Vodafone ramps up 5G initiatives

Launches 5G Innovation Lab

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Vodafone has opened a 5G Innovation Lab in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, designed to help organisations in New Zealand understand how they can benefit from the technology.

The move follows Vodafone’s launch of 5G services in December 2019. The company has also announced a partnership with the University of Canterbury to co-deliver a speaker series designed to “showcase the latest technology and drive innovation for New Zealand businesses.”

Vodafone said the lab, located in the company’s inner city office on Tuam Street, would help organisations understand how they could use the increased online speeds, better responsiveness and more capacity for connected devices offered by 5G.

Vodafone’s initiative comes more than a year after Spark launched its 5G test lab in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct to help the Spark-sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand defend the America’s Cup.

In July 2019 Spark named the Patience Project as one of the first users of its pre-commercial 5G network with the aim of combating social isolation for Kiwi children diagnosed with a long-term illness.”

Vodafone is also touting its own early initiatives developing 5G applications, citing initial projects as a 5G-enabled drone for the NZ Police, an AI-solution for retail stores with the Aware Group, and Waste Management. “BNZ and Auckland’ Rescue Helicopter are currently working with Vodafone to design 5G applications,” the company said.

Vodafone’s Head of South Island, Michelle Sharp, said 5G technologies would help businesses compete on the world stage: “We want to bring the 5G network to life and encourage innovation and R&D. We’re not sure what the next big app or tech application will be, but we want New Zealanders to have the best chance at inventing it.”

She said the speaker series would consist of six informative and interactive events aimed at both the business community and students.

“The event series will take a look at digital technology that is shaping the way we live and work, and kicks off on April 8 with a deep-dive into innovating with 5G technology.”

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