Spark has been appointed as the official telecommunications and connectivity partner for Emirates Team New Zealand during the 36th America’s Cup, set to take place in Auckland in early 2021.
Terms of the agreement sees Spark provide the team with telecommunications and digital connectivity - “both on and off the water” - in addition to exclusive rights to provide telecommunications services and connectivity within areas controlled by the organising company, America’s Cup Event Limited.
“We have partnered with Spark, in the belief that their expertise in data and connectivity can help give us a competitive edge, and ensure the team is always connected in all mission critical aspects of design, testing and to put us in the best place for racing on the water,” said Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand.
“As America’s Cup racing becomes more and more driven by technology innovation, the crew on the boat and the team back at the base rely on the immediate availability of real time data to get the best performance on the water.
“Seamless connectivity can make the difference in gaining that competitive edge. We saw that for sure in Bermuda and there’s no doubt that this will continue to be a differentiator for the racing in 2021.”
According to Mark Beder - technology director at Spark - the agreement will see the tech giant leverage 5G capabilities during the event.
“We want to make the 36th America’s Cup an international showcase opportunity for many of the advances that will be enabled by 5G,” Beder said. “Our partnership with both Emirates Team New Zealand and the event itself will put us in the best position to deliver to this brief.
“Beyond that, we see huge opportunities to use the 5G network to support and innovate with Emirates Team New Zealand and to support the connectivity required for the America’s Cup village.
“Digital connectivity is what we do best, and we want to align the development of Spark’s network and services with the spirit of innovation that Emirates Team New Zealand has always shown at the America’s Cup and will no doubt be doing so again in 2021.”
Furthermore, Beder said Spark’s new 5G Innovation Lab, which will allow companies to test and develop future applications over a pre-commercial 5G network, will be based in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct.
When the Lab opens later this year, it will be located a few hundred metres from the Emirates Team New Zealand base.
Beder said this close co-location will create “great opportunities” to start testing “real world applications” of 5G in live environment from later this year.