Technology and data are increasingly playing a role in our daily lives. The Emerging Technology Testbed is a place to collaboratively explore the function of new and emerging technologies, such as 5G and the Internet of Things, and the different processes that support them. Most importantly, the Testbed allows us to explore how

these technologies impact Melbourne on a city scale, community scale, and for the individual.

About testbeds

While there are various definitions for a testbed, City of Melbourne’s testbed is a tool for collaborative, strategic and transparent testing of the opportunities and impacts of new technologies. This leads to data and insights that can help inform decision-making around the application of emerging technology in our city. For example, how 5G is made available in our cities, considering infrastructure, ownership of devices, processes around use, equitable access and more.

How testbeds are coordinated

To help you understand, below is quick reference to some of the key terminology that is used about these initiatives. Testbed projects involve a variety of challenges, pilots and trials.

  • Challenges are competitions inviting pitches that innovate through technology and data to address pertinent city issues.
  • Pilots are collaborative projects, that explore various technologies applied to a key area; challenges can inform pilots.
  • Trials for specific new and emerging technology occur in an ongoing capacity through industry collaborations.

These projects help us to learn about risks and unlock possibilities. This means that the implementation of new technologies in our city best supports the people who live, work and play here.

How you can get involved

Follow this page and individual pilot pages via the links below for:

  • announcements about upcoming challenges where we invite the community and industry to submit ideas, share experiences and participate in workshops
  • stay informed about the development of each of our pilots
  • vote for submissions
  • join digital events, pitches and more.

For more information, you can contact at our team at


  • Data in the park – Eades Park

    Using sensors to learn about one of West Melbourne’s key green spaces.

  • Data in the park - Birrarung Marr

    Understanding Birrarung Marr through data.

Testbed background

The testbed was established in 2018 to harness opportunities and explore the challenges of new and emerging technology.

A variety of activities laid the groundwork for the establishment of the testbed:

  • Ongoing investment in data capture and analysis that helps us understand the city better to make decisions about the city, in planning etc.
  • Establishment of Melbourne Innovation Districts City North, a partnership with RMIT and University of Melbourne that gives us permission to experiment and explore what a future city could be
  • Our annual Open Innovation Competition that provides an opportunity for individuals and businesses to pitch and piloting new ideas that respond to city challenges
  • Melbourne Knowledge Week; our annual knowledge festival, that provides an opportunity for the community and knowledge sector to share new ideas and innovation

These activities showcased the opportunities to collaborate with the local knowledge economy. The City of Melbourne’s testbed launched in 2018.

In establishing the testbed, we worked with 26 local and national industry partners. Our goal was to develop a collaboration deed to provide a framework of rules, relationships, systems, and processes of the testbed, ensuring a fair and successful environment for collaboration. A data sharing procedure and policy was also co-created to establish protocols to help manage data ethically and equitably.

Once this was completed, all 26 partners were invited to submit pitches in response to three key issues:

  • Connectivity without the clutter - what’s a good alternative to the potential clutter of new 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technology hardware in our public spaces?
  • Opportunities for insights – support more strategic data collection about activity in the urban realm to better address the information needs of key stakeholders.
  • Maximum community benefit – how can data and technological interventions lead to a better experience for those who live, work and play in our city?

The Data in the park - Argyle Square pilot is a direct result of the first testbed challenge.

The first testbed challenge invited our founding partners to submit ideas in response to a challenge statement. Read more in ‘History of the testbed’ above. The Data in the park - Argyle Square pilot is a direct result of the first testbed challenge.

In 2020, we ran our second testbed challenge. The Reimagining the City Challenge asked entrepreneurs, individuals, universities, researchers, startup, scaleups and established organisations to submit their pitches on how they might contribute to bringing life back into the city. Learn more about the challenge or watch the top seven pitches. Three challenge winners are now currently in pilot stage: Micro-Labs: Reimagining retail: Reimagining retail, Open Arcade: Gaming for everyone: Gaming for everyone and Social Spaces: Designing public space with data.

Our next challenge will be announced later this year. Follow the testbed to stay informed and learn how you can get involved.

Reimagining the city challenge

Learn about the creative solutions that will reimagine Melbourne.

Contact us

Have questions or want to learn more about the project?