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Inside Spark’s new Innovation Studio

Spark’s new Innovation Studio aims to help Kiwi businesses identify how emerging technologies can help them adapt, transform and grow.

The studio is the first place in New Zealand where businesses can test technology solutions on all networks  (4G, 5G, Cat M1, NB IoT, LoRaWAN)  and co-create their own solutions with the assistance of some of the country’s best technology engineers and experts.

Spark’s IoT lead, Tony Agar, says the Innovation Studio showcases real life examples of how new technology can help solve business challenges.

“When you consider the challenges we are facing as a nation, from COVID-19 to climate change to lagging productivity, it is clear that technology is going to play an important enabling role in helping us adapt,” says Agar.

 “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.” 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been selected as the cloud provider for the studio, who together with Spark, will explore and build IoT solutions for New Zealand companies. 

Nick Walton, managing director for commercial sector at AWS, says he sees New Zealand as a hub of innovation.

“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. 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.” 

With four interactive zones, the studio demonstrates how emerging technology can help in several key sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, utilities, transport, logistics, councils, government and health and safety.

The Utilities Zone

This zone shows how combining end-to-end connectivity with IoT technology can give utilities businesses valuable insight into the usage of resources, from generation of power to flow of water.

Brining this zone to life, New Zealand IoT solutions provider, Adroit, boasts its recent innovation with the local aquaculture industry, a data-buoy nicknamed ‘Murray’ that monitors the quality of the water. Murray is currently being used at the Westpac Mussel Farm in the Firth of Thames using Spark’s Cat-M1 network.

The Smart Environments Zone

This Zone showcases how real-time data insights collected from IoT sensors are helping decision makers to plan for the future, from aiding city planners to construct smarter urban environments, to helping farmers operate their farms to reduce their impact on the environment. 

Visitors to the zone can learn about Qrious and Auckland Transport’s innovation, a pilot for urban street maintenance, integrating data sources from Wynyard Smart Street IoT devices like connected bins and lights, into a holistic data dashboard. Key information can be viewed in Augmented reality form via a Hololens headset.

The Emerging Tech Zone

Looking into the future, this zone shows where IoT and 5G intersect and bring to life solutions that may have seemed impossible, but are in fact a reality.

With an ambition to progress their net carbon reduction targets by reducing logistics freight, Toyota New Zealand has harnessed 5G to create an immersive VR experience for customers’ buying journey, virtually bringing thousands of car models and customization options to prospective buyers through a VR headset. 

The Asset Management Zone

This zone showcases recent developments to one of the first IoT applications to be broadly adopted by New Zealand businesses. Businesses are increasingly using IoT asset tracking devices to monitor valuable assets and gather insights into how they are being used, enabling optimisation and driving productivity gains and operational efficiencies. 

Within the Innovation Studio, Spark will showcase a range of usage applications, from end-to-end fleet management, in partnership with Blackhawk and Digital Matter, to end-to-end asset visibility using RFID tagging via Zebra, with valuable applications for retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, healthcare and the public sector. 

To book a tour around the studio or to find out more information, visit here.

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