Gawler: Connected Community
The Gawler: Connected Community Project provides the Town of Gawler with the opportunity to deliver better services, more efficient use of infrastructure and improved liveability within Gawler.
Using an advanced application of smart technology new to Local Government in Australia, the Gawler: Connected Community Project will build an App that will improve economic development within the region. The App will increase customer engagement through sensor technology and improve the use and decision making for public facilities and business services.
This will be achieved by leveraging readily available, open and real-time data via a bespoke software platform.
Mobile commerce (mCommerce) is the use of wireless handheld devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, to conduct commercial transactions online. MCommerce transactions continue to grow, and the term includes the purchase and sale of a wide range of products and services, such as online banking, bill payment and information sharing.
MCommerce is founded upon the increasing adoption of electronic commerce (eCommerce), the process of conducting commercial transactions online. The rapid growth of mCommerce is being driven by a number of positive factors, including the demand for applications from an increasingly mobile consumer base; the rapid adoption of online commerce and technological advances; the advanced capabilities and substantial computing power of wireless handheld devices.
The range of devices that are enabled for mobile commerce functionality is growing, and now includes wearables (such as smart watches and Fitbits). For example, both Apple Pay and Android Pay allow customers to seamlessly purchase at stores or in mCommerce applications. MCommerce has also accelerated through social media platforms, allowing users to purchase products and services. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram all have "buy" options on their mobile platforms.
Exciting new initiatives happening here in Gawler
“Connected Community” will see Council partner with a mCommerce specialist company to develop an online platform that can engage Council, local business and the community. This platform will drive and manage Council’s free public WiFi system, be available via the internet and a free “Town of Gawler” App.
The solution within the “Connected Community” project is a cloud based platform that sources open data to create a single view of a customer. This platform has an inbuilt campaign engine that allows Council and partner businesses to create campaigns that are triggered by events taking place; such as the trigger of a beacon (explained below), a customer’s birthday or a special event.
The platform can send the campaign to multiple customer touch points including mobile application, email and text message. Content is managed within the platform with the user selecting suitable content around the delivery point to the customer.
The platform allows dynamic follow up. If a customer was sent an in App offer and hasn't responded for a defined period of time, another method will be used to reach the customer, for instance, an email with the offer will then be sent to that customer.
This type of communication platform can be used by Council for such things as community messaging, payment reminders, community consultation and community program advertising. It can also be used by local businesses to promote offers, advertise and engage with their customers.
Most businesses face similar challenges when it comes to customers. These include retaining existing customers and obtaining new customers. The ability to retain customers is one of the most important business functions in any organisation. It is usually done through the “primary” tools at the business’ disposal which include the quality of their product and service, the geographical proximity to its clients, the unique product mix or service offering or the status derived from the use of the product or service.
A “secondary” tool at any business’ disposal as part of the marketing mix is Loyalty and Rewards programs. These programs create an affinity between the business and the customer where the customer feels a bond to the business in a positive way.
The technological advancement with the proposal being considered by Council enables the App to re-skin itself based on location analytics. For example, when someone is walking down Murray Street they will be accessing the “Town of Gawler” App. This App will provide the user with on-demand access to Council information, news, events, etc. When they walk into a business in Murray Street, the App will use location services to know what business they are entering and automatically re-skin to be that business’ App. When the person leaves the business the App will then automatically re-skin to be the “Town of Gawler” App.
There will be a considerable amount of business engagement that will need to occur to enable this App re-skinning process to provide users with a seamless transition. This business engagement will be conducted by the mCommerce specialist and will provide all businesses that join the program with the following:
- A business specific App
- The ability to conduct business online
- Access to both direct and indirect marketing
- Customer rewards programs
- The ability to notify sales and offers direct to customers based on analytics
- Online sales conversion with instant direct deposit of funds
- The ability to be part of a packaged deal with other businesses in Gawler
- Point of Sale solutions
- Enterprise Payment solution
Council has engaged Plutus Commerce to develop the Town of Gawler App as well as engage local businesses to get onboard the project.
Council is gearing up to launch it's Free Public Wi-Fi network at the Gawler Show in August. The system has been installed within the Town Centre and is currently undergoing connectivity and load testing. The network covers Murray Street from Gawler Central Station to the Gawler Mill Inn Bridge as well as throughout the Gawler Civic Centre.
Public Wi-Fi is a great opportunity for local government to connect entire communities: smart communities deploying free Wi-Fi are largely increasing and as a result, can effectively empower their communities with better services. Wi-Fi provision also enable Council to engage with its community in real-time digital environments (cheaper and more responsive than traditional consultation techniques).
Another advantage that public Wi-Fi access brings to communities is represented by public libraries: everyone, even those who can’t afford internet at home, can benefit from a free connection and use it to access public services, look for jobs, or for their personal entertainment, i.e. learning a new language.
Equipping public transportation with free Wi-Fi access is another example of how public Wi-Fi positively affects communities: residents and travellers can enjoy a better travel experience and get real-time information about transports, so as to better plan their routes. Council’s Public Wi-fi provision extends to the Gawler Central Train Station therefore creating seamless connection for commuters.
Public Wi-Fi access can have a huge impact on tourism, too. When traveling, indeed, people want to stay in contact with their family and friends, share their holiday pictures on their social networks and check travel information. As a consequence, tourists are more incentivized to travel to a location if they can use the internet for free. Providing a city with free Wi-Fi hotspots would be advantageous both for tourists, who would enjoy internet connection without roaming charges, and for the local economy, which would largely benefit from increased levels of tourism.
Statistics show that 40% of traffic jams in city centres result from drivers searching for car parks. Solving this traffic congestion problem can be achieved by installing parking sensors, which work with an online application and show people where there are available parking areas. This is a future application opportunity for Gawler.
Council’s public spaces CCTV system uses the same backhaul infrastructure as its Public Wi-Fi network. Co-locating Wi-Fi access points with CCTV cameras on existing street lighting poles has delivered cost efficiencies as well as removed the need for the installation of additional poles within the main street.
The future delivery of smart digital services, such as smart waste management and smart lighting to public spaces around Gawler, will also rely on this infrastructure.