Switching on Darwin received grant $5 million of funding from the Australian Government and $2.5 million each from the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government. The project commenced in February 2018 and was completed in May 2019.
The project delivered a range of smart technologies including:
- Upgrading 912 CBD street lights to LED smart lighting
- Extension of free Wi-Fi network
- 138 CCTV cameras in the city centre
- Smart parking technology
- Microclimate monitoring systems
- City intelligence dashboard
- Wayfinding kiosks
- Mall audio facilities.
Switching on Darwin provides many benefits for the Darwin community:
- Community safety: Technology will help to reduce anti-social behaviour and increase insights for emergency services.
- Better services: Improving Council services and creating efficiencies in Council operations to minimise costs.
- Environmental sustainability: Reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, as well as improved understanding of heat, weather and environmental events.
- Smart Planning: Technology and data will inform evidence-based planning and design to enhance the liveability of our city.
- Innovation: New data sets available to the community and business sector to support citizen engagement, unlock innovation and create new business opportunities.
- Improving public spaces: Public Wi-Fi, improved lighting, smart parking and understanding movement through the city to ensure the best use and provision of public space.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What type of lights are being installed as part of the lighting upgrade?
Over 900 LED lights are being installed within the city centre area. In most cases, this involves using existing light poles and replacing the bulbs with LED 'smart' lights. The ‘smart’ lights can be dimmed or brightened remotely - either through a program or ad hoc as required. Each light is individually adjustable.
- How is the ‘smart’ functionality of the lights going to be used?
The ‘smart’ lights have the potential to be adjusted at the request of Police to help deter crime and anti-social behaviour or to brighten an area for an event or other activity. The lights will also sense changes to light levels, i.e. if a storm comes in and it becomes quite dark, they will automatically switch on to the appropriate level of light.
- Will there be energy savings by swapping to LED lighting?
Yes, the installation of LED lighting will reduce energy consumption. Currently, street lights in Darwin city are 80 watts, the new lights will be 45 watt LED lights, producing a much brighter output and reducing electricity consumption by around half.
- What are the benefits of installing the LED lights vs existing lights in the city centre?
In addition to cost savings for City of Darwin, as a result of the energy savings through LED lighting, the new lights give greater flexibility to the City of Darwin and NT Police to adjust lighting levels to respond to activity in the city or to cater for events or planned activities in the city centre.
- How far is the free Wi-Fi being extended within the city centre?
The Wi-Fi network is being extended to cover the full length of The Esplanade, as well as from Harry Chan Avenue through to the Knuckey Street end of the Mall. This is designed to better cater to both locals and visitors, particularly those who may be coming off a cruise ship or from the Darwin Waterfront into the city and wanting to access Wi-Fi to help locate tourist destinations or services.
- Can anyone access the City of Darwin Wi-Fi network, regardless of which provider they are with?
Yes, although the network is Telstra Air, anyone will be able to access it via their personal device, regardless of which provider they are with.
- What is the purpose of installing more CCTV in the city centre?
A. Increased CCTVs in the city centre will provide additional tools for Police to manage anti-social behaviour, as well as allowing the City of Darwin to collect data around vehicle and pedestrian movement in the city which can be used for planning services.
- Where is CCTV being installed?
138 additional CCTV cameras are being installed along The Esplanade, in Mitchell, Smith, and Cavenagh Streets as well as in Knuckey Street and at key intersections within the city centre. The location of the new CCTV cameras has been planned in collaboration with the Police.
- Will the system use facial recognition to identify people who are potentially doing the wrong thing?
The CCTV system City of Darwin is installing does not include facial recognition.
- What kind of information is council collecting from CCTV?
Council is collecting anonymised data. This is data that is not personalised, it is statistical information relating to the number of people in particular areas, the direction people travel, frequently used routes, and vehicles movements.
- How will this data be used by council?
Council will use this accurate data to better plan for our city's future. Accurate information on car parking, people, and car movement can improve city planning.
- Is audio recorded?
No, Council is not recording audio.
Note: There are microphones with some CCTVs that will collect noise level data to monitor environmental noise levels (e.g. construction/traffic noise). These have been installed along the Esplanade.
- Will council have privacy protections in place?
The installation of new CCTV cameras will be supported by appropriate policies and guidelines.
- How will I know if I am entering an area with CCTV cameras?
In line with legislative requirements, signs will be erected at key entry points to the city advising that people are entering an area with active CCTV. There will also be chequered Police CCTV signage on each pole CCTV cameras are attached to.
- What technology is being used and who installed it?
The new CCTV cameras are the same brand as those used by NT Police since 2009. Indigo Vision VMS is a UK company. City of Darwin is the project manager, Telstra the lead contractor and NT companies were the subcontractors – Security Technology Services and Top End Race delivered, installed and are testing the CCTV.
- Will the public be able to access this footage?
Footage can be accessed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.