Spark Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has
partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of
the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and
demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s
CBD with the power of 5G.

5G is expected to underpin
the widespread deployment of IoT technology with its
increased speeds, low latency (or lag) and reliability. To
bring this potential to life, 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.

Technology Lead, Renee Mateparae said: “We are excited to
launch our commercial 5G network in downtown Auckland today,
building on the private network we have 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.

“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

“We know from existing research that IoT
applications can improve quality of life significantly by
saving us time, improving health and safety outcomes,
reducing environmental impact, and boosting social
connectedness and civic participation,2” said

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 any ‘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 convenient 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

Auckland Transport Group Manager Technology
Solutions, Chris Creighton said the installations at Wynyard
Quarter 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. 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.”

Creighton said that
in the future, AT expects IoT applications powered by 5G
could be used to detect incidents such as car crashes or
pedestrian accidents and notify the appropriate authorities,
reducing the time it takes for emergency services to respond
and potentially saving lives.

Spark and AT have
installed the IoT technology at Wynyard Quarter with key
technology partners, NB Smart Cities, Glowbal NZ,
SmartSensor Technologies and Parkable with the shared goal
of using IoT and data to make better decisions and improve
quality of life for people.

Spark was excited to have
a commercial 5G network up and running in Auckland, with
coverage across Britomart, the Viaduct, Commercial Bay and
Wynyard Quarter, as well as in North Shore’s

With 5G available to Spark customers in
Auckland, they can now experience 5G speeds firsthand with a
5G ready mobile phone, free of charge, no matter what plan
they are on until at least July 2021. Those who want to
experience 5G speeds at home can sign up for Spark’s
Discover 5G Wireless Broadband Plan. Spark has a range of 5G
ready mobiles in store or at

of Things) refers to the mass connection of things via
cellular networks and the data that is gathered from what is
being monitored.

*In addition to the 5G connected
lights, the rest of the smart infrastructure is connected
using Spark’s LoraWAN IoT network, which is a low powered,
long range mobile network dedicated specifically to
connecting IoT devices.

1GSMA. (2019). The 5G guide: A
reference for operators. Retrieved from

McKinsey Global Institute. (2018). Smart cities: Digital
solutions for a more liveable future. Retrieved from

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