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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04
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                    [post_content] => 

Peter Tran

Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years.

With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services.

It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors.

So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be.

As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted.

Good security means good practices

The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe.

Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’.

Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future.

In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016.

This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market.

Looking for the upside

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services.

The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue.

What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default.

The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’.

The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk.

With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure.

Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA.
                    [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities
                    [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments.
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                    [post_content] => 

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has released the findings of a national survey on Australians’ attitudes towards technology and its impact on future employment opportunities.

While nearly all Australians believe that innovation is important to Australia’s future prosperity (99%) and feel positive about future work and job opportunities (97%), only one in four attribute their positive outlook to the belief that government will develop the right policies in areas such as education and training.

Instead, people were more likely to attribute their positive attitude about the future to the fact that technological revolutions throughout history have always resulted in the emergence of new industries and jobs (54%), Australia is a strong, stable country that will be able to adapt to change (52%), and because Australian entrepreneurs will take advantage of emerging opportunities in new industries (45%).

The survey on Australians’ attitude towards innovation, jobs and future employment was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of AIIA*.

“There is widespread commentary that technological disruption will cause job loss without job replacement. However, our poll indicates the majority of Australians are actually positive about the future, despite fear mongering about loss of jobs as technology develops,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of AIIA. “The survey also found that the majority of Australians believe they will need to take charge of their own careers and reskilling as jobs evolve due to technology advancements, irrespective of the industry in which they are working.”

To adapt to technological change, Australians say workers need to stay up to date with changing technology in their industry (76%), undertake self-learning/further education (55%), access professional development through their workplace (53%), and be prepared to change careers or jobs as new roles emerge (51%).

 “History has demonstrated that technology and automation have increased productivity, improved the quality of goods and services, reduced prices and led to improved standards of living. It’s great that people are prepared to manage their own careers, however, it’s crucial that industry and government also respond appropriately to ensure Australians are well positioned to take advantage of new jobs and industries that will emerge on the back of new technologies,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

The survey indicated many Australians believe it is vitally important to support young people so they are prepared for the jobs of the future. The most popular approach is to improve education standards and the curriculum in STEM subjects (68%), while large numbers also said Australia should provide more workplace training opportunities for university and high school students (64%), develop more relevant vocational and education training programs (59%), and develop programs that promote resilience and confidence in young people (53%).

Areas respondents would like to see embracing innovation and technology include medical research and development to deliver cures and better health management (72%), helping disadvantaged people gain better access to appropriate support services (65%), and investing in technological change in existing Australian industries such as manufacturing and agriculture (58%).

The survey results coincide with the release of AIIA's Skills for Today, Jobs for Tomorrow whitepaper, which focuses on the urgent need for a practical strategy and action plan for the future of jobs.

“ICT and digital leaders must work proactively with governments and communities to develop practical strategies to build Australia’s digital literacy capabilities to prevent social and economic dislocation,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. “While history shows technology will ultimately add productivity and economic growth, our whitepaper is the start of what needs to be an ongoing conversation about developing an action plan to ensure Australians are adequately prepared for the jobs of the future,” he said.

* The Galaxy Poll was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of 1,004 Australians 18 years and older.
                    [post_title] => Technology, jobs, and government input
                    [post_excerpt] => What impact will new technologies have on future employment, and what's the government's role?
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                    [post_content] => 

Alan IvoryWith more and more government departments looking at ways they can digitally transform their practices, many are looking at software as a service (SaaS) providers as a core part of that strategy. Previously only consistent in their disparate approaches, a clear set of procurement practices are now emerging to ensure the successful integration of SaaS and maximise ROI.

Working with the biggest brands in the world, I have spent thousands of hours with both government and enterprise procurement teams. Over the last year, this has involved facing over 20 different procurement departments in Asia Pacific and globally across the finance, technology, telecommunications, retail, government and travel sectors. Based on that experience, below are my top tips for a smooth procurement process.
  1. Implementation first
SaaS procurement has changed the very nature of procurement teams and their core skillsets. Today’s best teams are no longer just looking at contract value or the software as a platform – they are looking at how the software will be adopted more widely by the organisation or department. This is so relevant in government where teams are often large and diversely skilled, getting the whole team on board early is essential. The success of a project depends upon the integrity of the implementation, hence executing this phase flawlessly can prevent issues from creeping up further down the line.
  1. End to end ownership
SaaS will inevitably impact multiple teams and departments. Staying involved and engaged throughout all the stakeholder reviews is the only way procurement can meaningfully understand the requirements unique to each unit. Where we used to see procurement collecting opinions, this deeper level of understanding provides a more balanced overview of the suppliers competing for the contract, so you are comparing apples with apples. For our business, this generally starts with the event team, then moves through marketing, finance and IT.
  1. The skill set
The single truth of a SaaS is it should improve your efficiency, ideally reducing the number of vendors you use. This, in turn, reduces risk, contracts, manual processes and overheads. To drive a more efficient procurement timeline, with stakeholder engagement still high at the critical onboarding phase, government organisations need to invest in personnel with a unique skillset. They will need to repeatedly bring multiple stakeholders across numerous teams together and extract the complex ways SaaS will impact, improve or challenge them. It’s a common mistake to have a ‘techy’ run this process. While they may understand the technical implications, we frequently see the engagement efforts derail due to the lack of experience in meeting facilitation.
  1. Operationally centric
Procurement based on contract terms and price is setting itself up for failure. Conversely, striving for operational excellence hallmarks the most successful outcomes. We are seeing the best procurement teams asking to complete pilots. Most SaaS providers will have a testing platform alongside their production platform.
  1. Don’t just test the software, test the integrations too
Integrations are a critical part of the SaaS procurement process. Look at how the software works within your own software climate - often something difficult to change within government. Determine the short term and long term goals and ask how the platform can fit into that. How will the data flow? What are the advantages and the costs to deploy? Leaders in this field are testing the integrations in pilot phases, ensuring they work with existing software, CRM, MA, financials, membership software, etc. Integration teams from the vendor and client agree on the integration piece and test with dummy data for a full end to end review. It’s also important to ask: what is the ROI of those integrations and what are the cost savings? Cost of implementation is no longer the primary focus, as organisations instead look to cost reductions of replacing manual processes and headcount reductions. The value inherent in provision of real-time analytics and big data enable further cost savings or revenue generation.
  1. Work in partnership
If you want the SaaS vendor to provide a project team to assist in the deployment, meet the team – not just the sales team. Make sure the team is local, has the resources, and will be dedicated to your organisation during the process. Ask who is running the project. If utilising the vendor’s professional services team, make sure there is an alignment between procurement so the expectations are unambiguous.
  1. Contract transparency
Make sure all of your internal stakeholders understand the contract. Previously a tightly-held document, we are seeing an evolution into contract transparency from the top tier procurement teams. The best implementations occur when significant time is invested in multi-team consultation and onboarding after the contract is signed, with positive uptake and a sense of ownership driving optimal engagement. Conversely, where stakeholders are given no sense of ownership or empowerment we are seeing poor adoption rates, departmental stand-offs and resentment from lack of buy-in.
  1. Own the onboarding
Most successful procurement teams have KPI linked to the successful outcome of the project implementation, not the contract value. There has never been better reason for procurement to have a part of the onboarding process, involving multi-team training of all stakeholders and any third-party agencies that may have interactions with the SaaS. If this process is not driven powerfully internally, then the project will stall here, no matter how motivated the vendor is. Disenfranchised stakeholders, under-skilled users, and lack of internal project management will quickly derail any SaaS uptake into your business.
  1. RFP
Surprisingly, software RFP have not evolved well with the digital era. Often they are a technically focused generic checklist of features, as opposed to focusing on organisational objectives. Make sure your RFP is up to date, has had input from the various departments and stakeholders, and is aligned with the its overall needs. Here are some of the more important, but often omitted, questions from RFP:
  • Security and compliance
Many organisations have multiple procurement teams. Australian banks and some government departments, for example, often have a security procurement team who review the security aspects of the platform and contract. Procurement teams must be aware of the compliance regulations, specifically when it comes to sensitive information. Being an informed consumer is key to success here; things to consider when developing your checklist are:
  • Where is the data stored?
  • What level of data security standards have you reached?
  • What level of encryption do you hold your data to?
  • Support
How will the platform be supported? How will the team be supported? Where is the support service located? Is this inclusive to the contract value or at an additional cost? Support can be very difficult to measure, so it is an extremely variable cost unless it is inclusive.
  • Team location
The beauty of a SaaS is that you are not bound by the location of a team of people – until you want specialised support or a professional services team to implement your projects for you. If there is any possibility this will be the case with your organisation, then it is important you know where the team will be located, how responsive they can be, and if they have the resources to dedicate time to you during the implementation process. Not surprisingly, it is the big consultancies, insurance companies, banks, technology companies and leading associations that are doing these things best. However, with accessible technology there is plenty of opportunity for government agencies and organisations to join the best-practice leaders for SaaS procurement. In a world of increasing scrutiny around data security and compliance, efficiency, and the importance of emotional intelligence, there is exciting scope for procurement professionals to step into this void and powerfully impact the return on investment which a well planned and executed SaaS procurement affords. Alan Ivory is the vice president- global professional services for event management SaaS provider etouches. [post_title] => SaaS procurement in government [post_excerpt] => The procurement practices that lead to successful integration. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => saas-procurement-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 16:17:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 06:17:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28068 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28019 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-14 16:28:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-14 06:28:43 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28020" align="alignnone" width="300"] Lismore City Council ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff.[/caption] Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras following a successful six-month trial of the surveillance equipment. Lismore has been trialling the technology among compliance staff including rangers and environmental health compliance officers. The cameras are used whenever a staff member is engaged to undertake an activity – from picking up a dangerous dog to issuing a parking fine – and the footage is then stored in an off-site location to prevent tampering. Each of the high-definition cameras can record 21 hours of video and audio, and compliance coordinator Matt Kelly said often simply having the cameras switched on can de-escalate potentially volatile scenarios. “Everyone tends to act more reasonably when they know they are being recorded – the cameras can often take the heat out of a situation because people are more conscious and aware of their actions,” he said. “From both a staff perspective and for members of the public, it provides transparency and ensures everyone is 100% accountable for their behaviour.” Matt said neighbouring councils had shown interest in the technology and he was pleased to report the trial had already been met with approval by the community and staff. “The feedback we have had so far has been very positive,” Matt said. “We want our community members to feel protected and we also want our staff to feel secure in performing their duties. The body cameras are a simple and effective way to provide peace of mind for everyone.”   [post_title] => Body cameras the new normal for compliance staff [post_excerpt] => Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => body-cameras-new-normal-compliance-staff-lismore [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:34:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:34:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28019 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27993 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 12:56:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 02:56:20 [post_content] => City of Darebin council in the northern suburbs of Melbourne is implementing business process management software to enhance the council’s focus on improved frontline customer service. The City of Darebin has a population of more than 150,000. The council’s full-time employees are responsible for providing a broad range of services to the community, including street lighting and signage, waste collection, maintenance of parks and sporting facilities. The move follows a comprehensive review by the council of customer service team processes as part of a customer service model review to ensure that policies and procedures relevant to customer queries are close at hand. At the same time, the council wants to provide an easy and fast way for staff to access a central repository of everyday processes. The cloud-based software will enable the organisation to map, review and improve processes on an ongoing basis, providing a faster, smarter way to deliver a range of appropriate and well-planned services. Coordinator of council planning and performance, civic governance and performance Jim Barrett at the City of Darebin said: “The software will assist in supporting the council’s strategic framework for planning and document integration. At the same time, it will play a pivotal role in enabling us to maintain a high level of governance across the entire organisation. “These processes involve many forms and include applications such as planning permits and waste bin replacements, which individually can be complex procedures and involve several departments within the council.” It will also enable the council to measure and demonstrate process efficiencies following rate capping. “We came across the Promapp system through our council colleagues in the local government sector and also appreciated the benefit of access to its local government shared process library that will enable us to share knowledge and learn from the experience of other councils throughout Australia and New Zealand,” said Mr Barrett. The cloud-based process library includes over 2,500 processes developed and shared by councils and includes processes for activities such as building consents, resource consents, wastewater management, environmental health and environmental monitoring. “The software will easily integrate with our existing intranet and we'll be able to embed it ad hoc within specific processes for different policies as they are developed in the years ahead,” said Mr Barrett. “The council plans to use lean management methodologies as part of our deployment to analyse and improve processes on an ongoing basis. The result for council residents is that they will see consistency in messaging with faster, more accurate service,” said Mr Barrett.   [post_title] => City of Darebin to boost customer service [post_excerpt] => City of Darebin is implementing business process management to enhance its focus on customer service. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-darebin-boost-customer-service [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 12:56:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 02:56:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27993 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27968 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 09:21:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 23:21:52 [post_content] => Helen Masters Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones have been a source of concern for local governments and regulatory authorities. While there are restrictions on the use of drones in public spaces for recreation, councils have a strong business case on the benefits of using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and physical assets. Drone technologies work with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software to deliver insights that go beyond basic maintenance and security activities. As local councils face tighter budgets, the biggest challenge is to have a hold of how facilities and assets that are spread over land, sea or in distant or awkward locations are performing. The synergy between drones and EAM helps improve the inspection process and allows councils to document asset conditions from public spaces such as parklands to building, facilities and infrastructure in an automated and more strategic manner. Brisbane City Council has demonstrated how drone images have been used to conduct inspections on council buildings, monitor wildlife populations in parks and to evaluate the potential for turf and event management. The use of drones will allow councils to assess if their public spaces will need pest or weed control in addition to regular maintenance work. Councils operating in regional or remote locations are often challenged with managing assets in places that may be difficult or dangerous to reach. At other times, these areas could be difficult to access such as the rooftop of building structures where machinery is situated. Instead of scaffolding and manually inspecting equipment on tall buildings, images from drones can provide technicians with valuable viewpoints and details about critical assets without having to physically attend to a site. Expanding the lifecycle of facilities and infrastructure requires monitoring performance and conducting preventative maintenance of each council asset. This is particularly important for critical infrastructure that cannot fall over such as security systems, drainage systems or public roads. With drones, the ability to deliver high-resolution imagery helps maintenance crews determine where to focus their attention and resources. Going beyond photographic images, drone technology can even supply infrared and x-ray images to detect structural issues or dangerous leaks in an environment that may be potentially unsafe for humans. These advancements ensure drones have an embedded role in facility management, fleet management and asset management by expanding the capabilities of field crews. Over time, physical inspections can be replaced with drones capturing historical images for real-time assessments. With the widespread adoption of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in local council buildings, a drone with infrared thermal-imaging features can survey solar panels to identify damaged panels for maintenance. The use of drones alone only solves one part of the challenge faced by today’s asset managers. To achieve the most of this technology, data and imagery must be paired with a sophisticated asset management system that incorporates historical records, maintenance standards and other sensor information to assess conditions and determine maintenance requirements. This includes the identification of corrosion, detecting hairline cracks, spillages or leaks, to perform dilapidation assessments or land surveys. Data collected from each of these areas must be assessed and captured in real-time by a receiving asset management program. Asset managers would be able to cross-reference the condition of assets today in real time against the condition of assets from previous images or sensor readings. Through this process, they can determine the next course of action in the asset management lifecycle by comparing this data against manufacturing or industry standards. A comprehensive asset management strategy that includes drones for inspections provides a meaningful alternative strategy to traditional asset management. Such solutions have the ability to shift operations and maintenance processes from a reactive to proactive mode. Bringing drones, sensors and comprehensive asset management solutions together can help councils extend the useful life of their critical assets. As budgets and resources become increasingly scarce in local governments, drones could be the solution for councils looking to proactively manage their critical and valuable assets. Helen Masters is the vice president and managing director of Infor South Asia-Pacific and ASEAN. Footnote: US futurist Thomas Frey, speaking on the future of drones at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane predicts there will be one billion drones worldwide by 2030 (in this he includes land- and water-based UAV as well).   [post_title] => Local councils and drones [post_excerpt] => Councils have a strong business case for using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and assets. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => getting-local-councils-board-drones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27968 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27953 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-06 14:51:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-06 04:51:11 [post_content] => The Australian National University (ANU) has announced a 10-year program to drive an artificial intelligence revolution in Australia. The expansion will be led by one of the world’s top technologists, Professor Genevieve Bell, and will be based within the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science. Professor Bell recently joined ANU from Intel as the first of five appointments under the ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Fellows scheme. She has also been appointed the inaugural Florence Violet McKenzie Chairperson at ANU, named in honour of Australia’s first female electrical engineer. Under the expansion, Professor Bell will lead a new Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute, to be known as the 3A Institute, co-founded with CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s largest data innovation network. The 3A Institute will bring together researchers from around the world and a range of disciplines to tackle complex problems around artificial intelligence, data and technology and managing their impact on humanity. ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said ANU was driven to help solve the most pressing problems facing the world and the new institute will drive innovation, research and policy responses. “It isn’t just about engineering and computer science, it’s also about anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, philosophy, public policy and many other disciplines – you have got to put it all together to get to the best answers possible,” Professor Schmidt said. “Professor Bell’s extraordinary experience and depth of knowledge in this area will ensure Australia remains prepared to meet the big social, cultural and political questions around our technological future.” Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said the 3A Institute would build on Australia’s strengths in cyber systems. “Australia has an opportunity to be a leader and to seed new industries of global relevance as IT, biological and advanced materials disciplines converge and become data-driven,” he said. “Building on our national strengths in cyber-physical systems, interdisciplinary research is needed now more than ever to understand how we can integrate resulting new technologies into our lives for economic and societal benefit. “The 3A Institute will be an important way for us to achieve this and move the nation forward. Data61 is delighted to be contributing talent and resources towards this collaboration as Founding Partner.” Professor Bell said there was a critical set of questions to be answered around autonomy, agency and assurance if the world is to meet challenges of future technology. “We, as humans, are simultaneously terrified, optimistic and ultimately ambivalent about what it’s going to be like,” she said. “How are we going to feel in a world where autonomous agents are doing things and we aren’t? How are we going to be safe in this world? “We will be looking closely at risk, indemnity, privacy, trust – things that fall under this broad term ‘assurance’.”   [post_title] => ANU, CSIRO to drive AI revolution [post_excerpt] => The ANU has announced major expansion to drive societal response to the artificial intelligence revolution. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => anu-csiro-drive-ai-revolution [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:49:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:49:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27953 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27921 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 16:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:12:30 [post_content] => The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) have announced they will collaborate to build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD. The installation - The Future Street - is to be part of AILA’s national Festival of Landscape Architecture, a four-day event on conceiving, reimagining and transforming the outside world from streetscapes to parks and playgrounds, transport solutions to tourism strategies, to new suburbs and even cities. AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie said: “The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology, that have resulted in a unique collaboration to help imagine the important role our streets can play in the future.” SCCANZ executive director Adam Beck described the event as a project that “provides us with the opportunity to show government, industry and the community the exciting outcomes from weaving the digital, natural and built environments together in this important public space: the street.” The idea behind The Future Street originated from an event run by AILA and SCCANZ in late 2016, where a number of planning and design professionals gathered to reimagine the role of streets under a range of disruptions, such as climate change, autonomous vehicles, and rapid technological change. The third partner of The Future Street, IOTAA, has joined AILA and SCCANZ to help deliver a showcase of the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTAA CEO Frank Zeichner said of the installation: “This project provides the opportunity to showcase the benefit of IoT to our cities, economy, and the community. IOT provides the opportunity to grow Australia’s competitiveness, innovation landscape and liveability, by connecting data, devices, people, processes and things to the internet. It helps people make better and more informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes.” The Future Street will be open for public viewing during the Festival of Landscape Architecture, from 12-15 October 2017, and showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport and urban design and place-making features. The installation will be supported by a program of topical discussions and case studies. It is also planned that the installation will gather and report on real-time data, highlighting the capabilities of technology and the effectiveness of various deployed strategies. If you are interested in being part of the installation contact Shelley Kemp at shelley.kemp@aila.org.au.   [post_title] => Industry and government collaborate on streets of the future [post_excerpt] => The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-government-collaborate-design-streets-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 16:14:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:14:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27921 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27912 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 15:12:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 05:12:56 [post_content] => Michael Aaron For a technology that started out as the basis of cryptocurrency, blockchain has evolved to be so much more. Today, blockchain is poised to disrupt the way dozens of industries are operating, and set to revolutionise the public sector. Indeed, nine in ten government organisations globally plan to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018, and here in Australia, the trajectory looks similar. Last year, Data61 and Australian government agencies announced that they are undertaking a detailed study to determine what blockchain could all mean for both government and industry. The review will look to provide practical use cases where blockchain technology could be piloted in government services and the private sector, such as sharable registry information, verifiable supply chains and assessment of aggregate risk exposure in the financial services sector. Blockchain is a distributed database that can be used by individuals who want to complete transactions involving multiple parties. Large organisations can use it to collaborate across multiple organisational silos. Large, cross-industry ecosystems may want to use blockchain to handle complex transactions across multiple jurisdictions, and governments may want to use blockchain to help their citizens or in the delivery of new government applications. Trust has never been more important for governments in Australia and around the world. Globalisation means that governments need to find ways to expand the economy, and new ways to improve citizen engagement and accountability. The integration of blockchain technology into government activities will help local, state and federal governments move past a lack of trust, providing transparency for transactions. Ledgers have been used for centuries by governments and businesses to keep account of assets and liabilities, property, records and relevant transactions. But traditionally, ledgers were private and guarded, seen only by an internal few, or auditors. Blockchain takes this old and simple concept and takes it to a new level. Simply put, blockchain acts as a distributed open ledger that can be used to register and record property transactions, healthcare initiatives to track medical records, citizen services and much more. Day-to-day, blockchain can also help government processes and purchases more efficient, reducing the chances of fraud and error. In Australia, private sector organisations are already looking to blockchains as a potential new disruptor. For example, Agricultural technology business AgriDigital, executed the world’s first live settlement of the sale of an agricultural commodity on a blockchain with the sale of 23.46 tonnes of grain in central NSW. Australia Post, announced last year that it was looking at a blockchain technology project for the storing of digital identities, while AGL Energy will test how using blockchain technology could allow households to trade surplus energy from their rooftop solar panels. This initiative will also involve IBM and distributed energy advisers Marchment Hill Consulting and it is hoped it will highlight the regulatory and system changes needed to make the market work effectively, the value in peer-to-peer energy markets, as well as how blockchain technology can be leveraged to make it more effective. Because participants in a transaction on a blockchain have access to the same records, there is no need for third-party intermediaries to validate transactions or verify identities or ownership. Business licenses, property titles, vehicle registrations and other records could all be shifted to blockchains, freeing citizens from the need for lawyers, notaries and trips to government offices to certify that transactions are legal. Additionally, with blockchain consumers, business partners and government groups alike could know with certainty how things are made, stored, transported and sold – whether those assurances relate to child labor, materials or the environment. In a recent global study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) and the Economist Intelligence Unit, it was found that government organisations around the world are prioritising blockchain to help reduce innovation roadblocks and inaccurate or incomplete information across their organisations. The results of the study show:
  • Seven in ten government executives predict blockchain will significantly disrupt the area of contract management, which is often the intersection of the public and private sectors
  • 14% of 'trailblazer' government institutions expect to have blockchain in production at scale by 2017, and are utilising blockchain to help reduce time, cost and risk in regulatory compliance, contract engagement, identity management and citizen services.
  • Six in ten governments recognise regulatory constraints as the greatest barrier to the adoption of blockchains, followed closely by what they perceive as immature technology and lack of executive buy-in
The study also found that Asia Pacific is setting the pace of adoption along with Western Europe, with North America trailing. But unlike Western Europe (which ranked 'financial transaction management' as the top area for new business models) and North America, (which focused on the potential of 'borderless services'), Asia Pacific governments expected 'citizen services' to be the area that delivered the greatest innovation through blockchain. Countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, are set to be among the first to really grasp blockchain technology, with the government agencies taking on the technology. This could potentially see these governments begin to make transactions that in the past, they wouldn’t have – this comes down to blockchain addressing the lack of trust issue. Disruption, especially in bureaucratic institutions is rare. Decades later, even the Internet hasn’t drastically changed how governments operate and rarely do they compete in personalized citizen services. That could change as blockchains evolve to bring closer collaboration among citizens and government institutions. Open data (e.g. data that helps pinpoint the optimal location for a new retailer or record soil conditions for farmers) is arguably among a government’s greatest assets. As the societal value from that data grows, government organisations will need to ensure that their data is easily accessible, free to use and available in a consumable format. Likewise, institutions will need to take greater safeguards to protect that data from cyber-attacks. Open data on blockchains meets these imperatives, and can help governments become open governments. Through blockchain technology, government will be better able perform its dual role of facilitating the business innovation of citizens and, at the same time, co-creating better services for citizens, founded on openness and trust. Michael Aaron is the Blockchain leader at IBM.     [post_title] => Blockchain: from e-government to open government [post_excerpt] => The blockchain is set to revolutionise the public sector and disrupt the way dozens of industries are operating. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => blockchain-e-government-open-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 15:17:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 05:17:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27912 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27895 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 20:15:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 10:15:53 [post_content] => The Commonwealth Government has announced significant reforms to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. Starting immediately, government IT contracts will be capped at a maximum value of $100 million or three years’ duration. This is to allow small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to bid for smaller components of larger projects. Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the Government was aiming to inject an additional $650 million annually into small Australian tech companies. “Government is targeting an increase of 10% of its annual $6.5 billion IT spending to smaller operators,” Assistant Minister Taylor said. “A cap is now in place to limit the term and value of government IT contracts. We are reducing the number of IT panels to make it easier for small players to supply services. We are actively encouraging small innovators to sell us their ideas.” The reforms were recommendations from the ICT Procurement Taskforce report. The taskforce found “a culture of risk-aversion in government procurement had undermined the freedom to innovate and experiment”. The ten recommendations from the taskforce cover issues such as developing ICT-specific procurement principles, building strategic partnerships, data-driven reporting, enhancing the Australian Public Service’s procurement skills, and new procurement methods. Work will continue over the next 12 months to deliver more pathways to improve coordination and reduce duplication of ICT procurement across government. The DTA’s increased oversight of the government’s IT investment portfolio and its work to build digital capability will address the calls for a more strategic IT procurement approach and a stronger technical workforce. The ICT procurement taskforce was established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in October 2016 and became the responsibility of the Digital Transformation Agency in February 2017, the Minister said. Industry welcomes the move Rob Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) said the changes were an important step forward to make it easier and less expensive for smaller Australian ICT companies to bid for components of larger projects and have the opportunity to do business with the Government. “We welcome the government’s commitment to build improved procurement capabilities and introduce new ICT procurement options aimed to streamline and speed up processes for both government and vendors. “These changes are in line with recommendations made by AIIA to provide a more level playing field. “We are particularly pleased to hear the Minister’s strong commitment to cloud services across government and to reforming existing panel arrangements. “To succeed, it will be important to implement the spirit of these changes effectively, and industry looks forward to working with the government to ensure an effective rollout.” [post_title] => Federal Govt restructures IT procurement worth $6.5bn [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has made significant changes to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-govt-restructure-procurement-worth-6-5bn [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:55:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:55:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27895 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27873 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 14:53:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 04:53:05 [post_content] => Whilst a number of licences are already available in electronic (digital) versions in NSW, the drivers’ licence is set to become digital in 2019. Digital drivers’ licence trial to begin in November The NSW Government is preparing to launch testing of the digital drivers’ licence technology in Dubbo in November. Dubbo residents who participate in the trial will be able to use their digital driver licence, accessible on a mobile phone, for proof of identity and proof of age to gain entry into pubs and clubs as well for roadside Police checks. NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said: “This trial is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow Dubbo motorists to use their digital driver licence in everyday scenarios with Police and selected licenced establishments. “The trial will draw on the learnings from the successful roll-out of digital RSA/RCG, boat and fishing licences over the past two years. Today we are a step closer to fulfilling an election commitment of delivering a digital driver licence by 2019.” Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said: “A person’s driver licence is an important proof of identity document. This trial is an opportunity to demonstrate the additional levels of identity security and increased protection against identity fraud that a digital licence provides compared to a physical one,” Mrs Pavey said. The digital licence requires motorists to install the trial app, register a MyServiceNSW account, and add their NSW driver licence details. Other licences now available in digital form The recent launch of the digital licence platform means residents can now access three NSW government licences and permits digitally using their mobile phone or tablet. The first licences to become available were:
  • Recreational Fishing Fee.
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card.
  • Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.
Digital licences are currently available on an opt-in basis, users still receive a physical licence or permit. When asked to display the licence or permit, they have the choice to provide either the physical card or digital licence. [post_title] => D-licence to become an e-licence [post_excerpt] => The NSW drivers’ licence is set to become electronic in 2019, joining three others already available in digital form. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => d-licence-become-e-licence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-22 10:26:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-22 00:26:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27873 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27852 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-17 20:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 10:00:35 [post_content] => Dean Lacheca Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms - chatbots, virtual assistants and messaging-based applications - are opening new government service delivery channels. Government CIO need to quickly determine the role of these channels, adjust their digital service delivery strategies and extend their digital government platform to exploit these new opportunities. Many are already taking notice. Governments are prioritising the implementation of virtual assistants more than many other industry vertical. A recent Gartner survey indicates that 60 percent of government organisations undertaking artificial intelligence and machine learning projects identify virtual assistants as a project goal. This is in line with growing expectation from citizens of being able to access government services via conversational applications. The Australian Taxation Office recently introduced virtual assistant Alex on its website to help support general taxation enquiries from Australian citizens. Platforms like these consist of multiple related AI technologies that support an interactive and intuitive style of communication. Conversational applications aim to increase customer satisfaction by reducing customers' need to navigate a complex website or transactional portal. At the same time, they reduce the wait time and resources required to respond to basic government inquiries. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant technology across engagement channels. Service provider and government-to-government interactions can also be delivered through conversational applications. Large departments and agencies can use virtual employee assistants to offer more consistent and efficient delivery of internally facing services such as IT help desk, legal, HR and financial services. Most government services, however, particularly those that involve care or case management, will require human involvement for the foreseeable future. Virtual customer assistants or chatbots can be offered as an alternative or supporting channel to many direct citizen and business-facing services. Where to start 1. Educate IT and customer experience leaders Conversational applications suffer from negative customer experience perceptions based on older technologies and involvement with poor implementations. Customer experience leaders need to comfortable with, and have confidence in, the quality and consistency of the service delivered by the conversational applications. This will require effort to dispel historical misconceptions. Confidence will grow as understanding and experience of the quality and potential for the service grow. It's equally important to set expectations with the business regarding the take-up of these alternate channels. Though conversational applications should form part of a multichannel service delivery strategy, accept that these channels won't be accepted by all citizens or staff in the short term. Educate customer experience leaders on the potential for conversational applications and establish vendor showcases or workshops to offer firsthand experience. Then implement an internal pilot of a virtual employee assistant to develop technical skills and create an example to help guide decisions and future strategy. 2. Identify and prioritise opportunities Many uses for conversational applications exist throughout government. They deliver the best results when the right style or combination of applications is implemented to support the right type of service. Implementing a conversational application is a significant investment and should only be considered for services that are used frequently. Given conversational applications won't be accepted by all citizens, it's important to understand the service consumer. When targeting citizens, consider factors such as demographics, including language background. When targeting businesses, assess the nature of the business digital maturity of the industry. When targeting government-to-government services, consider the digital maturity of other agencies. When targeting staff, consider the digital maturity of your own agency. Start by preparing a list of conversational application opportunities based on potential uses and the services delivered by your agency. Work in partnership with your customer experience leaders to refine and prioritise this list based on the complexity of the responses, the demand for the services and the demographics of the targeted audience, including language background. 3. Revise your digital government strategy Citizens already engage governments across different channels, and their expectation is to receive the same quality of service across all channels. Unfortunately, many agencies struggle to see service delivery channels beyond traditional digital channels like websites and portals. A digital government strategy should embed multichannel citizen engagement as a foundation of service delivery. The strategy should reinforce the importance of consistency across channels and seamless transition between channels. Multichannel service delivery should apply equally to services aimed at government staff, forming part of the digital workplace strategy. A strategic focus on multichannel service delivery will influence the architecture of your citizen/customer experience platform to support conversational applications. Develop a business case to secure funding for further AI research and projects. Dean Lacheca is a public sector research director at Gartner, helping government CIO and technology leaders with their transition to digital government. He will speak about digital government trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia, 30 October-2 November 2017.   [post_title] => Conversational AI in government [post_excerpt] => Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are opening new government service delivery channels. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => conversational-ai-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 20:22:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 10:22:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27852 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27843 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-17 18:25:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 08:25:28 [post_content] => The University of Technology Sydney Institute for Public Policy and Governance has released a new resource for local government: How local governments can increase the social and economic participation of people with disability: A place-based framework for success. More than four million, or almost one in five, Australians are living with disability across every one of the 537 LGA in Australia. This resource, based on extensive engagement with more than 200 councils across Australia, provides a national picture of the variety of ways local governments currently support people with disability where they live. The resource aims to share this knowledge and support local governments to:
  • Engage people with disability about their needs.
  • Plan, implement and measure outcomes.
  • Build collaborative networks and partnerships.
  • Advocate within and outside the sector.
  • Boost local employment.
The resource has been designed for use by all local governments across Australia. This includes small rural and large metropolitan local governments, those in growth areas and those with ageing populations. It can be used to guide thinking and decision making about how to deliver, enable or advocate for services to increase the participation of people with disability in their communities. Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Governance and the Centre for Local Government Professor Roberta Ryan said of the research: “Throughout the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) trial period, people with disability identified community participation as one of their top three support needs, and a significant proportion of NDIS expenditure is being spent on services which enable and enhance this outcome. “With the continued roll-out of the NDIS, the local government sector has an important role to support people with disability achieve greater social and economic participation in their community. This also presents an opportunity for local governments, as greater participation will lead to increased community expenditure and potentially generate local employment opportunities.” The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) grant funded the research, reflecting the important role local governments will play in supporting the social and economic participation of people with disability into the future, as NDIS reforms roll out. The resource and all related materials are available at ippg.org.au. [post_title] => Disability inclusion framework for local governments [post_excerpt] => UTS Sydney Institute for Public Policy and Governance has released a new resource for local government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => disability-inclusion-framework-local-governments [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 19:16:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 09:16:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27843 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27795 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 14:06:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 04:06:18 [post_content] => The Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) in July produced the Smart Central Western Queensland: A Digitally Enabled Community Strategic Plan. As part of that plan, the councils proposed an  Outback Telegraph, which involves the mayors of seven Central West Queensland councils, the RAPAD members. Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in these remote areas. The plan is to roll-out free Wi-Fi by this group of councils - covering one-fifth of the state - to boost visitor numbers and business through technology. The first stage of the Outback Telegraph has been switched on by Winton Shire Council, with the smart tourism pilot a first for Queensland. When the network gets up and running it will be – in total council area – the biggest single public Wi-Fi network in Australia. The Queensland Government contributed $15,000 to jumpstart the pilot, and Winton Shire Council is also pitching in. RAPAD will fund the extension of the Outback Telegraph smart tourism platform to all key centres in the region, reaching some of the most remote communities in the state. Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said: “This is about driving opportunities and using the power of digital connectivity to tell the world about outback Queensland. “Providing more opportunities to go online and do research on-the-go and share pictures and stories will be good for tourists and trade in small rural towns. I congratulate Winton Shire Council for taking the ground-breaking steps to provide free public Wi-Fi in the outback, and government officers in Rockhampton and Brisbane who worked with councils to make it happen.” RAPAD board member and Mayor of Barcoo Shire Council, Bruce Scott said the next stage of the regional Wi-Fi network will add more locations, including Longreach, Barcaldine and Windorah. “A single sign-on for the Central West means visitors won’t have to re-enter their details as they move around, making it much more convenient to stay connected during their travels,” he said. “This is the first step towards making the Central West a smart region, where technology supports important local industries like tourism, and makes our communities better connected and more liveable.” Winton Mayor Cr Butch Lenton acknowledged the pulling power of public Wi-Fi. “It will be a magnet to people with mobile devices who are a long way from their family and friends and travelling around the countryside,” he said. “Connectivity is essential to running businesses in rural Queensland, and for travellers, and I’m proud our council is pioneering a terrific project that is crossing new boundaries.” Visitors will be able to connect to the network through the Outback Telegraph app, which will be available from Google and Apple in coming days. The mobile app can also interact with smart beacons placed around town, allowing the user to access additional information about local businesses, receive a coupon or special offer; and guide them on discovery walks. Mayor Lenton said Winton Shire Council is collecting tourism statistics from the free Wi-Fi to show how visitors are moving through the region and where they are and are not stopping. “We can build stronger businesses with this data. Winton has a rich history that includes the Great Shearers’ Strike, Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda, Qantas, and a dinosaur stampede, and also opal fields and a wide variety of animals and bird life in the area," he said. “Free Wi-Fi can help us share our stories, history and visitor experiences on social channels to entice more tourists and encourage them to stay longer once they’re here,” he said. The Outback Telegraph will be showcased at this week’s Bush Councils Convention in Charters Towers, with RAPAD also hoping to hold an upcoming ‘hacking’ event for the Central West to come up with ideas leveraging the regional Wi-Fi, app and beacons. [post_title] => RAPAD to deliver WiFi to outback councils [post_excerpt] => The Outback Telegraph proposes to switch on public Wi-Fi in many of Queensland's remote areas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rapad-deliver-wifi-outback-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:05:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:05:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27795 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28084 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content] => Peter Tran Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. 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ICT