How nationwide fibre is making Kiwi cities smarter, more efficient

Long Lunch 03/05/2018
Image: Getty.

Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or even millions, of small sensors are all doing their bit to make our cities smarter.

Steve Pettigrew from Chorus joined Wendyl Nissen to talk about how connected technology is being used in New Zealand to make our cities more efficient and liveable.

‘Smart cities’ is a term that came around about a decade ago.

There’s no single definition of what a smart city is but it’s generally about moving digital data quickly and reacting to that data, with or without people being involved in the process.

There are already sensors today in our cities that gather information on air and water quality, monitoring rubbish bins, letting drivers know where parking is available and how long you’ve been parked there, and even smart street lighting that knows when to turn on and turn off.

Mr Pettigrew says that as futuristic as it sounds, we’re already living the “Internet of Things” and it’s playing a part in our daily lives.

“The internet of things is when we’re enabling lots of devices with sensors built into them.”

Common examples include the Apple Watch and FitBit, these devices have a number of sensors that store information about how many steps you’ve taken, or how high you’ve climbed, and then share it with your phone over Bluetooth and WiFi.

It’s the same concept for the technology that makes our cities smart.

Mr Pettigrew says that New Zealand has one major advantage over other countries in building a nationwide fibre network, acting as New Zealand’s ‘digital nervous system’.

The Fibre Broadband network will underpin much of New Zealand’s journey to make smart city projects viable.

“As much as I think we’d love the fibre to be all about people enjoying Netflix, we’ve always known, and the Government’s always known…that there’s far more to it.”

In coming years a lot of the smart city changes aren’t going to be visible, with sensors being hidden underground that can monitor storm water systems, sewage pumping stations, and even manhole covers.

This interview was sponsored by our friends at Chorus

Listen to the full interview with Steve Pettigrew above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.