Spark to focus on three new markets: IoT, digital health and sport

Spark to focus on three new markets: IoT, digital health and sport

Spark aims to simplify and use data, artificial intelligence and machine learning

Jolie Hodson (Spark)

Jolie Hodson (Spark)

Credit: Spark

New Zealand's largest telco, Spark, is aiming to attack three new markets over the next three years: the internet of things (IoT), digital health and sport.

Releasing details of its three-year strategy today, covering the 2021 to 2023 financial years, Spark said the strategy built on the momentum of the prior three years, which delivered compound annual growth in shareholder returns of 13 per cent – "the highest of Spark’s international peer group".

The three new target markets were in addition to Spark’s established markets of wireless, broadband and cloud.

“The benefit of focusing on a set of core capabilities is that they pay off immediately in our established markets, while also positioning us to grow in future markets," said CEO Jolie Hodson.

“Our investment in 5G, edge computing and network slicing will open up new opportunities in wireless and will enable smart business solutions beyond connectivity alone."

Spark's "end-to-end" digital services capability across cloud, security and service management positioned it well to accelerate digital transformation as businesses adapted to Covid-19, Hodson said.

“We see significant opportunities for growth in IoT, as New Zealand transitions to future ways of working and pursues productivity improvements across all sectors," she said.

“We created Spark Health several years ago and have been working in partnership with health providers across the country to provide telecommunications and cloud services."

The healthcare sector is in a dire situation technologically, and is now looking to improve.

Hodson said 5G would open new possibilities for advanced healthcare applications.

“With Spark Sport we have been focussed on increasing choice and value for New Zealanders, and a year on from launch we have bolstered the content on our platform, including signing New Zealand Cricket," Hodson said. 

"We will continue to make targeted content investments that differentiate Spark through the dual lens of customer desirability and commercial value."

Spark would remain focused on improving our operational effectiveness and productivity, so it could continue to provide good value to our customers while creating the fuel for growth.

“Our 2023 aspiration is to be primarily wireless, digitally native and a leading cloud custodian, with 5G and IoT deployed nation-wide, unconstrained capacity, and a top-decile culture defined by its engagement and inclusivity,” Hodson said.

Chair Justine Smyth said the strategy built on the strong foundations built over the last three years and remained focused on customers, Spark's people and supporting New Zealand’s economic transformation.

“We are starting this new strategy at a time of global uncertainty, and with the challenge of Covid-19 front and centre. 

"However we are also starting with strong market momentum, a highly capable and engaged team, a leading network and a diversified business that is well positioned to support New Zealand to adapt and thrive in an increasingly digital world.”

Hodson said the company would focus on a core set of organisational capabilities that will differentiate Spark and provide better experiences for its customers – fueling growth in both established and future markets.

“At its heart, this strategy is about accelerating the things we know will give us a competitive edge because they respond to the trends that are shaping our market and the evolving needs of our customers."

Customers were looking for ‘uber-like’ digital experiences and would move to the brands that make their lives easier, so Spark would accelerate its focus on delivering simple, intuitive customer experiences that "just work".

“To do this we need to continue to simplify Spark, but we also need to deeply understand our customers and show up in a way that is timely and relevant – and we will achieve this through a more sophisticated use of data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Our sustained network investment will continue, with a focus on our 5G rollout and on building unconstrained capacity in wireless, which will allow us to respond to the increasing demand for data from our customers," Hodson said.

“We have hit a new milestone on this journey today, with the launch of uncapped wireless broadband in metropolitan areas across the country .”

Building a culture defined by its engagement, diversity and inclusion remained a core imperative, with an ambition to achieve top-decile Agile maturity and 40:40:20 representation Spark-wide by 2023.

“Highly engaged and capable people create highly engaged customers and we want to build on the momentum we have created over the last three years,” continued Hodson.

The strategy also articulated Spark’s three sustainability focus areas – improving the company’s own sustainability performance, lifting digital equity, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery and transformation.

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