Spark is a major sponsor of our GovTech accelerator this year and it was only fitting that they paid us a visit to talk about innovation. We were lucky enough to have Monique Strawbridge talk to us about Spark’s approach to 5G and its potential for not only the future of innovation, but New Zealand’s future as a community and an economy.
We’ve seen texting (2G) move into mobile data (3G), and then into video and streaming with the likes of Zoom and FaceTime (4G). The shift into 5G represents an exciting leap into a post smartphone era that will open doors for the future of technology and for New Zealand as a country and a community.
4G paved the way for the smartphone revolution, what is 5G bringing?
The main difference between 5G and the existing 3G and 4G networks is that it combines massive data bandwidth and speed with incredibly fast response times. To achieve this, the 5G network distributes its nodes closer to the customer, building a distributed network architecture rather than a centralised one. This processing power, enabled by edge computing, will give businesses the opportunity to innovate with real-time applications and automation.
Internet of Things and 5G
5G has many, many features but these three are making waves…literally:
- Speed – the increased speed of 5G means faster response times and precision. The speed of 5G brings high functioning capacity, reliability and latency.
- Capacity – more and more things can be networked making way for smarter and more connected communities and worlds.
- Reliability – sometimes said to be the #1 driver of 5G because it means guaranteed services and dependability for everyone.
These features make 5G perfect for the Internet of Things (IoT). Internet of things is an umbrella term that describes interrelated objects connected to a network. We are talking about things that are embedded with technologies such as sensors and software that can transmit and exchange data on the network in real time to make decisions within seconds. A perfect example of this is self-driving cars. In conjunction, 5G and IoT make seamless exchanges of data in real time, from sensors in a car to accessing servers where crucial decision making information lies. This happens instantaneously and can inform decisions such as: routing to avoid traffic and communication with other vehicles on the road.
A local example of IoT & 5G being used right now is Parkable in Auckland. Parkable enables businesses to rent out their vacant car spaces. Each parking spot has an IoT sensor that connects to the user’s app to let the user choose from parking spots that are free. This has resulted in saving massive costs for local businesses. For example:
- KPMG has saved over 125 admin hours per year with Parkable.
- Datacom has increased occupancy of their parks by 15% using Parkable.
5G for the future New Zealand
Spark is leading the way in New Zealand with the 5G revolution. Their aim is to bring the future to NZ faster, by delivering smart solutions that enable us to be the most connected, productive and sustainable nation.
Economically, 5G has the potential to revolutionise entire industries which will contribute in enabling smart cities. Smart cities have an IoT that supports infrastructure, energy and utilities, transportation, citizen engagement and public safety. These future cities will lower costs for local governments and optimise business processes whilst benefiting citizens through health, education, housing, economy and overall quality of life.
“The national rollout of 5G is predicted to add between $5.7 and $8.9 billion per year to the New Zealand economy over the next 10 years.” – NERA Economic Consulting
Spark & 5G
Spark says that the time to start is right now, there is no time to wait. Solving challenges now means you can build iterative, scaleable and transferable solutions that just get better as IoT and 5G technology matures.
Spark is working on connecting New Zealanders to the things that matter. The place of experiments is their 5G Co-Lab space in Auckland which offers businesses access to 5G so that they can foster and test ideas with collaboration and innovation.
“5G has the opportunity to spear head innovation in NZ, increasing efficiency in government and NZ businesses”.
See more about what Spark work in the space at spark.co.nz/5G.