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New Zealand leads the way on “smart city” innovation

August 1, 2017
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can can help provide the sensors, systems, technologies and sustainable energy solutions to support these groundbreaking initiatives.

Despite the fact that New Zealand’s economy is significantly smaller than that of the U.S., New Zealand is a leading nation at the forefront of smart city technologies. New Zealand has been commended by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for demonstrating the economic benefits of turning smart city technologies into tangible solutions. Due to the growing need for improved infrastructure, intelligent transport systems and environmentally sustainable cities, New Zealand is seeing increased funding for smart city initiatives from its major city councils. This heightened demand should result in opportunities for Wisconsin companies with proven smart city technologies to collaborate with New Zealand-based partners.

New Zealand was strongly represented at the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) in August 2017. The following projects, undertaken by both local companies and subsidiaries of multinationals, won awards in four different categories:

  • Public Works: NEC, in collaboration with the Wellington and Christchurch city councils, developed the KITE Smart City Platform that supports economic and environmental council initiatives by collecting sensor data on air and water quality, waste management, parking, street lighting, and solvent and graffiti detection.
  • Smart Grids: Unison Networks developed a long-term “smart grid” strategy that utilizes a range of sensors to improve performance, enhance asset utilization and minimize consumer costs while maintaining power quality needs.
  • Tourism, Arts, Libraries, Culture and Open Spaces: Qrious developed the Voyager Web Portal, which analyzes mobile location data to provide interactive tourism insights.
  • Connected Health: The Waikato District Health Board has introduced SmartHealth, an online service that utilizes the HealthTap telehealth app to connect health care professionals and residents in rural areas.

The recently concluded Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Smart Cities Program also funded a number of smart city initiatives, in which New Zealand’s major cities tested various technology and data solutions aimed at enhancing livability and sustainability. The types of projects piloted in the Smart Cities Program included:

  • Auckland City Council: installed sensors to monitor water quality and issue real-time warnings, and used real-time data to evaluate congestion-relieving solutions by Auckland Transport.
  • Christchurch City Council: pilot tested a comprehensive IT platform that utilizes different types of sensors to optimize responsiveness.
  • Wellington City Council: utilized CCTV and sensors to monitor traffic and pedestrian flow to inform future investment decisions related to traffic congestion.
  • Waitaki District Council: installed smart sensors and advanced water filter technology at the Oamaru Water Treatment Plant.

Wisconsin companies with expertise in smart city and Internet of Things solutions should be well received in New Zealand, and are therefore encouraged to:

  • review the Opportunity Calendar published by the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand, which provides information on a range of opportunities for engagement between cities, solution providers, experts, NGOs and academics;
  • review information on current national smart city projects as well as the smart city plans of major city councils to identify funding opportunities, smart city projects and organizations to partner with; and
  • consider attending industry events such as the annual IDC Smart City Forum to connect with key players and identify opportunities for collaboration.

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