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Spark opens doors to 5G & IoT innovation studio in Auckland

29 Mar 2021

Spark has opened the doors to its new Innovation Studio, which the company hopes will help New Zealand businesses to test the latest technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things.

Spark IoT lead Tony Agar says the Studio aims to demystify emerging technologies by placing them in real-world examples that businesses can relate to their own challenges.

“We know New Zealanders and our business community understand the value of digitisation, but often struggle to move from insight to action. That is where the Innovation Studio comes in – it is hands-on, practical and collaborative and a place where businesses can learn how to become more productive, resilient and sustainable through technology.”

In partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services, Spark’s Innovation Studio supports technologies across networks including 4G, 5G, Cat M1, LoRaWAN, and NB IoT.

AWS New Zealand commercial sector managing director Nick Walton says, “We see New Zealand as a hub of innovation, and it’s exciting to work with Spark to explore our shared vision of IoT and its role in driving the digital transformation in New Zealand. Working with the Spark Innovation Studio, we hope to give local businesses a hands-on opportunity to explore the uses and benefits of IoT within our cloud environment, in a way that is easy, accessible and efficient.”

The Innovation Studio comprises four interactive zones that cater to different business applications: the Asset Management Zone, the Emerging Tech Zone, the Smart Environments Zone, and the Utilities Zone.

The Asset Management Zone concentrates on how IoT asset tracking devices can be used across different verticals, such as retail, manufacturing, transport, healthcare, and the public sector. The zone features three organisations: Blackhawk and Digital Matter created end-to-end asset management; and Zebra, which maintains asset visibility through RFID tagging.

The Emerging Tech Zone showcases how 5G and IoT can help create solutions that may have been previously thought impossible. From intelligent lighting to augmented reality, these technologies can make businesses more autonomous. The zone features Toyota New Zealand, which created a VR experience for customers’ buying journeys.

The Smart Environments Zone is all about how IoT sensors can improve utilities and services operations in both urban and rural environments - for example, farmers can leverage real-time data from IoT sensors to reduce their environmental impact. The zone features Qrious and Auckland Transport, which teamed with Spark to create a pilot project for urban street maintenance.

The Utilities Zone provides an overview of end-to-end connectivity for utilities businesses. Applications include water or power management, right down to cleaner waterways. The zone features Adroit, which worked with Spark to use a data buoy named ‘Murray’ that monitors water quality.