Friday Fry Up: Biggest IaaS share in NZ, Incremental 5G, Police sign up for Algorithm Charter, Greens’ tech policy

Friday Fry Up is Computerworld New Zealand’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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Who’s got the biggest IaaS market share in NZ?

Kiwi IaaS (infrastructure as a service) providers are holding their own against the big public cloud providers, according to IDC. Senior analyst Prabhitha Dcruz says while “global hyperscalers” often account for 70% to 80% of the IaaS market share across countries in Asia-Pacific excluding China and Japan. But in New Zealand, it’s a different story.

“Local vendors such as Spark and Datacom together account for 43% of the overall NZ IaaS market share. From a public cloud IaaS perspective, Amazon Web Services has the largest market share of 23%, followed by Microsoft at 19%. Late entrant Google continues to make progress but has just 1% market share in 2019,” Dcruz says.

Fry Up checked in for an update on the local IaaS market following the announcement by AWS this week that it has established a new “edge location” in New Zealand. So what is it and how does it compare to Microsoft’s plans to establish a data region on these shores?

“AWS’s announcement of the launch of CloudFront in New Zealand is a content delivery network service (CDN). With this service, New Zealand AWS customers will be able use this edge location to access a locally cached copy of data that is stored in other geographies,” Dcruz explains. “With the establishment of a Microsoft’s New Zealand Azure region, the majority of the Azure services will be locally hosted. Azure NZ customers will be able to store and access data and run applications on their data locally.”

Incremental 5G

5G is on its way, town by town, city by city. Spark is set to launch in Auckland this month. It’s a big region, so will they be covering all of it? We did ask and were told the details are TBA.

Spark has also relocated its ‘5G experience’ from a lab for enterprise customers (which saw 3,500 through its doors) to an Americas Cup experience for the kids. Prior to opening the ‘5G race zone’ to the public this week, it showed the media through.

Spark lead for technology evolution Renee Mateparae began the tour with a couple of fun facts, including that the rollout of 5G in New Zealand could add between $5.7 billion and $8.9 billion per year to the economy over the next ten years (per a NERA Economic Consulting report done for Spark which has not been released publicly).

The 5G race zone is a Te Papa-like experience with hands-on activities such digitally designing a boat using Huawei tablets, or steering a boat on an AC75 simulator. The latter, we were assured, is being used by Team New Zealand crew for practice, and sure enough there were a couple of sailors in TNZ uniforms wandering around. Even without their actual presence, it’s possible to get a photo with anyone in the team in the form of a virtual selfie, which uses AR technology. Given all that, Fry Up took a pic of the Nokia 5G modem.

spark nokia fastmile 5g device Sarah Putt/IDG

Spark’s 5G network uses Nokia’s Fastmile 5G devices, shown here at the carrier’s ‘5G experience’ exhibit in Septeber 2020.

So what’s the 5G part of the ‘5g experience’? A wall of devices streaming content over a 5G network set up specifically for the exhibit.

Huawei is supplying the devices and Nokia the 5G connectivity via a private network in the race zone. As for the 5G network being rolled out across the country, Spark is taking a multi-vendor approach “to give us the broadest possible access to emerging advances in 5G RAN [radio access network] technology, and to avoid over-reliance on any single equipment supplier,” a spokesperson says. “We have already obtained TICSA [Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Act 2013] approval to use Nokia 5G RAN equipment in our current rollout, and it is progressing well.”

Seasoned telco watchers will recall that Spark was keen on Huawei, but the New Zealand government had other ideas. But it is interesting that the Chinese supplier is being kept in the loop. Today, it is supplying tablets for an exhibit; tomorrow, it could be so much more.

Meanwhile Vodafone (also partnering with Nokia) says it too is supporting an Americas Cup team, Team UK, with their connectivity needs. Not quite to the same degree—there are no Vodafone sensors on the boat sending real-time data back to base or plans to open an exhibition—or anything other than the connectivity.

It can be tough keeping track, so here are the existing and planned 5G deployments announced by the mobile network owners to date.

  • Spark: For fixed-broadband use only (not for mobiles), parts of Alexandra, Clyde, Hokitika, Tokapo, Twizel, and Westport, and for both fixed-broadband and mobile use in parts of Palmerston North, with parts of Auckland planned.
  • Vodafone: For mobiles, central business districts, airports, malls, and stadiums in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington.
  • 2degrees: None, though the company says 5G is on its future roadmap.

Police sign up to Algorithm Charter

Like a snowball rolling down a hill, each time the Algorithm Charter collects new signees it grows larger, becomes more formidable, and is therefore less likely to melt away into insignificance. The charter, introduced in July 2020, commits participating government agencies developing and using algorithms to strike a balance between privacy and transparency, prevent unintended bias, and reflect the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The latest signatory is the New Zealand police, which made the announcement as part of a new policy on ‘emergent technologies’—defined as everything from creating a chatbot to upgrading CCTV capability.

The police have come under fire this year for experimenting with new technology, such as facial recognition, without telling the public. Turns out they didn’t tell their senior officers either, hence new instructions to the rank and file thinking about a tech initiative. The policy is six pages long, but it really boils down to five words: “talk to your manager first”.

Greens’ actual tech policy

The Greens were already ahead when it came to tech policy, in the sense that they actually have one, if vague. National was the first party to release a dedicated, specific tech policy, and yesterday the Greens announced their own specific Hi Tech Economy policy, which is part of their Economy Plan and supports the party’s priority areas: housing, green energy, poverty, farming, and nature.

You can read the list of initiatives on the Greens’ website, with the main points summarised here:

  • Establishing a Digital Export Office at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to support low-carbon ‘weightless exports’.
  • Using government procurement to support local suppliers and open source software, including hosting government data onshore, to deliver broader value to Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Giving technology firms and software developers a voice in trade negotiations.
  • Supporting 3D-printing-based manufacturing through a national growth strategy.
  • Implement Internet NZ’s five-point plan for digital inclusion and ensure all government websites are accessible to people with disabilities and are available in te reo Māori and other languages.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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