ALMOST 250 PEOPLE DROWNED ACROSS AUSTRALIA LAST YEAR. A SPATE OF TRAGIC INCIDENTS ON NSW BEACHES IN EARLY 2019 HAS AGAIN HIGHLIGHTED THE NEED FOR INCREASED BEACH SAFETY AND AWARENESS OF DANGEROUS CONDITIONS.
IN A WORLD-FIRST APPLICATION OF CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY AND SMART INFRASTRUCTURE, SMART BEACHES WILL IMPROVE BEACH SAFETY, PROVIDE REAL-TIME UPDATES ON CONDITIONS FOR LIFEGUARDS AND BEACHGOERS, AND INCREASE PUBLIC AMENITY.
WHY DO WE NEED SMART BEACHES?
Anything that improves public safety and amenity on our beaches is a good thing and technology is now at a point where it can help provide these benefits. Currently, there is inconsistency in the nature of beach data collection along Australia’s coast, with different councils collecting different information relating to crowd numbers, activity and localised conditions.
Collection and recording of beach usage information is a time-consuming and imprecise task for professional lifeguards. Smart Beaches will provide reliable, uniform, objective information, allowing them to focus more on their primary role of protecting public safety.
Smart Beaches will provide immediate, constant condition reports specific to each beach and surf break covered by the project, filling in gaps left by existing surfing and weather apps, and websites.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
Sensors and a mix of other smart infrastructure will monitor wave and swell movement to provide earlier detection of dangerous conditions, while others will monitor visitor activity to gauge which beaches and amenities (parking, outdoor showers etc) are busiest at any given time. The data these sensors collect will be transmitted in real-time to lifeguards, local councils and the community via a user-friendly smartphone interface.
Information about beach usage will help ensure amenities such as toilets, showers and rubbish bins are adequately maintained.
New software, tailored specifically for Smart Beaches, will enable ‘machine learning’, where computer modelling and analysis of data improves over time to enable more accurate prediction of conditions. This will help inform beach safety planning.
HOW IS IT FUNDED?
The project has received $910,000 in funding under Round Two of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, encouraging collaborative, cutting-edge projects that improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Australian cities, towns and suburbs.
Smart Beaches will build on Round One of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, which included funding for the Technology for Urban Liveability Program (TULIP), led by the University of Technology Sydney in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council.
WHICH BEACHES ARE INCLUDED?
Pending the success of this trial and ongoing funding, the technology could be rolled out to other beaches nationally and internationally.
WHAT'S THE TIMELINE?
Smart Beaches technology will be developed and trialled over the next 12 months, with plans to roll it out by mid-2020.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Lake Macquarie City Council and Northern Beaches Council will be running a series of community engagement programs during the project.
Keep an eye on this website for updates or join our mailing list
World-first smart beaches platform wins $910,000 Federal grant - 22 November 2018
Over $900,000 for Lake Macquarie City Council Smart City Project - 22 November 2018
Smart tech project aims to reduce coastal drownings - 8 February 2019
World-first smart beaches platform wins $910,000 Federal grant
Date posted: 22 November 2018
Lake Macquarie City Council will develop a world-first smart beaches platform to make beaches safer, reduce the risk of coastal drownings and improve public amenities.
The Australian Government has awarded Council a $910,000 grant to implement the new system, in conjunction with Northern Beaches Council and University of Technology Sydney,
Central to the concept is the collection and real-time transmission of information about beach conditions, public amenities and services.
The information will be made available to the community via smartphone apps and interactive digital displays at the pilot beaches, one in each of the Lake Macquarie and Northern Beaches Local Government Areas.
Sensors installed along the beach will monitor wave and swell movement, while others will monitor beach activity to gauge when beaches are busiest.
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Kay Fraser, said the ultimate aim was to reduce coastal drownings and increase safety awareness among beachgoers.
“This technology will provide our lifeguards and the general public with valuable, real-time information and reporting, helping to create safer beaches for everyone,” Cr Fraser said.
“It is world-first technology which will be developed and trialled over the next 12 months, with the hope to roll it out at the end of the 18-month project, including an app with up-to-the-minute localised beach information, including weather and surf conditions, and how busy the beach is.
“Our local government area includes 32km of spectacular coast and four patrolled beaches, which collectively attract more than 1.4 million people a year so we know such an app will be a popular tool for many of our beach goers.”
Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan, said he was thrilled this important project had been able to attract the significant funding required to make it work.
“Advances in technology means there are now opportunities to provide more detailed, timely and readily available information about local beach conditions,” Mr Regan said.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to provide information to our community and to keep them safe.
“These new tools tick both boxes, providing an even better and safer experience for all beach users.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with project partners to maximise the opportunity for our community.”
Senior Research Consultant Andrew Tovey, from the UTS Knowledge Economy Institute, said the project was “an exciting opportunity” for all parties involved.
“This project will explore a range of emerging smart technologies and world-leading research in a real-life and quintessentially Australian context,” Mr Tovey said.
“We look forward to working closely with lifeguards and communities to get this new tech working effectively and appropriately to make our beaches safer and more enjoyable than ever before.”
Lake Macquarie City Council’s Leisure Services Manager, Brad Sutton, said the technology would have application on any beaches further afield – around Australia and internationally.
“This Australian Government grant is a wonderful opportunity for Lake Macquarie and the Northern Beaches to lead the pack with smart beaches technology and make our mark on the world stage,” Mr Sutton said.
The concept will complement existing measures employed by both Lake Macquarie and Northern Beaches Council including lifeguards, drone technology and early shark detection systems.
The grant announcement is timely, with summer just days away and a recent report revealing coastal drownings in Australia are on the rise.
Other project partners include: Orion Integration, Nokia, Urban Institute, Dantia, NNNCo, Meshed, NSW Data Analytics Centre, Civiq, SUMS, Australian Coastal Councils Association, Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association, Reekoh, Surf Life Saving NSW and Lake Macquarie Tourism.
This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.
Over $900,000 for Lake Macquarie City Council Smart City Project
Date posted: 22 November 2018
Liberal Senator for New South Wales, Arthur Sinodinos welcomed the announcement that the Coalition Government has announced successful projects under Round Two of the smart cities and suburbs program. The Lake Macquarie City Council has received $910,185 for their Smart Beaches Project.
The Smart Beaches project combines smart infrastructure technologies with data analytics and machine learning to generate new real time and forecasted insights into beach conditions and visitation.
The project aims to improve current beach safety services.
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said the world-first technology would be developed and trialled over the next 12 months, with the hope to roll it out at the end of the 18-month project.
“Our local government area includes 32km of spectacular coast and four patrolled beaches, which collectively attract more than 1.4 million people a year,” Cr Fraser said.
Cr Fraser said “Advances in technology means there are now opportunities to provide more detailed, timely and readily available information about local beach conditions. These new tools will help address that issue, providing an even better experience for all beach users.”
Senator Sinodinos said “I congratulate the Lake Macquarie City Council on behalf of the Morrison Government. This funding ensures that Smart Beaches goes ahead. Our cities and suburbs need to be smarter in order for our communities to be safer, more liveable and enjoyable.”
“It is imperative that all governments continue to work together to undertake the smarter planning that will lead to the development of smarter cities. The Smart Cities and Suburbs Program delivers one of the Government’s 2016 election commitments.” Senator Sinodinos said.
Senator Sinodinos said “We look forward to monitoring and supporting the development of the Smart Beaches Project in the coming months.”
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said many of the projects will collect valuable, sensor based data that, once analysed, could mean sharing the projects nationally, and internationally.
“This program helps local governments who are pushing the boundaries with new ideas to address livability issues that are facing local communities everywhere,” Minister Tudge said.
“The program encourages collaboration between local governments, industry, research organisations, tech start-ups and manufacturers in cities and towns across Australia. These partnerships in turn support the growth of emerging industries and help build smart city capability at the local level.”
For more information visit infrastructure.gov.au/cities/smart-cities.
Smart tech project aims to reduce coastal drownings
Date posted: 8 February 2019
Above: University of Technology Sydney Associate Dean, External Engagement, Professor Myriam Amielh, Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, NSW Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan at Redhead Beach
A new world-first beach safety initiative will use cutting-edge technology in a bid to curb the growing number of drownings along the New South Wales coast.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the Smart Beaches Project, launched today, would provide real-time updates for lifeguards and beachgoers to increase safety and improve public amenity.
“The Smart Beaches Project will see new technology installed along the shores of trial beaches in Sydney and Lake Macquarie, providing immediate condition reports to lifeguards and surf lifesavers,” Mr Tudge said.
“Sensors will be combined with a mix of other smart infrastructure to monitor wave and swell movements and provide earlier detection of dangerous conditions.”
Senator for New South Wales Arthur Sinodinos said the project had received $910,000 through Round 2 of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
The program supports collaborative, smart technology projects that improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Australian cities, towns and suburbs.
“There is no silver bullet when it comes to eliminating the tragedy of coastal drownings – there are simply too many factors involved,” SenatorSinodinos said.
“However, technology can provide real safety benefits and Smart Beaches will explore that potential. Smart sensors will monitor beach activity to gauge which beaches and amenities are busiest and then transmit the data to lifeguards and local councils.”
Lake Macquarie City Mayor Kay Fraser said Redhead Beach and Blacksmiths Beach had been selected as the city’s two pilot locations.
“Both are very popular beaches; each with unique circumstances that will test this technology and how it is applied,” Cr Fraser said.
“Already this summer we have seen a disturbing number of drowning deaths along Australia’s coast. In NSW alone, there have been 16 coastal drownings since the start of summer. A search is also underway this morning for a swimmer missing on the State’s mid-north coast.”
Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said the collection and recording of beach usage information was a time-consuming and imprecise task for professional lifeguards but Smart Beaches would provide accurate information to help them focus on protecting public safety.
He also said that Manly Beach and Shelly Beach in Sydney would host the Smart Beaches trial.
“These are very busy beaches, attracting not just locals but high tourist numbers and we are excited to be part of this trial to improve beach safety and amenity,” CrRegan said.
“Almost 11 million people visited the patrolled beaches of Lake Macquarie and Northern Beaches Councils in the 2017-2018 season, prompting more than 1600 rescues and leaving more than 7200 people requiring first aid.”
Surf Life Saving NSW, the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguards Association and the Australian Coastal Councils Association are among more than a dozen other project partners.
University of Technology Sydney Associate Dean, External Engagement, Professor Myriam Amielh said Smart Beaches technology would be developed and trialled over the next 12 months, with plans to roll it out by mid-2020.
“Pending the success of this trial and ongoing funding, the technology could be rolled out to other beaches nationally and internationally,” Professor Amielh said.
“Development of this technology is in its early stages, but it has the potential to become an invaluable tool in ongoing efforts to improve beach safety and usability.”
The Smart Beaches Project has been jointly funded by the Australian Government, Lake Macquarie City Council, Northern Beaches Council and University of Technology Sydney.
Other project partners are: CIVIQ, Dantia, Lake Macquarie Tourism, Meshed, NNNCo, Nokia, NSW Data Analytics Centre, Orion Integration, Reekoh, SUMS Group, Surf Life Saving NSW and the Urban Institute.