The testbed was established to investigate how local government can collaborate with industry partners and support the roll out of modern technologies in a way that:

  • Maximises the productivity and efficiency benefits to Melbourne of emerging technologies like 5G and IoT
  • Enables access to shared city data (i.e. asset and environmental data, not personal data) for our municipality, including via City of Melbourne’s open data platform.
  • Enables citizens, local businesses, government agencies (e.g. emergency services) and researchers to access and benefit from modern technologies
  • Creates new opportunities for Melbourne businesses at home and abroad, and encourages inward investment.

Testbed Phase 1 (2018 to 2020)

Testbed Phase 1 focused on exploring the benefits of emerging technology including 5G and the internet-of-things (IoT). In 2019-20 we explored how partners might work together to:

  • explore the processes and policies needed to trial new technologies
  • trial new technologies in the streets and parks of Melbourne
  • establish relationships with partners to test emerging technology.

The intent of Phase 1 was to establish an environment for innovation, where we can test emerging technologies to solve future city challenges in 2020 to 2021 and beyond.

In collaboration with our founding partners, we worked through the following challenges. Find out more about our founding partners.

The purpose of Challenge 1 was to define the framework of rules, relationships, systems and processes for an emerging technology testbed.


We co-designed a collaboration deed with 26 partners that:

  • States ways of working to accommodate organisations from multiple sectors including large, small, public and private in the testbed.
  • Sets out a clear model for accountability and responsibility of any testbed activity.

The insights gained from Challenge 1 are being used to inform:

  • 2020 to 2021 activity in Testbed 1
  • future testbeds
  • longer term municipality decisions that balance industry, city, and community needs in the rollout of future technologies such as 5G and IoT.

The purpose of Challenge 2 was to establish data collection, sharing and storage protocols that allow us and relevant stakeholders to share existing and new data sets in the testbed.


We co-designed a data sharing procedure and data sharing policy document with 26 partners that:

  • Sets out how to assess any new data to be collected in the physical area of Testbed 1.
  • Defines where and how any data collected should be stored and shared.
  • Defines how the data should be collected to establish standardisation and maximise data-set applicability.

The insights gained from Challenge 2 are being used to inform:

  • 2020 to 2021 activity in Testbed 1
  • other data sharing activity required by City of Melbourne projects in partnership with external stakeholders
  • future testbeds.

The purpose of Challenge 3 was to pilot 5G and IoT infrastructure that met the solution criteria of:

  • A. Connectivity without the clutter: make invisible or camouflage 5G, IoT and other hardware in the urban realm.
  • B. Create opportunities for data collection about activity in the urban realm to better address the information needs of key stakeholders including City of Melbourne, researchers, startups, businesses and the community.
  • C. Create maximum community benefit and amenity to better service the urban realm.


We had 12 pitches from 16 of the 26 partners for Challenge 3. The panel of judges included representatives from City of Sydney, City of Melbourne, Victorian State Government and Carlton Residents Association, and an independent 5G and IoT expert.

Current Testbed pilots and partners

Emerging Technology Testbed