Episode Archive

SCP E59: Integrating Technologies and Embracing the Digital Age, with Emma Hendry

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Emma Hendry. Emma is the CEO of Hendry Group and was also a member of the Future Leaders, Future Cities delegation to Japan. Emma and I discuss incorporating tech into everyday business and how to move into the digital age. We also discuss learnings from Japan, what Emma has been up to lately, and how we can better integrate across the different disciplines using technology. We also talk about some of the emerging trends, global conversations and how to deal with risk. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Emma’s background and her passion for creating safer, smarter and more sustainable places for people to live
  • What sparked her interest in the Smart City space, what a Smart City is to her and why it’s so important
  • Why we need to be paying attention to how current resources are being stretched by emerging & complex problems
  • Emma’s takeaways from the Future Cities, Future Leaders trip to Japan and some of the projects she’s been working on since then –
  • Using virtual reality and mixed reality for emergency training and AR tech to create virtual asset registers
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City space and how Emma is seeing it growing
  • Emma’s key message when she talks about smart cities on the stage
  • How using virtual tools allows for world-wide collaboration can lead to real time outcomes (instead of just more emails!)
  • Technologies and techniques Emma is keen on exploring further
  • The importance of alignment, incentives and accountability when it comes to integrating across different disciplines
  • The emerging trends of corporate and social anxiety about the digital revolution, and the need to be a fast mover and pioneer to avoid being disrupted
  • The gaps Emma sees in the Smart City space, and the opportunities for up- and re-skilling via traditional and micro-credentialed programs
  • How risk fits into the Smart City space and why we need a culture that encourages jumping in, pioneering, failing fast and failing often
  • Tracking the health of the built environment and the power of using the analytics that come from the technology


“We help create safer, smarter and more sustainable buildings, cities and communities for all.”

“To me [a Smart City] is really a utopian concept as opposed to a definitive end state. I see it as a series of steps and processes by which buildings, cities, communities can become more liveable, safer, sustainable and resilient.”

“[The Smart City Concept] is important because it’s not a static concept. It will continue to evolve and address the complex problems of the day, while enhancing the sustainability and wellness of the build environment for everyone.”

“Overall [Australia’s embrace of Smart Cities] is still nascent in nature. Some sectors and areas are more progressive than others…I believe Australia is ripe to embrace the Smart City concept and reap the benefits of its implementation.”

“It’s about education and knowledge. There’s so much information out there, you really have to make sure you’re data-literate, digital-literate…It’s a really inclusive subject and I think that’s what’s so important about the Smart Cities concept: it’s for everyone.”

“There are so many fantastic tools out there now available to us that allow you to collaborate from anywhere in the world, and using AR and 3D imagery, actually really solve problems in real time.”

“What I’m really excited about is how to integrate and interconnect all of these new technologies. E.g. AI, machine learning and automation, connecting that in with VR, AR and advanced imagery and also with blockchain, [and IOT]…It’s not viewing each of these technology in isolation, it’s what could it solve when we start integrating it all together?”

“Collaboration and communication is key between all disciplines, government and industry, and it is imperative to enable not just a comprehensive understanding of an issue, but the formulation and most importantly the implementation of any initiative.”

“I don’t think that we’re actually… putting it into practice. I think we’re talking about these things a lot [AI, AR/VR, IOT, blockchain] but I rarely see companies really diving into it unless they’re really high-tech firms.”

“The digital revolution, industry 4.0 is here, and it’s not going away… if you’re not a fast mover or a pioneer, you’re going to get left behind and become disrupted.”

“Your jobs are still going to be needed, it’s just that higher cognitive level of understanding, empathy, problem solving, that human interaction element is just going to become a lot more enhanced.”

“It’s not about the technology, it’s about the analytics that comes from it.”


You can connect with Emma via the Contact page on the Hendry Group website, www.hendry.com.au or reach out to her on LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital


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