Clever garbage tests network

Article image - Clever garbage tests network Greater Bendigo Innovation Officer Chris Rowlands, Cr Matt Emond and Head of La Trobe’s Technology Innovation Lab in Bendigo Dr. Simon Egerton accepted the iTnews Benchmark Award.

The City of Greater Bendigo’s Internet of Things Network has been recognised for its innovative project winning the national prize in the iTNews Benchmark Awards for 2019.

In partnership with La Trobe University, the central Victorian City won the top accolade in a new Local Government category for developing a free open source Internet of Things (IoT) network for Bendigo.

The iTnews Benchmark Awards recognise leaders and projects that deliver real change through clever or creative use of technology.

The collaborative Bendigo project provided a more accurate picture of internet coverage and signal strength across the city to allow anyone in the community to link and share data.

City Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said he was delighted that the team who collaborated on Bendigo’s IoT network was recognised for their innovative work.

“This is the first time that iTnews Benchmark Awards has included a dedicated category for Local Government which celebrates excellence in information technology delivery among Australia’s Local Governments and it’s great that we are the first recipients.”

Bendigo’s IoT network was achieved by placing gateways on a mix of locations including the Ulumbarra Theatre, KLFM radio station and La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus to establish good internet network coverage over the city.

The award judges praised the City’s innovative approach to test the network’s coverage that was quick, effective and inexpensive to deliver.

The team attached mapping devices on four garbage trucks to map the coverage and signal strength of the network as the trucks carried out their normal collection duties emptying bins.

Within a week, the mapping devices revealed the extent of the coverage and where the network needed strengthening. As a result, new gateways were installed to reinforce the network.

The data will continue to help the City and La Trobe University strengthen the network to deliver the most benefit for the community.

More than 80 percent of the urban areas of the city is now covered by the network, which allows anyone in the local community to use it free of charge. The new technology will also allow the City to collect and share data to help improve the way services are delivered in the community.