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Four NZ projects named as finalist in IDC's Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards

Two projects from Christchurch City Council, one project from the Rural Connectivity Group and another from Frenzy Application have been shortlisted in IDC's Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards.

The annual awards highlight and acknowledge smart city initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. This year, the awards received more than 215 smart city initiative entries from the public sector and technology suppliers from across the region. 

Louise Francis, IDC New Zealand country manager and ANZ research director, says given the nature of the competition that New Zealand projects are up against across the Asia Pacific region, the results are especially impressive.

"For New Zealand to have four projects that stand out on the regional stage is a noteworthy achievement. New Zealand has consistently excelled in the six years that these awards have been running," she says.

The New Zealand projects were shortlisted as finalists in four of the 14 award categories.

The Rural Connectivity Group has rolled out their second phase of the Rural Broadband Connectivity Initiative in the Digital Equity and Accessibility category.

The Rural Broadband Connectivity Initiative aims to improve and provide high speed broadband and connectivity for rural New Zealanders. The deployment will occur throughout the whole country providing coverage for 84,000 rural homes. It will also enable mobile coverage along an additional 1400kms of State Highway and provide connectivity to a minimum of 168 tourist attractions.

The Rural Connectivity Group will do the majority of the deployment creating a rural broadband network that can deliver better health and education services, safer state highways and tourism locations.

Frenzy are a finalist in the Transportation - Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, Public Transit, Ride-Hailing/Ride-Sharing category for the Frenzy App.

'Frenzy', a free NZ-made app, gives commuters the option of earning some money while taking public transport. With its recent launch in Auckland, it is targeting the other main centres by the end of February 2020. The app pays people who use it to plan their bus, train or ferry trips and view marketing content during the ride. With a sustainable outlook, the company offsets carbon emissions of users' journeys by buying carbon credits from approved schemes.

For each video, game or quiz a user watches or does, they receive 'Frenzy dollars'. These are similar to airpoints and can be deposited into a user's bank account, spent at partners' retailers e.g Spark or donated to charity.

Christchurch City Council’s Smart Water Sensors under Smart Water, and their EQRNet- Earthquake Response Management under the Public Safety - Disaster Response / Emergency Management category are both finalists.

In July 2018, the Smart Christchurch programme at Christchurch City Council (CCC) initiated a three year trial of the earthquake response network, EQRNet, with local company Canterbury Seismic Instruments (CSI). EQRNet is a dense network of more than 150 ground-based accelerometers which allows Council to manage its earthquake response in real-time; safeguarding communities, staff, and assets above and below ground.

This trial was initiated on the back of a 10-sensor pilot in the Christchurch CBD which demonstrated significant variations in ground-shaking over distances as small as 100m. This proved that a much greater level of monitoring is required than currently exists through GeoNet instrumentation. The network’s output provides defendable real-time information to building managers, emergency teams, and the public, allowing better management of response during seismic events.

Christchurch City Council’s Smart Water Sensors will be getting an extra NZ$2 million to operate and install smart pressure and acoustic sensors in Christchurch's water supply network. This is part of a larger plan to improve the security of the districts water supply network. To keep drinking water safe and free from contamination in the long term, it is necessary to have control of the water supply and introduce smart monitoring. 

The awards are now in the public voting phase, which means the public can vote for the deserving finalists and go in the draw to win the latest Samsung Galaxy S20+ once the Asia Pacific winners have been announced in May 2020.