New report: How IoT can transform New Zealand's cities into safer, more liveable cities

Our friends at the New Zealand Internet of Things Alliance recently set out to determine how important the Internet of Things could be for the nation. They looked at the potential economic development opportunities, and the capability of the current IoT ecosystem.

We have been very clear in our messaging at SCCANZ on the role of IoT as the backbone of the smart city, and its opportunity to accelerate liveability, workability and sustainability outcomes for all cities and towns, of all shapes and sizes. And this is one of the biggest benefits of IoT – its ability to scale and engage across stakeholder groups, sectors and budgets.


With New Zealand's IoT readiness extremely high (4th out of the G20 nations), with meaningful applications underway (agriculture), and significant challenges ready for action (residential indoor air quality), the IoT future is bright. — Adam Beck

The New Zealand IoT Alliance recently issues a report that predicts the net value of IoT for the country could reach $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. But what really stands out is the many ways connected technologies that enable data collection and sharing can help cities become better, safer places to live.

The Alliance is an advocacy and thought leadership organisation of companies, education and government institutions, start-ups and tech companies (including Council Global Lead Partner Cisco and Associate Partner Huawei).

Graeme Muller, Alliance chair and CEO of its parent organization NZTech, offered familiar examples of how IoT can benefit cities, including monitoring and managing traffic to cut congestion and installing smart street lighting and CCTV to reduce crime.

The Alliance report identified several more potential ways IoT can enhance and benefit cities:

  • IoT sensor-collected data could help cities develop realistic, evidence-based policies
  • Cognitive CCTV combined with data from police, social service, health and other organisations can support safe cities programmes (as Wellington is doing now)
  • IoT-based smart city initiatives can help cities cut operating costs and run more efficiently whilst simultaneously enhancing the lives of citizens
  • IoT and video technology can help cities track attendance at public events which enable cities to determine the economic return generated by the events
  • City infrastructure maintenance could be improved and optimised with the ability to closely monitor the condition of roads, bridges, buildings and more — which also would reduce maintenance costs
  • In a similar vein, IoT also could help cities reduce the time it takes to assess the condition of infrastructure following earthquakes or other destructive events.

A number of  related programmes are underway now. Auckland Transport is connecting school zone road signs to an IoT network to improve school zone safety and also is working on deploying 40,000 street lights which can be individually controlled through a central IoT management network. And Wellington is in the midst of a project to install sensors that will determine if a building can be entered safely following an earthquake.

Doug Peeples is a writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartcitiesanz on Twitter.