The prestigious People’s Choice award at the InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence has been won by SIMPaCT for its innovative techniques to cool the microclimate.
The InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence were presented on Wednesday night at a back-tie gala dinner at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.
The People’s Choice award was voted on by the public, with every finalist in the other InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence categories eligible for the prize.
The People’s Choice award was presented by Australian Computer Society Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy Troy Steer.
Simpact project lead and creator Dr Sebastian Pfautsch said the people’s choice award was the most important one on offer because “we do this for people”.
“We want to help cool communities, we want to help people live in cities, more and more people live in cities. They recognise the value in what we’re doing obviously from those who voted for this project which is fantastic,” Dr Pfautsch said.
All of the 37 finalists were asked to provide video answers to four questions:
- What’s the name of your company and what problem do you solve?
- Tell us about the IP that your organisation is commercialising and what has been your approach to this?
- What are the three most important things that have enabled your success/accelerated your growth?
- What does world domination look like? Where to now for your company?
Voters were only allowed to cast their vote once for one of the innovative and fast-growing companies.
The People’s Choice award for 2023 was won by Smart Irrigation Management for Parks and Cool Towns (SIMPaCT), a collaboration between 11 entities, including Western Sydney University, the University of Sydney and NSW government partners, among others.
Reflecting on the night, Dr Pfautsch was optimistic about the future of Australia’s innovation ecosystem.
“We’ve heard some very great speakers tonight. I think the industry is on a high and it’s fantastic to see so many different sectors focusing on to the future in a positive future. So yeah, it’s great to see this night and of course seeing this [award win] as well.”
SIMPaCT offers a smart irrigation management system for parks and towns using a range of Internet of Things sensors combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning to effectively cool the surrounding microclimate.
Its sensors hoover up data including soil moisture levels and air temperature to maximise air cooling and minimise water use to encourage the process of evapo-transpirative cooling, which leads to lower air temperatures.
Its technology is currently in use at Sydney’s 40 hectare Bicentennial Park within the Sydney Olympic Park.
The surrounding residential area is expected to increase from 8,000 to about 30,000 by 2036, with most of these people residing in high rise apartments. This means that the use of the Bicentennial Park will likely skyrocket in the coming decade, as the impacts of climate change continue to be felt.
With SIMPaCT’s 50 devices, 13 weather stations and more than 200 smart soil devices, the microclimate at the park can be cooled, and water use minimised.
The data from its sensors is also made available publicly, so visitors to the park are able to find out where the coolest spot at the park is to have a picnic at that particular time.
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.
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