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IoT is enabling the creation of "smart cities" using technology and data to make our communities better for working and living. But how is this playing out globally? And what might a smart city look like in New Zealand?

In this episode of the "Internet of Awesome Things", we look at the initial impact of IoT on public policy and urban planning.

First up, Russell Brown talks smart communities with Hamilton City Council Smart Cities Adviser Jannat Maqbool. She shares some of the initiatives she's been involved with and leading in Waikato, things like interactive smart spaces, smart collectives, and IoT Meetups. Jannat says it’s important to demystify IoT and let people play with things like facial recognition tech.

Then, Mark Thomas from Singapore-based consultancy ServiceWorks tells how Auckland missed a trick a few years ago when modernising 45,000 light poles without IoT sensors. These could've been used to monitor rainfall, for example. These assets are big opportunities – so too is the data they collect. Mark believes the "big data" collected through public IoT should be available to anyone who wants to use it to develop things for the public good.

Finally, someone who's well aware of the possibilities of IoT, and is busy applying many of them to our largest city, is Auckland Transport CIO, Roger Jones. He explains how AT is trialing "smart streets", with features such as solar-powered seats that can recharge mobile devices and smart traffic lights that link up with devices to help visually impaired people. Roger cites the connection between traffic systems and vehicles; if you're a 30-tonne truck coming towards a traffic light, it’s good to know whether you need to brake. Roger says that smart cities are all about people.

This episode about smart cities is the final episode in the series. In many ways, it's also the most important, because what plays out in this public IoT space is going to touch the lives of all of us, very soon.

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