Episode Archive

SCP E209 Summer Series: Using Smart Technology in Local Government, with James Peet

Hi #smartcommunity friends! Welcome back to the Summer Series here on the Smart Community Podcast. As you know, we’re taking a little break from new content over the Australian summer holidays, and instead we are sharing the replays of a few of your all time favourite episodes. This week we’re sharing my interview with James Peet from Episode 146. This episode is from late in 2019, when we did a special feature in November called MOVE-ember, about moving from old ways of doing things to new ways, particularly in local government.

James Peet, is the Chief Digital Officer at Moreton Bay Regional Council in South East Queensland. James tells us about his background in architecture and passion for using technology to help make things better, and how that has led him to his role in local government. James and I discuss what really sparked his interest in the Smart Community space and why he sees the concept as so important, firstly because digital disruption is happening and we need to keep up, but also because of the benefits and efficiencies it can provide in local council for things like asset maintenance. James then shares how he sees his region embracing these concepts, and a number of the projects he is currently working on. James and I then talk about the importance of having both an OT (operational technology) as well as an IT team, and why councils need to be planning for those skillsets now. We finish our chat discussing the big opportunities to further integrate across levels of government and the private sector, as well as the emerging trend of data standards and whether they’re even necessary. 

We’ll be sure to get James back on the show in the future for a full update about what he’s been up to and also how our thinking has progressed since this conversation. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • James’ background in architecture and his passion for technology
  • How his role in local government has shifted in recent years
  • What sparked James’ interest in Smart Communities and why it’s so important in this age of digital disruption
  • The benefits and efficiencies Smart concepts can provide in local council for things like asset maintenance 
  • How James sees his region embracing Smart concepts, and some of the projects he is currently working on
  • Smart projects including an innovation precinct in conjunction with the University of Sunshine Coast, a Smart Parking project, an AI-driven Customer Request Smartphone app, and the Road Defect Scanning Project
  • The importance of having both an OT (operational technology) as well as an IT team
  • Why councils need to be planning for the Smart skillsets now
  • The big opportunities to further integrate across levels of government and the private sector
  • The emerging trend of data standards and whether they’re even necessary. 

Quotes: 

“Because there’s all these new types of data streams heading in our direction, we can actually use them and not just management hunch to inform our decision making. So for local government, with so many assets across the region, from roads, to buildings, and parks, and even trees, there’s a huge potential across the board to really improve how we deliver our services, manage our assets, because we’ve now got a new kind of data that we haven’t had before.”

“This digital disruption is everywhere and the term ‘Smart City’ really is local government’s response to that. It’s about rethinking the way we do things and using new types of data that we haven’t before, and it’s really important in how we, as a council, deliver services.”

“We’re actually able to shift from a schedule-based approach to a predictive-based approach and whilst it’s efficient, it’s also more effective because you’re maintaining things when they need maintenance, rather than potentially missing the opportunity and [the asset] fails before you get to it.”

“Of course, with scale comes a need for a greater number of resources. At the moment I’m a team of one. I work alongside IT, our traffic and transport teams, customer service, etc. But when we start to really scale things up, we’re going to need more resources.”

“What we’re finding as a local government is we’re very much at the coalface of much of this work, but we’re also noticing the headwinds that the state and federal governments could assist with…There does need to be more attention by both federal and state government in relation to how things are regulated, and the unintended consequences of those regulations.”

“There’s a great opportunity right now for local, state and federal governments to get our heads together to figure out what is the best way to streamline all of this [rollout of 5G and IoT] so that we can get a great outcome not from a just a bandwidth and a telco perspective, but also from a public amenity perspective as well.”

Connect:

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

Connect with James via email James.Peet@moretonbay.qld.gov.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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