Identified as a “future business leader” by the Australian Government, GWI’s Senior Consultant Bronwyn Voyce has been invited to attend a business mission delegation in Tokyo in early July to gain insight into smart technology being utilised in Japan.
The Future Leaders, Future Cities delegation is by invitation only with Ms Voyce invited by Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo, for her work with GWI’s Data-Driven Community Index and as Policy and Leadership Taskforce Chair of Smart Cities Council Australia/New Zealand (SCCANZ).
The delegation – comprised of government representatives and 15 “future leaders” from across Australia aged under 40 – is designed to offer insight into the Smart City projects in Yokohama, Kashiwanoha and Tokyo.
Delegates will also attend meetings and briefings with Japanese multinationals including Softbank, Fujitsu, Hitachi’s Innovation Centre and NEC Innovation World.
“Japan has the world’s best practice in smart technology,” Ms Voyce said. “I am looking forward to seeing it applied and the ways it can enhance the lives of residents and their interaction with the city and neighbourhoods.
“I hope the opportunity will allow us to discover how government and the private sector can work together to improve the lives of people that work, visit and live in the city through the seamless use of smart technologies and explore how they’re measuring the benefits of this technology.”
Central to the mission the delegation will be gaining insight into Society 5.0, a masterplan of sorts for Japan’s approach to smart city development with an aim to incorporate innovation into everyday life.
“Society 5.0 is an ambitious national transformative agenda that goes beyond the digital economy towards the digitalisation across all levels of the Japanese society,” Ms Voyce explained. “It seeks to improve the lives of Japanese across the country by addressing pressing issues around their ageing population and mobility.
“Essentially they’ve got a bold vision to resolve various social challenges by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution (e.g. IoT, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), robot, and the sharing economy) into every industry and social life. Japan’s ‘human-centred design’ approach to Society 5.0 is of most interest to me.
“It’s a culmination of everything that I am passionate about – people, place and unleashing potential – through policy that enables innovative new approaches and results in societal progress.”
Ms Voyce said she is excited at the opportunity to collaborate with future Australian and Japanese leaders to gain practical insight into how to use and adopt technology to improve the quality of life for people around the globe.
For her part, this means garnering what information and partnerships she can from the delegation to help further develop GWI’s Data-Driven Community Index, which is already being used to help transform some Australian cities and towns into “smart”, technology-driven population centres.
“I would like to invite delegates to join our index community and use the tool and provide input into its further development,” Ms Voyce said of her ultimate hope for the mission.
“The bilateral trade relationship with Japan is of critical importance given their positioning in the Asia Pacific and proximity to Australia. Home to world’s best practice in smart technology and significant investment in technologies, Japanese companies can become a critical partner and enabler for Australian Smart Cities.
“It is an honour to be invited and I am hopeful of the outcomes we can achieve.”
Ms Voyce has promised an update on what she learns when she returns.