SIMPaCT wins GovTech Award for urban cooling

Stuart Mason

Sydney-based collaborative entity SIMPaCT has won the InnovationAus 2023 Award for Excellence in the GovTech category for its urban cooling innovations.

The InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence were presented on Wednesday night at a black-tie gala dinner at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.

The GovTech Award was proudly sponsored by Australian software giant TechnologyOne. The Award was presented on the night by TechnologyOne executive vice-president of customer experience David Cope.

The GovTech award celebrated a range of companies pioneering innovative technologies in the public sector, or which have been driven from within governments.

Simpact project lead and creator Dr Sebastian Pfautsch said winning the award “is fantastic recognition”.

“What we’re doing is providing cooling for the community. In a warming world that’s essential…This work aims to provide better living conditions for people that don’t have gardens because they live in high rise apartment buildings,” Dr Pfautsch said.

Western Sydney University researcher and SIMPaCT creator Associate Professor Sebastian Pfautsch

These innovations can help improve the crucial interactions between individuals and governments, and to improve the services offered to citizens around the country.

SIMPaCT took out the Award for its innovative use of Internet of Things devices and artificial intelligence to effectively aircondition urban environments.

A collaboration between 11 entities including Western Sydney University, the University of Technology Sydney and University of Technology Sydney partners, Smart Irrigration Management for Parks and Cool Towns (SIMPaCT) helps to facilitate the effective and efficient management of water in urban environments.

Its tools encourage the process of evapo-transpirative cooling, which can lead to lower air temperatures. To do this, the company analyses a wide range of data to make sure that a green space is watered effectively before warmer weather to optimise this process. This data is gathered from a range of IoT sensors and devices.

This means the company can cool a microclimate such as a park.

SIMPaCT is currently in use at Sydney’s Bicentennial Park, where the surrounding residential population is expected to grow from 8,000 to about 30,000 people by 2036. The majority of these people will be living in high-rise apartments, meaning patronage of the park is likely to increase greatly.

With the effects of climate change to be further felt in the coming years too, the use of SIMPaCT is helping to cool down the park to make it more useful for residents and to minimise the amount of water used to do this.

The data collected by its sensors is also shared publicly online, meaning visitors to the park can find out which area within it is coolest to have a picnic.

“We need to improve the park environments that they use as their backyard. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. We already have data that shows that the park could be up to seven degrees cooler because of the technology…to help the community thrive and survive,” Dr Pfautsch said.

Dr Pfautsch also took the opportunity to urge more researchers to work with their universities to identify opportunities to translate their work into real world impact.

“We want to see more empirical research implemented, tested, and then transitioned into commercialisation, partnering up with all these universities. I’m a researcher myself, working at the university in this space, we’d really like to see more of that.”

The other finalists in the GovTech category were SmarterSoft and Art of Logic.

SIMPaCT also won the InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence People’s Choice Award.

The InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence are proudly supported by Investment NSW, AusIndustry, Australian Computer Society, Technology Council of Australia, Agile Digital, CSIRO, TechnologyOne, IP Australia, METS Ignited and Q-CTRL.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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