New Zealand projects win three awards in regional Smart City Awards

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New Zealand projects recently won awards in three of the 14 categories at the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) 2019: Civic Engagement, Education, and Sustainable Infrastructure.

Commenting on New Zealand’s success at the Awards, IDC Market Analyst, Jefferson King said: “New Zealand has been a front-runner of Smart City projects in all five years of these awards. Despite its size, New Zealand is punching well above its weight by delivering high quality, innovative Smart Cities projects.

“Being recognised regionally shows that organisations in New Zealand are successfully leveraging New Zealand’s world class IT infrastructure to enable innovation.”

The New Zealand winners and categories were:

  • Virtual Wellington in the ‘Civic Engagement’ category.

Virtual Wellington is a Virtual Reality version of Wellington that immerses people in a 3D city experience and allows them to interact with city data to understand urban issues and futures. The model covers all of Wellington City and surrounding metropolitan councils and contains the buildings, trees, roads and other physical features which make up Wellington’s environment. This environment then provides the base to project data, proposals and alternative futures in an engaging, informative and intuitive way.

  • Will Digital Teacher in the ‘Education’ category.

Will is a digital teacher operating initially in the Auckland region for schools connected to Vector electrical network. The aim of the project is to educate children about energy and its role in New Zealand society. The project utilises AI combined with digital human face to humanise Will, as well as to provide an interactive interface. While the knowledgebase of the AI is currently limited to Vector’s energy education program, the aim is to eventually utilise it across many different subjects. In the long-term, the project seeks to solve issues stemming from an international teacher shortage, as well as democratise education. Vector highlighted that, from a business standpoint, it is essential to follow new technology trends and practices.

  • Madden Street in the ‘Sustainable Infrastructure’ category.

Spark New Zealand’s 5G team joined with Auckland Transport, NB Smart Cities, Cisco and Auckland Council’s Panuku Development to create Madden Street, which utilises IoT technology to display how 5G will impact the way citizens interact with technology on a daily basis through the installation of sensors in rubbish bins, car park spaces, street lights, pavements and air monitors. The combination of sensors allows various street factors to change, such as a full rubbish bin being emptied or dimming light triggering street lights. The street lamps house the smart hubs which make all this possible. Through this project, Auckland can remove the ugliness typically associated with smart hubs at street level, while also providing free public Wi-Fi and smart CCTV.