Hamilton is using its size and small scale to make big differences with smart technology being rolled out across the city.
Hamilton City Council's Smart Hamilton initiative uses digital services, insights and technology to improve services to customers and better manage the city's assets.
Improved technology such as 'intelligent' pumps have been installed to help manage the city's wastewater network. These pumps can sense a blockage in the network and, if possible, deal with it automatically, reducing service callouts and disruption for residents.
Similar programmes have been developed in other cities around the world, as well as locally in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.
Through identifying problems, then identifying how collaboration and technology can assist, Smart Hamilton aims to provide an effective framework to deliver Hamilton's outcomes:
The programme is strongly based on partnership and collaboration with other organisations and is already delivering results. The most recent example is the city's switch to LED streetlights.
The lights use about half of the power of the previous sodium lamps, last three times longer and have a guarantee for 10 years.
NZ Transport Agency funded around $4.7M of the $5.7M cost of the first two stages of the project.
The council's contribution will pay for itself in the next few years by saving more than $250,000 annually in maintenance and power costs.
Through innovation and partnership with the light manufacturers, the project has delivered specialised lighting to reduce light pollution near the Hamilton Observatory.
Research into light effects also improved the lights for residents and minimised the impact on bats and nocturnal animals.
The CBD's parking sensors, part of the free two-hour parking plan, are also an example of new smart technology, where drivers use a phone application to find free parks in the CBD using information fron sensors embedded in the road.
The next stage of Smart Hamilton will be to develop a Smart Space where office space in the central city showcases technology and inventions being developed in the city.
It will also be a way to engage with the community to identify new opportunities and support community-led innovation.