Auckland Council unlocks power of data through The Instillery

Auckland Council unlocks power of data through The Instillery

Smart Growth Portal acts as a large analytical hub

Auckland Council Smart Growth Portal

Auckland Council Smart Growth Portal

Credit: Auckland Council

Auckland Council has unveiled plans to leverage real-time data through a Smart Growth Portal, powered by The Instillery in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Acting as a large analytical hub, the tool connects all of Auckland Council’s existing data sets, including those of infrastructure providers Auckland Transport and Watercare Limited.

The aim is to create a world-first 2D and 3D connected interactive view of Auckland city.

Designed by Auckland Council, the Smart Growth Portal leveraged the expertise of The Instillery, with the Auckland-based provider delivering a secure, scalable and automated cloud platform built on the AWS Cloud.

“A major challenge the project faced was the time it took the tool to process the large amounts of data required,” explained Dr Haydn Read, head of infrastructure programmes for the development programme office (DPO) at Auckland Council.

"Previously it was taking weeks, sometimes months, to crunch some of the larger data sets – literally grinding these traditional servers to a halt. Given the time required to perform the analytics and a lack of real data, decisions would need to be delayed.

“It’s great to see Auckland Council investing in cloud consumption models from AWS where it’s only paying for IT resources used when processing analytics."

According to Dr Read, consolidating the city’s infrastructure assets in one place provides an “intuitive storytelling platform”, increasing engagement levels of stakeholders and citizens in the process.

From a technology standpoint, The Instillery offering spanned a range of AWS Cloud services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon Ec2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Sagemaker to enable the building of machine learning models, in addition to Amazon EMR.

“By connecting the natural, built and social environments into a realistic digital version of Auckland, overlaying resilience datasets and providing the ability to develop scenarios we can provide deeper analysis to help inform and solve the investment discussions and decisions in areas such as housing and roads,” Dr Read added.

For Dr Read, the Smart Growth Portal is not just about offering a digital picture of what’s happening in Auckland and its' communities now, it’s about looking "well into the future" and analysing the data in a "dynamic sense".

“By mapping the roads, for instance, with public transport routes and overlaying that data with social indicators such as population, health, unemployment and income, we can start to transform the data into highly valuable information to see what those communities might look like in the future and where we should prioritise investment,” Dr Read explained.

“We opted to build the Smart Growth Portal platform on AWS because it enabled the pace and scale.”

In taking advantage of the architecture design by The Instillery - built on AWS Cloud - Dr Read said Auckland Council has reduced processing time for “hundreds of terabytes of data” from “months to just two days”.

“We can now analyse huge amounts of data using the most secure platform and advanced technology in a 24/7 environment, enabling us to run an analytic at the end of the business day and have the answers with data points for stakeholders the following day,” Dr Read explained.

Looking ahead, Dr Read cited a “very real opportunity” for the Smart Growth Portal to expand and accommodate other data systems – ensuring it can be scaled to adopt central and local government agencies data to "glean better insights".

MBIE, Housing New Zealand and a number of other agencies have already indicated interest in leveraging the portal.

“We’re excited about what the Smart Growth Portal can offer New Zealand in terms of using big data analytics to guide decision making, inform investment and offer insight to the social outcomes those decisions need to deliver,” Dr Read added.

Headquartered in Auckland, The Instillery was founded in 2013 to deliver on the potential of cloud computing in New Zealand, building a suite of solutions through partnerships with AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud.

Today, the enterprise-focused company provides cloud-centric expertise across security, connectivity and digital transformation, alongside managed services, consultancy, migration and automation offerings.

“New Zealanders have always had an innate ability to solve problems in new ways,” AWS country manager of New Zealand, Tim Dacombe-Bird, added.

“This ground-breaking work by the Auckland City Council and AWS advanced consulting partner and authorised public-sector partner, The Instillery, is yet another example of that innovative approach.

“Leveraging the power of the AWS Cloud to improve services to citizens in New Zealand’s largest city, is an outstanding outcome.”

The move comes less than a month after The Instillery unveiled plans to join forces with Vo2 Group in New Zealand, in a merger designed to drive wider adoption of cloud technologies across the country.

Effective 1 June, Reseller News revealed that the combined entity will work under The Instillery brand, with offices in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.

Leveraging the firepower of more than 100 technology specialists, the company will have combined revenues exceeding $20 million, in a business spearheaded by Mike Jenkins as founder and director of The Instillery.

The newly established board of directors will consist of Jenkins, alongside Ross Jenkins - former owner and executive of Computerland and COO/CFO at Xero - and Jason Trower, founder of Vo2 Group.

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