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Spark has enabled 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered up with Auckland Transport (AT) to show off the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) tech, demonstrating what Auckland’s CBD could look like in the future with 5G enabled technology.
The IoT (Internet of Things) refers to the mass connection of things via cellular networks and the data that is gathered from what is being monitored.
5G is aiming at increasing speeds and lowering latency to make the IoT a lot more reliable and convenient for consumers.
Auckland Transport and Spark have installed infrastructure at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter which has 5G connected lighting, smart benches with charging capabilities, smart bins and parking sensors.
Spark 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 Zealanders.”
Surrounding streets of Wynyard Quarter’s now have ‘Smart Lighting’ installed, which can generate heat maps of foot traffic to help Auckland Transport identify any ‘choke points’. The Smart Lights accordingly can also monitor air and noise pollution.
Other factors for the Smart Lights installed contain 5G connected CCTV which can enable better detection of criminal activity, capturing the footage in HD even if it is at night. The lights can be dimmed and brightened remotely to help reduce energy consumption.
*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.
The Smart Benches of which contain smartphone charging and electric scooter charging capabilities have also been installed at the Quarter, which connects to Spark’s low powered IoT network.
Bins next to the Smart Benches can now detect when they are full and can contact the council to empty the bins; this allows for fewer rubbish trucks on the road as each bin in the area of concept can send an alert when over-flow is present.
Chris Creighton from Auckland Transports Group Manager Technology Solutions says that it is not just ‘shiny new tech’ but a real solution 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.”
The future tech of the newly installed 5G systems can be used to detect incidents such as car crashes or pedestrian accidents and send a notification to the correct authorities, which can reduce the time it takes for emergency services to respond. It can potentially save lives.