SCP E61: Interoperability and Power the Key to Smart Cities, with Robert Linsdell

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode61 Robert Linsdell

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Robert Linsdell, the Managing Director of Vertiv for Australia and New Zealand. He is passionate about technology; he grew up with it and has worked with it all of his life. We first talked about the different sectors of the Smart City and what is to come. We then talk about the importance of uninterrupted connectivity and power supply for a Smart City. Robert then talks about how important it is for interoperability to occur, to collaborate instead of compete. Robert shares was Vertiv does, particular with regards to data centres and UPS — uninterruptible power supply. We then talk about how unforgiving we are of technology and that we need to start talking about what to do if it fails. Finally, we discuss how important it is for government to keep up with technology when doing policy and planning. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Robert’s background in technology
  • The 4th industrial revolution
  • What sparked his interest in the Smart City space
  • What a Smart City means to Robert and why he thinks it’s important
  • The unique challenges of the Smart City space in Australia
  • The importance of interoperability and collaboration in the Smart City Space
  • What Vertiv does and how they can help support business and data centres
  • Uninterrupted connectivity and power supply for data centres and Smart Cities
  • The emerging trend of resilience and why we should be talking about it more
  • The reasons Governments need to keep up with technology


“The fourth industrial revolution is about cyber-physical…we humans are going to be automatically interacting with that technology without any direct input. We might have a wearable or we might have some glasses on, but things will just happen because we’re there.”

“We’re going to be challenged with having good connectivity, all of these interactions are going to need to have power, and that power needs to be always on, and of course we need security because it needs to be reliable.”

“There are very many aspects of Smart Cities which have yet to be developed. The exciting things for me is that all of these technologies are going to have to talk to each other and they’re all going to have to work, and that’s the fun part!”

“We’re entering a world where there’s a lot of economic turmoil, there’s climate change…we have an ageing population, we have a lot of urbanisation…within the Smart City environment, we actually have the technology and the innovation to solve all of these difficulties. The question is how we align it all so that it does become efficient.”

“I get pretty frustrated whenever I can’t use an app. I actually changed bank because the app was almost impossible to use…As the Smart City becomes clever enough to allow all this stuff to work, we have an expectation then that it will work…What happens when [that app] fails?”

“The world becomes actually a very difficult place when it doesn’t happen [the way it is supposed to]. I’m not entirely confident that the technology is always going work for us.”

“If cost becomes the only driver, then there often are corners cut, and if the corner is cut, then there is generally an explainable outage.”

“Governments are pretty good at being able to run countries, but they’re not necessarily fully on board with the technology. And as the technology becomes ever more complicated and specialist, it makes it harder for the governments to maintain levels of control over this and to operate fast enough.”


Smart City Podcast Episode 9: The Key To Resilience Is Human, with Mike Legatt


Connect with Robert via LinkedIn

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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E60: Bonus | Sustainability, Liveability and Making the World Better, with Will Davies

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode60 Will Davies

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interview the CEO of Car Next Door, Will Davies. Will starts with discussing how he started to follow his passion for reducing our carbon footprint, utilising our resources better and how that fits into the Smart City space. We take a bit of a deep dive into car sharing and public transport attitudes as well as equal access to mobility. He has an exciting idea about how every new human could make the world a better place. We talk a lot about what Car Next door actually does, and finish our conversation talking about impacts on infrastructure and costs of autonomous vehicles, public transport and car sharing. As always I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

What we cover in this episode:

  • Will’s background in finance, and why he made the shift to reducing carbon emissions through a car sharing platform Car Next Door
  • What Car Next Door does and how it fits into smart cities
  • What a Smart City means to Zoe and Will
  • Technology and mindset change that makes new human beings a net positive for the planet
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept and why we must focus on changing the mindset of citizens to implement steps towards overall change
  • The suboptimal positions we’ve got ourselves into because “that’s the way it’s always been done” thinking
  • The future of public transport
  • Ways Will had to integrate across different disciplines to get Car Next Door up and running
  • Possible ways the emerging trend of driverless cars could make the world better


“Car Next Door is a peer-to-peer car sharing platform. There’s 7 million cars in Australian cities. Most people’s cars, or the average car, sits around doing nothing for 95% of the time.”

“I think that Smart Cities need to be reducing their carbon emissions dramatically and car sharing is a very good way of doing that.”

“Making a place more liveable, and a happier place for people to live, is definitely a big part of [what a Smart City means to me]. Also just doing more with less. There is a huge amount of waste that we’re emitting everywhere, and we can be so much more efficient. Technology is a great way forward for us to do that.”

“Car-sharing is completely enabled by technology. It would be impossible to do what we’re doing without the internet and mobile technology and all those other building blocks that have come in place.”

“I’m very strongly of the view that in the next 3-5 years you will be able to get picked up by a driverless robo-taxi and taken where you want to go for very, very little money.”


Find the full show notes:

Connect with will via the website or email him at

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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E59: Integrating Technologies and Embracing the Digital Age, with Emma Hendry

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode59 Emma Hendry

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Emma Hendry. Emma is the CEO of Hendry Group and was also a member of the Future Leaders, Future Cities delegation to Japan. Emma and I discuss incorporating tech into everyday business and how to move into the digital age. We also discuss learnings from Japan, what Emma has been up to lately, and how we can better integrate across the different disciplines using technology. We also talk about some of the emerging trends, global conversations and how to deal with risk. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Emma’s background and her passion for creating safer, smarter and more sustainable places for people to live
  • What sparked her interest in the Smart City space, what a Smart City is to her and why it’s so important
  • Why we need to be paying attention to how current resources are being stretched by emerging & complex problems
  • Emma’s takeaways from the Future Cities, Future Leaders trip to Japan and some of the projects she’s been working on since then –
  • Using virtual reality and mixed reality for emergency training and AR tech to create virtual asset registers
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City space and how Emma is seeing it growing
  • Emma’s key message when she talks about smart cities on the stage
  • How using virtual tools allows for world-wide collaboration can lead to real time outcomes (instead of just more emails!)
  • Technologies and techniques Emma is keen on exploring further
  • The importance of alignment, incentives and accountability when it comes to integrating across different disciplines
  • The emerging trends of corporate and social anxiety about the digital revolution, and the need to be a fast mover and pioneer to avoid being disrupted
  • The gaps Emma sees in the Smart City space, and the opportunities for up- and re-skilling via traditional and micro-credentialed programs
  • How risk fits into the Smart City space and why we need a culture that encourages jumping in, pioneering, failing fast and failing often
  • Tracking the health of the built environment and the power of using the analytics that come from the technology


“We help create safer, smarter and more sustainable buildings, cities and communities for all.”

“To me [a Smart City] is really a utopian concept as opposed to a definitive end state. I see it as a series of steps and processes by which buildings, cities, communities can become more liveable, safer, sustainable and resilient.”

“[The Smart City Concept] is important because it’s not a static concept. It will continue to evolve and address the complex problems of the day, while enhancing the sustainability and wellness of the build environment for everyone.”

“Overall [Australia’s embrace of Smart Cities] is still nascent in nature. Some sectors and areas are more progressive than others…I believe Australia is ripe to embrace the Smart City concept and reap the benefits of its implementation.”

“It’s about education and knowledge. There’s so much information out there, you really have to make sure you’re data-literate, digital-literate…It’s a really inclusive subject and I think that’s what’s so important about the Smart Cities concept: it’s for everyone.”


“There are so many fantastic tools out there now available to us that allow you to collaborate from anywhere in the world, and using AR and 3D imagery, actually really solve problems in real time.”

“What I’m really excited about is how to integrate and interconnect all of these new technologies. E.g. AI, machine learning and automation, connecting that in with VR, AR and advanced imagery and also with blockchain, [and IOT]…It’s not viewing each of these technology in isolation, it’s what could it solve when we start integrating it all together?”

“Collaboration and communication is key between all disciplines, government and industry, and it is imperative to enable not just a comprehensive understanding of an issue, but the formulation and most importantly the implementation of any initiative.”

“I don’t think that we’re actually… putting it into practice. I think we’re talking about these things a lot [AI, AR/VR, IOT, blockchain] but I rarely see companies really diving into it unless they’re really high-tech firms.”

“The digital revolution, industry 4.0 is here, and it’s not going away… if you’re not a fast mover or a pioneer, you’re going to get left behind and become disrupted.”

“Your jobs are still going to be needed, it’s just that higher cognitive level of understanding, empathy, problem solving, that human interaction element is just going to become a lot more enhanced.”


“It’s not about the technology, it’s about the analytics that comes from it.”


You can connect with Emma via the Contact page on the Hendry Group website, or reach out to her on LinkedIn

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E58: Smart Cities as a way of thinking, with David Batchelor

SmartCityPodcast_BlogImage_Episode58 David Batchelor


In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with David Batchelor, a planner ad history buff from Wellington, passionate about heritage and culture in our cities.
He is also a member of the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators and talks about Smart Cities being a way to create great connected spaces for the people in them, and about Smart Cities being a universal language, a level playing field where we can all communicate.

David tells us how New Zealand is currently embracing the Smart City concept and the importance of overall vision and strategy. He discusses some of the things that are happening in Wellington, particularly to do with resilience and tells us some really cool stuff about Smart heritage. We finish our conversation about public trust and the different types of feedback.

Disclaimer: Everything discussed is personal opinion only and does not represent any company or government agency.

Listen here:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.

What we cover in this episode:

  • David’s background in planning and his passion for heritage and culture in cities
  • How he stumbled into the Smart City arena and why he thinks the concept is so important
  • How David believes New Zealand is embracing the Smart City concept
  • The pros and cons of Australia’s and New Zealand’s approaches to Smart Cities
  • The Resilience Tool David is currently working on for the city of Wellington
  • The varied and diverse backgrounds in the Smart City arena and why it’s more of a way of thinking than a sector
  • The importance of understanding different perspectives in order to integrate across different disciplines
  • Emerging trends and opportunities for local governments to use technology to enable real-time feedback loops and the nature of public trust


“I saw [Smart Cities] as a breath of fresh air into the area of consenting, of planning here in New Zealand, especially in heritage. A huge opportunity to improve what we’re doing and I think it’s really relevant for planning and heritage.”

“To me, a Smart City is a physical space that is effective in enabling its citizens to live within it, so that comes down to more of a social definition. Creating a great connected space for the people in it.”

“I’ve heard people in Wellington talk about their approach trying to become more natural. So, why have a policy? Why not just integrate it into what we already do? That’s great and doesn’t get caught up in the shopping list of IOT devices…However it lacks a political appetite in the direction that a policy or something higher up gives a sector.”

“We do have some fantastic people, especially in Wellington, who are pushing it along. They’re champions, without them, the [Smart City] sector would probably fall over.”

“[The Wellington Resilience Tool] tries to tell the story but also embed the data into the public thinking about safety…there’s a huge moral panic about [earthquake-readiness of heritage buildings], so we’re looking to show the story of how these buildings aren’t actually dangerous… so we can actually have a proper conversation about it.”

“The data scientists have a completely different approach to how planners or engineers or consultants or politicians think about it. The more I dig into it, the more I realise the Smart City sector might not be a sector, it’s more of a way of thinking.”

“I think [talking to people outside your discipline is] the best way to open your eyes, get your brain switched onto a different way of thinking, to approach the question of “how do we improve our city?” in a variety of ways, so you’re not just approaching it from your silo-ed engineer or planner bubble.”

“I think here’s a huge opportunity for local government to use social media or the internet …to engage better with the public.”

“Technology enables us to very quickly take the temperature or a snapshot of the public’s view…why doesn’t local council do that? There’s so many opportunities to have a dialogue with local government, which isn’t being grabbed with two hands.”


Connect with David on LinkedIn

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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.