Episode Archive

SCP E197 The Art of the Possible, with Adam Davis

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a great conversation with Adam Davis. Adam is the director of TPL Connect, and TPL Connect are actually our sponsor for the month of November 2020, which we’re super excited about. Now, you may remember Adam from Episode 90, which is over 100 episodes ago, where we talked about starting with the foundations. Now, in this episode, Adam and I discuss his background and his passion for delivering real results in the Smart City space, and not just tech for tech’s sake. Adam shares with us learnings from a number of projects he’s been working on, as well as sharing some of the challenges that companies and governments are facing when it comes to IoT and implementation of Smart Community projects. We talk a lot about use cases and enabling thinking and enabling technology and the art of the possible. Adam shares with us some of the projects he’s currently working on with his team. We finish our chat talking about emerging trends in understanding the baseline and having measurable impact. And then Adams shares with us some of his favourite ways to learn about what’s happening in this space, including from local government. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

This episode was brought to you by our sponsors TPL Connect. TPL Connect are specialists in the design and delivery of smart city and IoT technology projects, offering consulting, design and project management services. Their strength is their ability to deliver your project vision and not a compromised one. They do this by working with you in the early stages of feasibility to detail your project vision, objectives, requirements and scope, then work with you to deliver the project through to completion and handover. Their team takes the stress out of designing and delivering technically difficult projects by working on your behalf to deliver the original requirements and objectives of the project. TPL Connect: your project vision delivered.

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • How Adam’s work has shifted this year with the pandemic
  • Adam’s passion for delivering real results in Smart projects, not just tech for tech’s sake
  • The importance of getting the fundamentals right up front, like defining objectives and project requirements and use cases
  • The problem with defining projects around technology instead of around the why and the vision 
  • How local governments can identify the community pain points when formulating their Smart projects
  • What a Smart City and Community means to Adam
  • The Art of the Possible: mindset and communication shifts that are needed in these Smart initiatives 
  • Repurposing existing technologies and utilise them in new context for Smart solutions 
  • The learnings from a number of projects Adam’s been working on
  • The conversation we need to have as a community about trust, privacy and data
  • How the pandemic has enabled some projects and sparked conversations that we’ve been working towards for a long time
  • Some of the challenges that companies and governments are facing when it comes to IoT and implementation of Smart Community projects
  • Examples of foundational connectivity happening in the regions enabling new and improved applications
  • The emerging trends in understanding the baseline and having measurable impact
  • Some of Adam’s favourite ways to learn about what’s happening in this Smart space


“I’m passionate about delivering technology projects for clients that actually meet the vision that they’ve set out to achieve. Too often we see clients, or we’ve seen projects in the past, that have been delivered and handed over and it looks nothing like the original intent. And that can be through a myriad of different reasons, but I think doing that work upfront that a lot of people try and skip as we try to rush through these projects all the time, of actually defining your objective. And the big one for us is where we see it fall over [and that] is not defining the project requirements.”

 “What we’ve seen a lot is [cities have] defined the project around a technology, but they really haven’t rationalised the Why. Why do we need to do this? And does this align to the overall vision of the council or [organisation], and the initiatives that the region is trying to achieve? That’s been a shortfall that we’ve seen.”

“I think there’s a misconception around what IoT actually is. You know, people may be using the term a little bit loosely, certainly in buildings. I think there’s a lot of capability that systems like the BMS and controls are already doing that we’re now just calling IoT.”

“The art of the possible is listing out what we could potentially do from a technology standpoint as a user experience, not as a technology for tech’s [sake].”

“Our friendly pandemic [has] enabled some projects that I think we’ve talked about for a very long time, and now we’ve just been pushed into a corner to have to do it.”

“We all know that cybersecurity is probably the biggest, sorry, the number one on every IT managers list at the moment. And you only have to look at the operational technology within a building to see that, you know, the easiest way into any of these IT environments normally is 3d ot networks. So that’s certainly a challenge when we talk about  building IoT deployments at the moment.”

“There’s a genuine requirement around connectivity when you go out and do automation in farming, because there is latency dependent devices. So having that connectivity enabled in the regions, so it actually processes the data is the other big thing. Data centres have been a big talking point, for some time…we’re starting to see some companies in Australia really make some headway, they’re actually really doing this. Now it’s finally happening, there’s deployments happening, there’s projects underway, and the interconnectivity between them is happening as well.”

“The same concerns have been going on for some time. Data and privacy I think is a big one. How do you manage that? We talked about technologies enabling other technologies and problem solving…So really talking about [those issues] I think is important and the advantages that it brings, really putting it out there to say, ‘Here are the risks involve, if any, and here’s the liability and here’s the requirements on you if you’re going to deploy this type of technology.’” 

“We’re past a lot of the hype curve [in Smart Communities] and we’re seeing some real projects start to get stood up…We’ve gotten past that stage of technology for technology’s sake, and in most instances we are starting to see some Smarter investigations going on.”


SCP E190 Starting with Smart Foundations with Adam Davis

Sunshine Coast Council Top 7 Intelligent Cities 

Frost and Sullivan definition of Smart Cities

SCP E72 The Empowerment of Smartivists with Tom Mueller from Bee Smart City

Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network project

Toowoomba’s Pulse Data Centre



Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Adam at tplconnect.com.au or via email adam.davis@tplconnect.com.au 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

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

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.


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