REVEALED: Why Ipswich leads the world in smarts
WHY are we so smart?
That's the question the QT wanted answered after Ipswich made history to be named in the top seven intelligent communities in the world list by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) for the second time.
No other Australian city has received the honour.
An intelligent community is not about technology per se, but how it is used to improve communities.
The ICF judges considered Ipswich on six criteria - broadband, digital equality, innovation, marketing and advocacy, knowledge workforce and sustainability.
The city was judged on what it has already rolled out and strategies and its plans for the future to build a prosperous city environment for all residents with an emphasis on the use of technology to create jobs and improve liveability.
With regard to broadband, Ipswich has the highest NBN penetration for a city in Queensland with approximately 43%.
In terms of knowledge workforce Ipswich has developed innovation hub Fire Station 101, the only city council fully owned and operated innovation start-up in the country.
That hub has given entrepreneurs and start-ups opportunities and provided key education programs.
The council has enhanced digital equality with its training programs at the library and SeniorNet to provide equity of access so that residents can understand and use technology.
The detailed Smart City blueprint has seen 'smart' infrastructure installed in parks and on lights to collect data to help the city run more efficiently.
Ipswich had the first 'smart lights' deployment in a park at Queens Park which enables the council to remote control the light levels.
The partnership with the Department Of Transport and Main Roads for the largest connected vehicle trial in Australia is coming up and the reason for those kind of partnerships is largely due to the Smart City plan and creation of Fire Station 101.
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the ICF nomination was all about "how the city and community organisations have used technology for the betterment of people".
"With Fire Station 101 we have embraced our youth, seniors and business," he said.
"When I got elected in 1991 I wanted to drive the digital market and it has all come to fruition and we are now a city that is respected internationally."
Cr Paul Tully, the chair of council-owned Ipswich City Enterprises which runs Fire Station 101, said the ICF nomination was a sign the city was headed in the right direction
"People involved in the internet and the development of apps understand what is happening and why being nominated in the ICF top seven is so important," he said.
"We need to embrace the community so they understand what it is about, but we are on the threshold of great things in Ipswich and we will go from strength to strength."
Ipswich is now in the running along with Moscow, Melbourne, Edmonton, Grey County (Canada) and Taiwanese cities Chiayi City and Taoyuan to be named 2017 Intelligent Community of the Year at the ICF annual summit in New York in June.