explore new projects such as:
- using the temperature-sensing feature of the bin device to monitor the “urban heat island effect” and identify appropriate strategies to overcome this issue where they exist.
- connecting public toilet assets – similarly to bins, using remote sensors to ensure Council’s public toilets are well maintained and issues are identified and responded to as they arise.
3- Liveability: Anything to do with improving our urban landscape. By being able to monitor noise, pollution, wind speed, temperature, humidity, and rainfall, practical strategies can then be implemented to help mitigate this and improve the liveability of our cities and community.
For the fans of technology, let’s review apart the Internet fo Things’ solution involved to monitor the bins:
- The device (PiPIoT LevelSense), a level sensor with complementary geolocation, temperature & tilt features.
- The platform: Bigmate IoT platform, based on AWS, easily integrates into Council’s existing asset management system to automate service requests at precisely the right time, as well as integrating into their current GIS map system. Bigmate IoT Platform also enables many other use cases and devices with a single platform for Brimbank to build upon.
- The connectivity network by Sigfox: As Dominic says, “The choice was relatively straight forward in selecting the Sigfox network. The LPWAN IoT infrastructure was installed and provided for free, avoiding high cost of CAPEX investment and long tender process.”
Brimbank was supported by Thinxtra to fast track solutions towards more efficiencies via the Smart Council Program.
As a Council, you can replicate this project as well as others by simply contacting Thinxtra at email@example.com to request a meeting with our smart-council team to tailor our approach to your IoT strategy.
On a last note, Thinxtra was the 2018 winner of The Communications Alliance Acomms Award as Best Marketing Initiative for this smart council program.