No place like home - Neighbourhood Networks

10 October 2013

No place like home - Neighbourhood Networks

Oatley has been selected as the best Sydney suburb to trial Neighbourhood Networks, a new online site developed by University of Sydney information technologies researchers.

Community noticeboards similar to those found in local supermarkets or libraries were the inspiration behind Neighbourhood Networks, a website co-founded by Dr Rainer Wasinger and Hai He as part of the University's collaboration with the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

According to Dr Rainer Wasinger, people of all ages value community noticeboards finding them useful reference tools with practical local information.

Dr Wasinger says recent research has shown that consumers are more likely to act on information provided in a community newspaper or noticeboard compared to radio or billboard advertising.

However their popularity has a down side.

"North Sydney Council for example maintains over 60 community noticeboards scattered throughout its domain, on bus shelters, in local community services centres, parks and libraries."

Neighbourhood Networks is about pulling these all together, building one simple online tool for individual suburbs or communities that will keep people informed and interested in local activities.

Oatley residents have been invited to define their neighbourhood and customise their noticeboard to activities and businesses specific to their local area.

"The Internet has been amazingly successful in connecting us all globally" says Dr Wasinger.

"It has supported a plethora of different online services to make our lives easier. We can reach and purchase virtually anything internationally. But when we thought about it, the whole system seemed a little shallow in the sense that it has missed the most important part of our day to day lives. Home!" explains Dr Wasinger.

While the internet has expanded outwardly at an ever-increasing rate, it has failed to encompass the home and the neighbourhoods in which we all live.

"Essentially no online services specialise in this; and that's what makes what we are doing with Neighbourhood Networks unique," states Dr Wasinger.

Smart Services CRC identifies and supports research that will deliver new services to improve people's lives, one of which is Neighbourhood Networks. Neighbourhood Networks is one of eight hand-picked start-ups supported by the University of Sydney Union's INCUBATE 2013 program.

Media Contact: Victoria Hollick M: 0401 711 361 E: victoria.hollick@sydney.edu.au