Smart technologies in North West NSW; a regional-rural study

23 APRIL 2021

Smart technologies in North West NSW; a regional-rural study

A Charles Sturt University researcher seeks residents of Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine, Wellington and Peak Hill to complete a questionnaire which will provide insights into consumer awareness about regional and rural use of smart technologies.

  • Charles Sturt research seeks participants in Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine, Wellington and Peak Hill to complete an online questionnaire about consumer awareness of smart technologies
  • Most research and policy focuses on smart technology in cities, and this research hopes to provide focus on smart tech in rural and regional areas
  • Researcher says the Dubbo satellite area would benefit from a case study approach that localises telecommunications issues in smaller regional and rural towns

A Charles Sturt University researcher seeks residents of Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine, Wellington and Peak Hill to complete a questionnaire which will provide insights into consumer awareness about regional and rural use of smart technologies.

This includes examining consumer rights in relation to remote data monitoring and how smart technologies will be implemented in their towns.

Researcher and Senior Lecturer Dr Holly Randell-Moon in the Charles Sturt School of Indigenous Australian Studies in Dubbo is working on a project which evaluates smart technology literacy and policy in the Dubbo region.

“A lot of research and policy focuses on smart technology in cities, and we hope to put some focus on smart tech in rural and regional areas,” Dr Randell-Moon said.

“The majority of research literature on smart technologies and services focuses on smart ‘cities’. Assumptions of smart applications for ‘city’ areas is evidenced in the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

“Part of the metropolitan dominance is that internet access is assumed for smart capability.”

Her research project, the Regional and Rural Consumers of Smart Technology Questionnaire, is funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and poses pertinent questions for smart technology consumers in the region.

“Have you used a smart app like the COVID safe check-in or had a smart water meter installed on your property?” Dr Randell-Moon asks.

“Who owns your data? You? The government? The manufacturer of the app? Take the questionnaire and learn about your smart tech rights.”

She said that consumer understandings of smart technologies and their applications in North West NSW communities will provide information on the digital experiences, and smart literacy of regional and rural telecommunications consumers, to better understand how smart services can be applied.

“Regional areas have witnessed the gradual implementation of smart technologies ranging from smart water meters to wi-fi access points to gather traffic data,” Dr Randell-Moon said.

“According to the Dubbo Regional Council, an estimated 17,700 homes and 2,300 businesses will use smart water meters in Dubbo, and the healthcare sector is expected to grow by 39 per cent with the new Health, Education and Wellbeing Precinct.

“However, regional and rural telecommunications consumers are one of the least understood market segments for smart services with reliability and capacity reported as significant issues.”

Dr Randell-Moon cited the 2020 Smart Cities Down Under report by Queensland University of Technology which confirmed performance and infrastructural issues as obstacles for smart regional and rural development.

“Capability was one facet of smart efficiency, though with success tied to ‘a smart community that is knowledgeable’,” she said.

“Digital ability for smart application is hindered by confusion; the ACCAN project by Broadband for the Bush Alliance reported that while respondents had heard of telehealth, its applications were not well understood.”

Dr Randell-Moon noted the Australian Digital Inclusion Index includes North West NSW as its largest geographical area, and the Smart Cities Down Under report focused on local government areas with a population of 50,000 or more.

“We know internet speeds are different in Dubbo compared to Gilgandra,” she said. “The Dubbo satellite area would benefit from a case study approach that localises telecommunications issues in smaller regional and rural towns.

“Let’s show how smart regions and smart rural can contribute to business, residential and council growth.”

Five locational case studies have been selected for the project including Dubbo, Gilgandra, Wellington, Peak Hill and Narromine.

Completing the questionnaire will enable participants to go into the draw to win either a $200 JB Hi-Fi or Woolworths voucher.

There are also five unique facts about the participating towns you can unlock by completing the questionnaire.


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Holly Randell-Moon contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via news@csu.edu.au

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