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Kiwi Smart City projects win big in IDC Awards

By Ben Moore
Wed 10 Jul 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealand projects have taken wins in three out of 14 categories in the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) 2019. 

Kiwi mahi took home the wins in the Civic Engagement, Education, and Sustainable Infrastructure categories.

"New Zealand projects have won in each of the five years these awards have been running. Despite its size, New Zealand is punching well above its weight by delivering high quality, innovative Smart Cities projects." IDC market analyst Jefferson King says.

"Being recognised on the regional stage 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 are as follows:

Virtual Wellington in the Civic Engagement category 

Virtual Wellington is a Virtual Reality version of Wellington. It 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 the surrounding metropolitan council’s 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 a digital human face to humanise Will, as well as to provide an interactive interface. 

While the knowledge base of the AI is currently limited to Vector's energy education programme, the aim is to eventually utilise this AI 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 highlights 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 has joined with Auckland Transport, NB Smart Cities, Cisco and Auckland Council’s Panuku Development to create Madden Street. 

Madden Street 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.

"For New Zealand projects to win across three different categories is an extraordinary achievement and shows the breadth of the positive impacts smart technology is having on our society," King adds.

Now in its fifth year, SCAPA recognises the most outstanding smart city projects in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) across a total of 14 functional smart city award categories. 

This year 17 projects were named as the best in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) chosen from a total of 58 finalists across APeJ.

IDC Government Insights' team went through a rigorous six-phased benchmarking exercise to determine the Top Smart City projects for 2018-19. 

These included identifying and cataloguing the key Smart City projects in Asia/Pacific by IDC Analysts across APeJ (25%), online voting to determine public opinion (50%), and assessment by an International Advisory Council (25%).

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