SCP E123 The important role of local government in Smart Communities, Matthew Schultz

In this episode I had a great conversation with Matt Schultz, City Digital Officer at Ipswich City Council in Queensland and the National President of the Australia Smart Communities Association. Matt and I cover his wide and varied career in technology and local government, and why Matt is so passionate about helping people. We also discuss how important and complex the role of local government actually is, and why Smart Communities are so important.

Matt tells us how he sees Australia embracing Smart concepts, as well as the many interesting projects Ipswich City Council is working on to make it an open and interoperable city moving forwards. Matt then explains how ASCA came to be, from its beginnings in 2009 as the Broadband Today Alliance, and how it developed into what it is today, helping with connecting and integrating across different disciplines and industries in Australia today. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of 5G, AI, ML, IOT and blockchain, and the opportunity that lies in the fusion of all of these technologies going forwards.

This episode is brought to you by the Australia Smart Communities Association. 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:

  • Matt’s wide and varied career in technology and local government
  • Why Matt believes Smart Communities are so important and why he is so passionate about helping people
  • The promise and opportunity of Smart Communities
  • The important and complex roles of local government and how they need to change to meet community needs and customer expectations
  • How Matt sees Australia currently embracing the Smart Community space
  • The projects Matt is working on as part of his role at Ipswich City Council to make it an open and interoperable city
  • How ASCA came to be, including Matt’s role as co-founder and National President
  • The emerging trends of 5G, AI, ML, IOT and blockchain, and the opportunity that lies in the fusion of all these technologies going forwards

Quotes:

“[My passion is] really just about helping people. That’s really why I’ve stayed working in government for as long as I have.”

“I know the world has changed and will continue to change. The changes that we have are accelerating with the introduction of new technologies, those technologies and the connectivity that powers that is becoming more pervasive and ubiquitous. THe services that people are obtaining are becoming more easy to understand and connect with. People have access to much more information than they’ve had in the past. And that is changing the way that governments need to work.”

“Councils are not in competition with [the private sector] but when people interact with our council digitally they’re actually comparing us to the way that they interact with companies like Amazon, Apple and Facebook, in terms of how easily they’re able to obtain services and information. And they are comparing the way councils provide that information [or service].”

“We’ve made some good steps over recent years but we really need to keep the momentum going moving forward to try and keep up with what’s happening [worldwide].

“I think a lot of people are still trying to understand what is the return on investment [of Smart Communities]. Some people are trying to look for quick wins. It’s going to be difficult to obtain big ROIs for quick wins because this is such a long term transition.”

“ASCA is the only demand-side industry association working on development of Smart Cities or Smart Communities…We’re definitely trying to be an advocate, be a source of information, a source of value, and in time as we strengthen our capabilities we’ll do more in terms of policy influencing and things like that.”

“This [Smart Community] stuff isn’t easy. If this stuff was easy to implement and roll out and inter-operate the way we want and need it to, then there’d be a lot more of it already rolled out.”

Connect:

Connect with Matt via LinkedIn or the ASCA website

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

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