I booked a flight to Wellington and a Masterton motel. Next minute my smart phone was wishing me a great visit to the Wairarapa … it’s a little unnerving, but companies are not the only ones making increasingly smart use of technology.
Wellington City Council initiatives
Wellington City Council is also embracing technical innovation for the benefit of its citizens. Projects include:
Innovation Officer Sean Audain says these initiatives change the Council’s relationship with citizens and businesses. Good data allows Council to engage more continuously with communities and be more proactive, rather than responding to issues. There are also much greater opportunities for the public to access information collected by the Council, promoting more informed and equal dialogue between members of the community and the Council.
The Council is already collaborating with a number of other agencies. Sean says there are opportunities for the councils in the Wellington region to work together on any really good problem. Examples of collaborations occurring with other agencies include:
The future of council work
What does this emphasis on automation mean for the future of work in a council? It’s highly likely there will be fewer jobs involving manual collection and management of data, as data is handled increasingly efficiently by machines rather than people.
Future council jobs are likely to have a much greater focus on responding to the data. Here are some examples.
Resilience to natural hazards
Wellington’s Smart City approach was a significant advantage when responding to natural hazards such as the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 14 November 2016. As Sean Audain wrote in his 17 May 2017 article, “the following days involved the assessment of over 1600 multilevel commercial and residential buildings, the cordoning of streets, the evacuation of residents from affected properties and the demolition of the more severely damaged buildings”.
The use of 3D technology enabled staff to show decision makers that the cordoning and closure of the entire central business district wasn’t necessary, saving disruption to lives and loss of economic activity. It also enabled high quality information to be provided to the public across council boundaries. Over the longer term, this technology has enabled the recovery team to understand the patterns of earthquake damage.
Thanks to Wellington City Council Innovation Officer Sean Audain for discussing these initiatives with me. For more information about Wellington’s smart city work please contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org