Mallee councils are partnering to trial innovative Internet of Things (IoT) technology, with 46 trial devices to be installed across the four council areas, to inform decision-making and improve operational efficiencies in the region. 

Mildura, Buloke, Gannawarra and Swan Hill Councils are participating in the 12-month Smart Cities project, which runs until June 2022.

The trial will utilise sensors that capture data about how different assets and sites are used. 

This valuable information will help participating councils better plan for the provision of services over time, to cater for growth or decline in usage.

Mildura Rural City Council is leading the project, which is enabled through Victorian Government funding, Mildura Regional Development and includes research partnerships with La Trobe University and Sunraysia Institute of TAFE. 

Some of the trial devices include:

  • People counters to determine how many people are present when public facilities are being used, such as playgrounds and public toilets
  • Water depth sensors to determine usage in pumping stations
  • Public litter bin sensors to alert when bins require emptying
  • Soil moisture monitoring to inform the watering of public ovals

Mildura Mayor, Liam Wood, said building an IoT network and being able to trial and evaluate various sensors and devices will pave the way for the Mallee to become collectively a Smart City.

“Being a Smart City means automatically collecting data and using information to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve the quality of council services,” Cr Wood said.

Mildura Rural City Council will trial ten sensors across the municipality, including fitting public litter bins at a number of locations with devices to measure bin capacity and alert staff when the bins need emptying.

Two portable devices will also be trialled in Mildura to count people and traffic, with the trailer-mounted sensors used at specific sites or intersections where data counts are needed and at events to capture crowd numbers.

“It is incredibly exciting that Mallee is joining the Smart Cities revolution,” Cr Wood said.

Sensors will be installed in different sites across the Mallee in the coming months. 

Signage, where required, will be installed notifying the public that usage statistics are being logged, and no personally identifiable data will be captured.

This project is made possible through the State Government Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions’ Regional Digital Plan, alongside funding through the Local Government IOT Starter Kit Project.

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