NSW government to scope out urban plans using digital twin platform

From late 2019, a minimal viable product of the NSW Spatial Twin will provide coverage of the state government's Western Sydney City Deal.

New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson has announced the state government is building a digital twin of NSW that it believes will help with urban planning.

"The NSW Digital Spatial Twin is a digital real-world model of NSW," Anderson said at CeBIT Australia last week.

"It's exciting to see that NSW government can better plan our cities and communities using a digital model. Taking data that we have and using it to test scenarios on the model helps us make smarter decisions. This will benefit everybody on national, state, and local government levels, from improving traffic flow across the state to disaster management."

A spokesperson for NSW Department of Customer Service has confirmed that a minimal viable product (MVP) of the NSW Spatial Twin will be released by late 2019.

The spokesperson said the MVP will provide coverage of the Western Sydney City Deal, a 20-year agreement that has been sealed by all levels of government to create the state's first smart city.

"Spatial Services achieved a key milestone with the launch of a Digital Twin proof of concept to capture and display real-time 3D and 4D spatial data to model the built and natural environment," the spokesperson told ZDNet.

According to Anderson, the development of the platform is part of the state government's ongoing commitment to deliver its 2016 innovation agenda, which he said is built on three key pillars: Innovation in customer service, industry partnership, and cross-government collaboration.

"Our work to deliver on our innovation strategy from 2016 has provided the innovation community with opportunities to collaborate, innovate and tap into local and global networks and investment. We've delivered 21 of its 22 initiatives," he said.

See also: How digital transformation and analytics combine to form a digital twin (TechRepublic)

While speaking at CeBIT, Anderson also took the opportunity to put a call out for industry to contribute to the state's government's 2020 innovation strategy, with additional details of how to contribute to be provided "over the coming months".

"Collaboration is a strong theme in successful innovation, which is why the NSW Government needs to work closely with you. Our partnership with industry will allow us to deliver smarter and customer-focused solutions. We see this as leading to the success of the 2020 innovation strategy," he said.

Over the weekend, the NSW government announced the official state-wide rollout of the Digital Drivers Licence (DDL) on the Service NSW app.

It followed the DDL being launched in a live environment last Tuesday, which resulted in the Service NSW app experiencing delays due to high demands.

In attempting to add a digital version of their licence, users were presented with a message that read: "We're a little busy. Many people are loading their digital licences right now. Please try again".

A spokesperson for NSW Department of Customer Service said with the DDL now live, the NSW government is now "working closely with business and industry to have them come on board and accept the Digital Drivers Licence. This includes nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, petrol stations, supermarkets, convenience stores and tobacco retailers".

The launch of the DDL, which more than 550,000 licence holders have already opted into, follows the initial trial of the initiative in Dubbo in late 2017, which allowed participants to use their digital driver licence for proof-of-identity and proof-of-age to gain entry into pubs and clubs, as well as for roadside police checks.

metro trial of the digital driver licence then began in November 2018 across Sydney's Eastern Beaches, allowing more than 140,000 licence holders in the region to ditch the plastic identification card for the smartphone-rendered copy.

The initial go-live date for the DDL was promised to be after the state election, which took place on March 23. However, the state government said it wanted to allow for extra time to test Service NSW's online platforms.

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