4 NZ projects shortlisted in IDC’s Asia Pacific Smart Cities awards

Projects from the Rural Connectivity Group, Frenzy Application, and Christchurch City Council in the running for the top prize

smart city - Industry 4.0 - industrial IoT internet of things - mobile wireless network

Four New Zealand projects stood out from over 215 entries in the 2020 IDC Asia Pacific Smart Cities Awards.

The second phase of Rural Connectivity Group’s Rural Broadband Connectivity Initiative, is a finalist in the Digital Equity and Accessibility category.

Frenzy is a finalist in the Transportation - Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, Public Transit, Ride-Hailing/Ride-Sharing category for its Frenzy App.

Christchurch City Council’s Smart Water Sensors and EQRNet-Earthquake Response Management are both finalists in the Public Safety - Disaster Response/Emergency Management category.

louise francis IDC New Zealand

Louise Francis

“For New Zealand to have four projects that stand out on the regional stage is a noteworthy achievement,” says Louise Francis, IDC New Zealand country manager and ANZ research director. “New Zealand has consistently excelled in the six years that these awards have been running.”

A look at the smart city innovations

The Rural Broadband Connectivity Initiative aims to improve and provide high speed broadband and connectivity for rural New Zealanders.

The deployment will occur throughout the whole country providing coverage for 84,000 rural homes. It will also enable mobile coverage along an additional 1400km of State Highway and provide connectivity to a minimum of 168 tourist attractions. The Rural Connectivity Group will do the majority of the deployment creating a rural broadband network that can deliver better health and education services, safer state highways and tourism locations.

Frenzy, a free NZ-made app, gives commuters the option of earning some money while taking public transport. It was recently launched in Auckland and is targeting other main centres.

The app pays people who use it to plan their bus, train or ferry trips and view marketing content during the ride. With a sustainable outlook, the company offsets carbon emissions of users' journeys by buying carbon credits from approved schemes. For each video, game or quiz a user watches or does, they receive ‘Frenzy dollars’. These are similar to airpoints and can be deposited into a user’s bank account, and spent at partner retailers such as Spark, or donated to charity.

In July 2018, the Smart Christchurch programme at Christchurch City Council (CCC) initiated a three-year trial of the earthquake response network, EQRNet, with local company Canterbury Seismic Instruments (CSI).

EQRNet is a dense network of more than 150 ground-based accelerometers which allows the council to manage its earthquake response in real-time; safeguarding communities, staff, and assets above and below ground.

This trial was conducted on the back of a 10-sensor pilot in the Christchurch central business district. It demonstrated significant variations in groundshaking over distances as small as 100 metres. This proved that a much greater level of monitoring is required than currently exists through GeoNet instrumentation. The network’s output provides defendable real-time information to building managers, emergency teams, and the public, allowing better management of response during seismic events.

Christchurch City Council’s Smart Water Sensors will be getting an extra $2 million to operate and install smart pressure and acoustic sensors in Christchurch's water supply network. This is part of a larger plan to improve the security of the district's water supply network. To keep drinking water safe and free from contamination in the long term, it is necessary to have control of the water supply and introduce smart monitoring.

Francis says all finalists were selected using IDC’s Smart City Development Index framework, a rigorous six-phase benchmarking process that involves input from various stakeholders, including the public.

The second phase of this framework is public and citizen voting (open until April 3) and constitutes 25 per cent in the judging criteria.  IDC says “the best of the best” in the 14 Smart City functional e-service categories will be announced in May.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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