by Michael Cali, National Commercial Director, oOh!media

Smart cities, and improved digital amenity within communities big and small, are on the rise – so how can government and industry help shape our future to deliver smart outcomes? Let’s begin with the most important element of a community – the people.

Debate continues over the precise definition of what exactly smart cities are, despite the industry continuing to experience exponential growth in recent years.

While the trend to make cities smarter is only set to continue in the decade ahead, how will participants in government, development, technology and media shape the future of collective connectedness of communities, and deliver truly ‘smart’ outcomes? For a start, people must be at the centre of all action.

The new citizen-led world

Early characteristics of smart cities tended to focus on the reliance of information, communication and technology companies to solve problems, while in turn driving down costs to the government. Following the Global Financial Crisis, technology that could monitor processes and drive efficiencies was prioritised when government finances were tight.

Fast forward to the 2010s and the explosion in social media means it has never been easier to tell leaders what the community thinks, or engage with fellow citizens to garner support and champion ideas that can be amplified to the masses almost instantaneously.

As a result, more active participation in decision making that delivers for communities and their surrounds is now expected as standard.

For smart cities, this has meant a shift in emphasis from technology-centred top-down (or government and corporate-led) programs, to more human centred, bottom-up (or citizen- led) initiatives.

Smart cities are not just about technology, but broader issues including infrastructure, governance, the economy, the environment, culture and public safety.

This is why addressing challenges with a meaningful understanding of the realities faced by the community is of great value.

The ‘smarts’ of Out of Home Media

Our purpose at oOh!media is to make public spaces better, and since launching operations more than 30 years ago, there’s many ways we’ve embraced this broader concept of what makes a city smart.

While the provision of clean public infrastructure remains one of the fundamental pillars of the business, we’ve extended our smarts to deliver for communities in other ways. We’re one of the largest providers of free public Wi-Fi across Australia by location, through our network of cafes, office towers and airports. We utilise our signs – both classic and digital – to turn public spaces into art galleries.

We have also partnered with ‘Ask Izzy’ to drive awareness of services that can aid vulnerable members of the community – connecting them with meals, financial assistance, mental health counselling, shelter, family violence support and more.

As the leading Out of Home media company, we remain cognisant of our responsibility to the communities we engage with; which means continuing to evolve our smart approach.

As we develop new products and public infrastructure, for example adding Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to capture key data for decision making and real-time passenger information displays, we consult with stakeholders – our commercial partners and the communities we serve – to provide solutions that make the greatest impact possible.

Our people-centric approach to making public spaces better will always be paramount – because that’s the truly smart way to make a difference.

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by oOh!media, for more information visit


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