Business News Feed

Spark New Zealand appoints Pip Greenwood as Director to the Board

The Spark New Zealand Board announced today it has appointed Pip Greenwood as an independent non-executive director to the Board, to replace Mark Verbiest who retired in November 2017. Ms Greenwood’s appointment will take effect from 1 April 2018.

Ms Greenwood is a senior partner at law firm Russell McVeagh, who has over ten years’ experience on the Russell McVeagh board, including a period as the firm’s Chair. Ms Greenwood has significant experience in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, telecommunications, and governance.
Spark New Zealand Chair Justine Smyth said “We are delighted to have a person of Pip’s calibre join our team. Following the retirement of Mark Verbiest, we were looking for relevant skills and experience that would complement the diverse perspectives we already have around the table. Pip is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s top commercial lawyers. She has significant industry experience and played a critical role as a lead advisor on the demerger of Chorus from Telecom.”

Ms Greenwood says: “I am honoured and excited to take on this role. I am passionate about the transformation that is occurring within the telecommunications and digital sectors and I am pleased to be given the opportunity to contribute to the Spark Board, having advised clients in this space over the last 10 years from both a commercial and regulatory perspective.”

In accordance with the Company’s constitution, Ms Greenwood will retire and offer herself for election at the annual meeting of shareholders held later in 2018.

Once Ms Greenwood’s appointment becomes effective, the Spark New Zealand Board will once again consist of eight directors: Justine Smyth, Alison Barrass, Paul Berriman, Alison Gerry, Ido Leffler, Charles Sitch, Pip Greenwood and Simon Moutter.

TeamTalk to ensure continuity of resilient communications by partnering with Tait Communications

TeamTalk Limited (NZX: TTK), the publicly listed telecommunications services provider, who are the largest provider of commercial mobile radio communications services and solutions throughout New Zealand, today announced that it has selected Christchurch-headquartered Tait Communications to supply and build its new nationwide Tier III Digital Mobile Radio network.

TeamTalk’s chief executive Andrew Miller said, “Changes within the Health and Safety legislation along with the findings from the reviews following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes mean many organisations are now considering diversity across their communications portfolio and mobile radio is critical in providing this service.”

This investment will enable TeamTalk to continue to deliver mission critical communications to its customers, as well as offering new services and solutions that will enable TeamTalk to grow its revenues by reaching into the conventional radio market. This is a market that TeamTalk has traditionally not competed in but the new digital platform will open up new opportunities including the capability to interconnect different networks.

Andrew Miller said, “Whilst a new digital network is exciting, it is the roadmap of further integrated services that will be released over the next few years that really excites us about this investment. Our partnership with Tait Communications and other integrators will allow us to be at the forefront of new developments and enable New Zealand to gain access to these leading technologies and solutions quickly.

“Tait were selected following a robust RFP process including trials and interoperability testing as well as evaluation of different migration strategies.

“The selection of Tait reinvigorates a long partnership going back decades and as company founder Sir Angus Tait said in 2002, TeamTalk are at the forefront of mobile radio and have the largest Tait network in the world. I am proud to be associated with this innovative company delivering leading edge solutions to customers.”

Trevor Laughton, General Manager of Tait New Zealand said, “Tait Communications is extremely happy to again be working with TeamTalk and that New Zealand’s business community will now have an opportunity to realise the potential of a nationwide modern digital mobile radio network for voice and data. Tait is committed to the success of this investment and the agreement reflects that commitment.”

Spark fast-tracking build of long-range IoT network to meet strong customer demand

park is building a long-range network to enable the Internet of Things in New Zealand’s most populated urban centres, switching on sites in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland in time for the new year. Spark has been testing the technology with partners from a range of industries, from agriculture through to marine, and is seeing strong demand for the network as a result. Resource monitoring company Levno are working with Spark to have coverage extended into rural areas as well.

The days of the Internet of Things (IoT) being little more than a futuristic buzz word will soon be over for New Zealand’s top 20 urban centres.* Spark has begun building a long-range (LoRa) IoT network to cover around 70% of the population by the middle of the 2018 calendar year. Sites in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland are being switched on in the lead up to Christmas. A further sixteen cities will be connected early in 2018.*

The network will allow businesses and local councils to connect to “things”, like waterways, traffic lights, and machinery. Sensors in these real-world objects will send information over the LoRa network, providing real-time insight into the infrastructure New Zealand cities run on. In turn, it will help local councils and asset-heavy organisations run better, with lower costs.

Spark’s GM IoT Solutions, Michael Stribling says:

“The ways we’ll be able to use this new network are huge – it will change how our cities and businesses operate. We can put sensors on vehicles and equipment so we know where they are and how they’re being used. Sensors will be able to tell our councils when to carry out maintenance. There are so many examples of how it will help us manage assets better.”

In addition to the country’s urban centres, Spark plans to extend the network to rural parts of the Waikato, Manawatu and Canterbury in the 2018 calendar year. To deliver this, Spark is working with Levno, who plan to use the network to provide fuel tank, grain silo and milk vat monitoring services to farmers. This will enable farmers to react quickly to issues and increase the efficiency of their operations.

Spark’s national LoRa network is being built by specialist network provider, and IoT rollout experts, Kordia. It will suit low-power, low-data uses, complementing the high-power LTE network (LTE Cat-M1 or ‘M1’) that Spark began trials on this month. By 2020 Spark’s IoT networks will cover around 80% of New Zealand’s population.

LoRa already tried and tested in New Zealand

Spark has been trialling LoRa network technology for the past year, and now has over 30 operational sites across Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch and Wellington. A number of partners have been involved in testing use-cases for the technology.

An example is BoatSecure, a boat monitoring system developed by IoT Ventures and business owner John McDermott. Sensors on a boat continuously check the boat’s battery, bilge pump, location, and shore power supply. This information travels over Spark’s LoRa network to an app on the boat owner’s phone. 

Cameron Harris of Beacon Marine Electronics has been using the system since August 2017. “There was an instance when a storm hit, and I was able to see that a boat connected with BoatSecure had lost shore power during the night, hours before I would normally find out,” says Harris.

Farmers from the Matamata-Piako region and South Island have also been trialling the network for the past year as part of the Connecting Farms project. Data sent from sensors across the farm has helped inform important decisions for farmers, such as when to irrigate, spray or harvest.

Spark’s broader IoT plans

Spark has committed to two new network technologies (LoRa and M1). This month it began trialling M1 ahead of a launch planned for early next year.

Spark is also monitoring the global progress of a second LTE IoT network type, Narrow Band (NB-IoT). Like M1, it will run over Spark’s licensed spectrum and extensive wireless network. Spark will invest in a Narrow Band network when the use cases and ecosystem become more mature.

Spark has also partnered with leading global platform providers to enable New Zealand companies to seamlessly connect to its networks.

“There will be so many different uses of IoT, so we’re seeking to provide the broadest set of IoT options to customers,” says Stribling.

“To do this, we’re making sure New Zealand has access to a range of world class networks and management platforms. We’re also continuing to take advantage of the data analytics power of Qrious, to help make sense of all the information coming our way as our environment begins talking to us.”

Auckland Chamber of Commerce Supports Youth Business in New Partnership

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Young Enterprise are excited to announce their new delivery partnership for The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) in the region. The YES business programme enables high school students to set up and run their own ventures.

“As long serving supporters of Young Enterprise we’re delighted to be working with the limitless thinkers that are YES students. We’ve seen their achievements over the years and are incredibly thrilled to recognise and support these young entrepreneurs as the business leaders of the future” said Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

For the past six years Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development agency (ATEED) has connected with around 5000 students, mentoring them from the outset and sharing in their journey of coming up with an innovative idea and developing it further into a successful business.

“We have enjoyed our close working relationship with Young Enterprise, schools, students and sponsors delivering YES in Auckland. We now look forward to taking a more strategic role in helping to deliver the programme,” ATEED chief executive Nick Hill says.

“Programmes like YES are crucial to encourage and support youth entrepreneurship. Young people are our future workforce and play a pivotal role in transforming and growing Auckland’s economy”.

Young Enterprise CEO Terry Shubkin, commented on the charity’s new partnership: “the number of Auckland students participating in YES has been growing year on year. As New Zealand’s largest business organisation we know the Chamber will be able to offer endless value and support to the schools we work with. We’re really looking forward to seeing what further impact we can make on youth entrepreneurship in the region”.

New global car park cycling series hits New Zealand on Sunday

A new global car park cycling series hits New Zealand for the first time this Sunday.

Being held in the eight story Innovation Car Park building in central Christchurch it features 120 cyclists racing up to a party on the roof with a DJ and band.

“After two massive events in Europe we are really excited to have the third event in the series in Christchurch,” event organiser John McKenzie from enthuse media & events said.

“It’s the only event in the series in the Southern hemisphere and it is a key Movember men’s health fund raiser so we hope loads of people will come down to watch the riding and be part of what will be a pretty cool atmosphere, enjoying an ice cold beer, bubbles, gourmet burgers, DJ and band all from the eighth floor bar watching the sunset over the Christchurch city skyline.”

Local DJ Vlad Nanevski will be pumping out the music with covers band The Mule providing the entertainment for the after party on the top floor of the car park building.

The exciting cycling will see rider’s go head to head in a series of knock out races after a first round qualifying individual time trial.

“It’s going to be such a cool event with amazing atmosphere so it has wide ranging appeal as a great night out,” McKenzie said. “You definitely don’t have to be a cyclist or cycling fan to enjoy the event. There hasn’t been an event like this in New Zealand ever. It’s also a chance to celebrate the new inner city we have in Christchurch. There’s a lot going on and it’s just getting better.”

at the event who have made an effort to grow a moustache to raise money for Movember will have the opportunity to have a hot shave, just one of the evening’s entertainment elements. The event has no charge to attend but there will be an opportunity to donate to Movember on the night.

McKenzie says he’s passionate about men’s health and raising some funds for Movember. “My dad had prostate cancer and in Christchurch we lost a well-known and respected member of our cycling community this year to cancer. Men’s health is in crisis and I want to do my bit. Organising the Urology Associates Car Park Cannon Ball is part of my effort.”

There will be range of hospitality options available featuring Dutch craft beer aBLOC, a bicycle beer targeted at the cycling market that is not yet available in New Zealand but is using the event as a market tester.

“Riding a bloc means going flat out,” John said. “The goal of aBLOC is to unite cyclists around the world and celebrate the beauty of cycling and one way to do that is with cool events, where you ride hard and share some stories over a beer afterwards. The Urology Associates Car Park Cannon Ball brings together two of our favourite worlds, cycling and craft beer, and it’s pretty special to have aBLOC in New Zealand for the first time at our event .”

The event has four categories, fixed gear and geared bikes in male and female grades. The first qualifying round that will see riders ride up solo to record a time and then the following rounds will be knockout heading towards a grand finale. Registration is from five o’clock with the racing starting at six thirty.

“Two riders, eights floors and a wall of sound; its urban life meeting urban bike riders. It’s definitely a bike event but not as you know it and its going to be pretty special.”

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