Spark turned on its 5G service in downtown Auckland's Wynyard Quarter today, partnering with Auckland Transport to showcase internet (IoT) of things technology.
Spark and AT have installed IoT enabled infrastructure at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter - including 5G connected lighting, smart benches with charging capability, smart bins, and parking sensors.
5G is expected to underpin the widespread deployment of IoT technology with its increased speeds, low latency (or lag) and reliability.
Spark technology lead Renee Mateparae said the localised 5G deployment built on the private network Spark put in place to support Emirates Team New Zealand and the launch of Spark Race Zone last month.
"Our partnership with AT is about helping bring to life the significant contribution 5G and IoT will make in addressing urban, economic and sustainability challenges across the country," Mateparae said.
“5G will eventually allow for one million devices to be connected per square kilometre on a continual basis1, generating data that will help governments, councils and businesses respond quickly, allocate resources wisely and plan for the future, which will ultimately improve services and amenities for New Zealanders," she said.
Spark and AT installed the IoT technology with key technology partners, NB Smart Cities, Glowbal NZ, SmartSensor Technologies and Parkable.
Smart lighting has been installed in the surrounding streets of Wynyard Quarter’s Innovation Precinct, which can now generate heat maps of foot traffic to help AT identify choke points to better inform future infrastructure investments, as well as monitor air and noise pollution.
Some lights are fitted with 5G connected CCTV which could enable better detection of criminal activity, capturing high definition video even at night, and can be dimmed and brightened remotely to help reduce energy consumption.
Solar powered smart benches with smart phone and electric scooter charging capabilities have also been installed at the quarter, connected over Spark’s low powered IoT network.
Sensors attached to bins can now detect when they’re full and could contact the council for service, preventing overflow and reducing the number of rubbish trucks on the road.
Auckland Transport group manager technology solutions Chris Creighton said the installations were not just shiny new tech, but real solutions to existing and impending challenges.
“We’re learning how to use smart infrastructure in a way that works for Auckland so we can leverage applications as they evolve and become more commonplace," he said.
"For example, we estimate Aucklanders visiting the city can spend up to one third of their journey searching for a carpark, so we’re working with Spark to explore ways to help Aucklanders find available carparks quicker by installing 200 smart parking sensors throughout the quarter.”
AT expected IoT applications powered by 5G could be used to detect incidents such as car crashes or pedestrian accidents and notify the appropriate authorities.
Kriv Naicker, chair of the IoT Alliance, said the scaling up of IoT solutions from hundreds to thousands of sensors and new data and information being used will benefit all aspects of work, life and play in the CBD.
However, IoT was a complementary technology and needed integration with 5G and artificial intelligence and machine learning to fully realise its potential, he said.
“Our alliance looks forward to seeing the partnership between Spark NZ and Auckland Transport scale and expand with other nationwide partnerships to realise similar IoT uses across New Zealand."
Spark now has commercial 5G services running in Auckland covering Britomart, the Viaduct, Commercial Bay and Wynyard Quarter, as well as in North Shore’s Takapuna.