Monday 1 June 2015

Developing a Smart City

This 'Smart City' project was funded by the NSW Department of Information Technology & Management (DITM) in association with NSW Department of State and Regional Development (now NSW Trade & Investment). The project was administered through the Hunter Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) and the Central Coast Economic Development Board (CCEDB) and was completed in 2002. The Centre for Regional Research & Innovation (CRRI) previously housed at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) was contracted to complete the work.

The project was assisted by an advisory committee made up of the following members:
  • Hunter Economic Development Corporation, Eddie Bernard/ Darren Turner. 
  • Central Coast Economic Development Board, Peter Brown.
  • Connect.CentralCoast, David Abrahams.
  • New South Wales Department of State and Regional Development, Alison Pepper
  • HunterTech, Peter O’Malley.
  • Office of Information Technology, Mark Nicholson.

The CRRI team was Professor Trevor Cairney, Gavin Speak & Rob Lee.

The project was commissioned in order to obtain knowledge to help position the Hunter and Central Coast regions more competitively in the global economy. The study sought to determine the ‘ICT Capacity’ of the Hunter and Central Coast regions and offer recommendations for strategy development designed to enhance this capacity. It addressed:
  • Industry use of ICT hardware, software and infrastructure in the 2 regions 
  • The importance of ICT to the regions’ economic bases
  • The regions’ competitive advantages, strengths and weaknesses 
  • The impediments to growth of ICT
  • Key factors for ICT business relocation or service provision
  • The issues that need to be tackled to ensure competitive advantage

The findings of the study sought to:
a) contribute to the development of an ICT strategy for the regions act as a baseline to compare industry change and trends; 
b) help to market the ICT goods and services within both regions and to promote and attract investment into the regions, resulting in job creation

At the core of this study were 4 focus questions:

FQ1 What is the state of existing knowledge of the ICT Capacity of the two regions?
FQ2 What are the key issues for users and producers of ICT in the two regions? 
FQ3 What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two regions with respect to ICT capacity?
FQ4 What strategies are suitable to stimulate ICT capacity in the two regions?

In addressing these focus questions, the project was conducted in 3 basic stages:

Stage 1 An analysis of published reports and existing statistical data 
Stage 2 The gathering of primary evidence from respondents located within the two study regions Stage 3 The analysis of data and the development of strategies and actions

The first part of the primary data collected was completed through an industry survey of a sample of firms in the two regions.

The interview/ focus group sample list was a group of key regional business or government representatives who were judged to be aware of regional issues and the ICT industry generally.

The research was conducted as an iterative process with constant and open communications between the CRRI research team and the project steering committee. The summary report of the project can be downloaded HERE and the full report HERE.

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