Spark New Zealand boosts IoT in Auckland following 5G launch
New Zealand operator Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland and inked a partnership with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase IoT technology, the carrier said in a release.
Under the terms of the agreement, Spark and AT have installed IoT-enabled infrastructure at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter – including 5G connected lighting, smart benches with charging capability, smart trash bins and parking sensors.
“We are excited to launch our commercial 5G network in downtown Auckland,” said Spark Technology Lead Renee Mateparae. “Our partnership with AT is about helping bring to life the significant contribution 5G and IoT will make in addressing urban, economic and sustainability challenges across the country.”
Smart lighting has been installed in the surrounding streets of Wynyard Quarter’s Innovation Precinct, which can now generate heat maps of foot traffic to help AT identify any “choke points” to better inform future infrastructure investments, as well as monitor air and noise pollution.
Spark also noted that some lights are fitted with 5G-connected CCTV which could enable better detection of criminal activity, capturing high definition video even at night; and can be dimmed and brightened remotely to help reduce energy consumption.
Solar-powered smart benches with smart phone and electric scooter charging capabilities have also been installed at the Quarter, connected over Spark’s IoT network. Sensors attached to bins can now detect when they’re full and could contact the council for service, preventing overflow and reducing the number of rubbish trucks on the road, Spark said.
“We’re learning how to use smart infrastructure in a way that works for Auckland so we can leverage applications as they evolve and become more commonplace,” said Auckland Transport Group Manager Technology Solutions, Chris Creighton. “For example, we estimate Aucklanders visiting the city can spend up to one third of their journey searching for a carpark, so we’re working with Spark to explore ways to help Aucklanders find available carparks quicker by installing 200 smart parking sensors throughout the Quarter.”
Creighton also said that in the future, AT expects IoT applications powered by 5G could be used to detect incidents such as car crashes or pedestrian accidents and notify the appropriate authorities, reducing the time it takes for emergency services to respond and potentially saving lives.
Spark’s 5G network currently reaches certain areas of Auckland including Britomart, the Viaduct, Commercial Bay and Wynyard Quarter, as well as in North Shore’s Takapuna. The New Zealand carrier had initial launched 5G services in the country last year.
Earlier this month, Spark New Zealand signed an agreement with Australia’s LoRaWAN network operator, NNNCo, which will enable mutual access across the respective LoRaWAN IoT) networks.
This means that businesses in Australia and New Zealand can implement cost-effective smart technology solutions without needing to set up operations in the other country.
The wholesale arrangement has been enabled with the integration of NNNCo’s enterprise data platform N2N-DL into Spark NZ’s network core.