The four winners of Spark’s $625,000 5G starter fund have been named with two hailing from Auckland and one each from Dunedin and Wellington.
The winners are Rocos (Auckland), Beyond (Wellington), Objective Acuity (Auckland) and oDocs Eye Care (Dunedin).
Rocos was awarded the supreme prize of $250,000, with the others each receiving $125,000.
Selected from more than 200 entries, the winners demonstrated how 5G was an enabling technology that had the potential to solve some of today’s biggest problems.
“By supporting these local businesses to create some of the first 5G technology applications in the country, we are bringing to life how 5G can improve Kiwi lives and play a role in New Zealand's economic recovery and transformation," said Spark technology director Mark Beder.
Rocos wowed the judges by showcasing how their robotics platform would use multiple features of 5G to enhance their existing solution in ways that are not possible with today’s generation of network connectivity.
Early access to Spark’s 5G network was set to give Rocos a global competitive advantage, providing benefits that go beyond speed, relying on low latency and high sped edge computing.
5G technology is expected to accelerate the adoption of autonomous robots and Rocos is planning to enhance its existing cloud solution that connects, monitors and controls robotic ‘fleets’ at scale.
oDocs Eye Care was developing a platform that allows specialists to remotely monitor patients’ eyes in real-time, by creating affordable and portable ophthalmic diagnostic tools.
Objective Acuity was developing a suite of software-based vision screening and vision tests that are more accessible and accurate for detecting vision problems early in younger children.
Beyond, is a virtual reality game studio tapping into the speed and advanced graphics enabled by Spark’s 5G network to help bring its Kiwi-made games to the masses.
The four winners will each have access to the Spark 5G co-lab and benefit from 5G tech support and business mentoring by Spark and the judges over four months through to March 2021, as they strive to take their proof of concept to the minimum viable product (MVP) stage.
Eight finalists were announced in September.