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A large urban park creates a "connected" visitor experience with SMART.NODEs™

Sydney NSW, Australia
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ENE.HUB US, LLC
Contact Partner

Goverment Champion

Business Development, Parks Department

Cost

Initial:
2 Million USD

Project Status

Operational since 2018

Keywords

Smart City
LED
Parks
IoT
electric vehicle charging

Challenges Addressed

Essential Services
Digital Divide
Law Enforcement and Emergency Response
Renewables

Motivation

Smart city

Funding / Financing

Design-Build-Operate-Maintain Contracts

Project Type

Technology
Tool
Service

At a Glance

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney (RBGS) sought to improve the overall visitor experience by transforming the public space using smart technologies. By discretely integrating a network of SMART.NODEs™ that is both multi-purpose and aesthetic, RBGS was able to achieve its stated goal of creating a "Connected Garden".

Problem Addressed

Despite its beauty and allure, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, a 74-acre public park located in the heart of Sydney, has always suffered from poor to non-existent connectivity. As one of the 10 most visited sites in Australia, the 200-year-old Garden attracts over five million visitors from all over the world and hosts up to 20 major events each year, but lacked reliable cell service and Wi-Fi which has become essential to human activity worldwide. The ability to use Facetime, Instagram, Snapchat, read a newspaper online, do some work, or even a simple text is an important emotional connection for many people - especially international travelers and ex-pats who want to show Sydney to a global audience.

RBGS was also interested in implementing other transformative services such as improved LED lighting throughout the park, CCTV cameras, emergency assist buttons, and EV charging stations. But how to accomplish this in such a pristine environment without degrading the natural beauty of the park was a major challenge. Any solution, therefore, would have to be based on a multi-purpose, aesthetic infrastructure platform to preserve and protect the unique character of the Garden.

Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust Sydney used/is using a network of SMART.NODEs™ with cell service and Wi-Fi to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

In order to realize its vision for the "Connected Garden", RBGS contacted ENE.HUB to design, fund, implement, build, and maintain a fiber-connected network of 40 SMART.NODEs™, the most advanced Smart City enabler available today, to deliver all the smart technologies the Garden was looking to deploy as the foundation of its digital strategy. The multi-purpose and aesthetic SMART.NODEs™ were installed throughout the 74-acre public space and once connected to 24-hour power and fiber, the network provided:

* 4G mobile connectivity (upgradeable to 5G) and high-speed WiFi.

* Energy-efficient smart controlled LED lighting and beacons

* CCTV Camera System

*Ranger Assist push-buttons

* Wayfinding signs and banners

* Electric vehicle charge points

* General-purpose power points

* CMS - a Central Management System software platform with command and control functionality

All of this was done while protecting the Garden's unique environment through the elegant, minimal, and modern form factor of the SMART.NODE™, which was painted dark green to blend into its surroundings. Moreover, SMART.NODEs™ provide additional space for new technologies thereby delivering a common infrastructure platform that is future proof.

Outcomes

  1. Reliable and ubiquitous connectivity now allows visitors to stay connected inside the Garden as well as share their experiences in realtime with friends and family all over the world.
  2. The "Connect Garden" app created by the RBGS introduced an interactive platform to engage with the Garden. The wireless platform enabled the app to be used while in the Garden.
  3. Energy-efficient LED lighting provided superior illumination and improved safety after dark. This led to more people using the park after dusk.
  4. Curb-side and parking lot EV Charging capabilities provided the necessary infrastructure to promote green solutions.
  5. CCTV Cameras and Ranger assist buttons helped people feel safer by providing surveillance of the RBGS and a two-way communications system to call for help in an emergency.

Lessons Learned

  1. In solving immediate problems such as poor connectivity using a common infrastructure platform, cities are presented with opportunities to address others such as lighting and security.

Something Unique

In conjunction with this project, the RBGS developed a new interactive Garden app and an improved, more accessible content-rich website for visitors.

Who Should Consider?

Cities with designated design and park districts interested in developing Smart City projects that utilize a common infrastructure solution that is 1) technology agnostic, 2) future-proof, and 3) aesthetics.

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