Health, smart cities and resilient workplaces will inform Australia’s success in life with COVID
A panel of experts convened by the Economic Development Committee of Australia (CEDA) and sponsored by GSK Australia stressed that reassessing our approach to how we design our cities for work, education and recreation will be important in managing future pandemics.
The roundtable, ‘Proofing against future pandemic’, focused on how health, smart cities and resilient workplaces will inform Australia’s success as we learn to live with COVID-19.
Panelist Jeff Connolly (pictured above), Managing Director of Siemens ANZ, stressed that smart technology is a critical lever in addressing global pandemic challenges.
Connolly pointed out “Before we were just bricks and steel, but now we have fully intelligent buildings and infrastructure. Pandemics require the real-time response that technology can provide, helping us meet the challenges of future pandemics.
“At the onset of COVID-19, we used a lot of preventative measures, some of which later turned out to be unnecessary. All because our environments were not designed to contain a virus like COVID-19. Now we have the ability to use smart technology so that we can design these environments with purpose.
“Digitization is at the heart of the solution. Smart technology is already being used in specially constructed places like the National Gallery of Victoria. Solutions such as increased filtration, UV lighting and ionization mean that we are able to meet the challenges of the disrupted cities in which we now live.
David Fitz-Gerald, Head of Human Resources, GSK Australia and New Zealand, said building resilience in the workplace requires a culture change and noted that “GSK is known as a drug innovator. and vaccines. The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired us to take new steps forward as an innovative workplace.
“It inspired us to find new ways to help our employees thrive. We have applied a new philosophy of “flex-pathy”, offering our staff “maximum flexibility”, combined with clear and consistent communication. This philosophy was anchored while ensuring a sustained focus on the objectives of our company. “
Fitz-Gerald also said companies that apply the lessons of the pandemic will reap the rewards when it comes to attracting talent to competitive labor markets.
“Looking ahead, we’ve created a framework, called ‘Performance with Choice’, that comes alive in our culture, not politics. We encourage our employees to have open conversations to identify ways of working that support their performance and their team and to feel secure knowing that this flexibility is available to them.
Panelist Malcolm Smith, Australasian Cities Leaders, Arup added: “Cities are not just physical structures, they are representations of our social and economic aspirations. When our cities are disrupted, it affects all of these aspects. We need to understand the reintegration of these aspects as we emerge from a disturbance and model new scenarios with the lessons we have learned.
“This includes an increase in local trends, the provision of services and changes in the composition and concentration of city centers. This has happened consistently in the pandemic, as we have seen inequitable access to open spaces across the world.
“We now have the digital capacity to monitor the impact of disruption and its social effects on our cities – and we need to use it. We need to model our cities for multiple use scenarios and discuss the need to make this a requirement for the design of cities, like some countries in Europe.
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Mel Miller, partner of Deloitte Access Economics, and was the second in a series of three sessions focused on Australia’s post-pandemic future.
The next round table “From pandemic to endemic” will be held in February 2022.
Top of the picture: Smart technology is already being used in specially designed locations like the National Gallery of Victoria; Image above: Panelist Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens ANZ, stressed that smart technology is a critical lever to address global pandemic challenges.
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April 30, 2019 – Start-ups help transform Newcastle into a Smart City
October 31, 2018 – Tokyo to host 2019 Smart Cities and Sport Summit
July 17, 2018 – Auckland Council’s Safeswim initiative wins Smart Cities Asia Pacific Awards
November 8, 2021 – The Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is piloting the 5G “Smart Tourist” program
September 16, 2021 – Smart video tested in Wollongong to survey shared leisure spaces
November 7, 2021 – Georges River Council activates COVIDSafe community events for 2022
November 2, 2021 – Anantara highlights COVIDSafe requirements as Thailand reopens borders to international tourism
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September 2, 2021 – Agreement reached to allow COVIDSafe Royal Hobart Show to take place
August 23, 2021 – Snowy Monaro Regional Council advises staying COVIDSafe to keep parks and recreation areas open
March 29, 2021 – Quayclean shares COVIDSafe plan for the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2021
March 17, 2021 – Launch of the new COVIDSafe system specially for the live entertainment industry
February 28, 2021 – Queensland government launches new hotel registration app to stay COVIDSafe
February 17, 2021 – myvenue point-of-sale technology supports COVIDSafe live music events
February 12, 2021 – Priava presents a new floor planning module for COVIDSafe events
February 8, 2021 – COVIDSafe measures in place at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open
January 12, 2021 – ICC Sydney updates its COVIDSafe policy to retain capacity to host events
November 18, 2020 – Puffing Billy Railway to resume service with COVIDSafe plan in place
November 12, 2020 – Reliance Risk partners with Pandemic Protect to launch Venue COVIDSafe products
October 28, 2020 – Eventbrite Provides Tools Designed For COVIDSafe Live Events In Person
August 10, 2020 – Live Performance Australia issues full COVIDSafe guidelines
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