A podcast series about the internet of things, and how it’s changing everything, everywhere. Russell Brown talks with tech experts, looks at how IoT is being used by businesses and finds 20 billion things to get excited about.
Ep. 7. Smart Cities
IoT is enabling the creation of "smart cities" using technology and data to make our communities better for working and living. But how is this playing out globally? And what might a smart city look like in New Zealand?
In this episode of the "Internet of Awesome Things", we look at the initial impact of IoT on public policy and urban planning.
First up, Russell Brown talks smart communities with Hamilton City Council Smart Cities Adviser Jannat Maqbool. She shares some of the initiatives she's been involved with and leading in Waikato, things like interactive smart spaces, smart collectives, and IoT Meetups. Jannat says it’s important to demystify IoT and let people play with things like facial recognition tech.
Then, Mark Thomas from Singapore-based consultancy ServiceWorks tells how Auckland missed a trick a few years ago when modernising 45,000 light poles without IoT sensors. These could've been used to monitor rainfall, for example. These assets are big opportunities – so too is the data they collect. Mark believes the "big data" collected through public IoT should be available to anyone who wants to use it to develop things for the public good.
Finally, someone who's well aware of the possibilities of IoT, and is busy applying many of them to our largest city, is Auckland Transport CIO, Roger Jones. He explains how AT is trialing "smart streets", with features such as solar-powered seats that can recharge mobile devices and smart traffic lights that link up with devices to help visually impaired people. Roger cites the connection between traffic systems and vehicles; if you're a 30-tonne truck coming towards a traffic light, it’s good to know whether you need to brake. Roger says that smart cities are all about people.
This episode about smart cities is the final episode in the series. In many ways, it's also the most important, because what plays out in this public IoT space is going to touch the lives of all of us, very soon.
Ep. 6: Staying Safe
How secure is the typical internet-connected device? Independent security consultant Erica Anderson and Spark Head of Security Josh Bahlman drop in for a chat about IoT privacy and security.
From hacked nanny-cams to botnet attacks, we’ve already had a few scares. And there will be more. Yes, IoT is as much of a wild west as every other tech advancement before it.
According to both Erica and Josh, many IoT device manufacturers are working as quickly and cheaply as possible. But, Erica says, they aren’t considering the outcomes of their tech going rogue. Josh adds that many device vendors don’t fully understand the built-in vulnerabilities. And even if they do, it seems that some don’t care.
Erica also tells of how she recently decided against buying an IoT-enabled heat pump because of potential security vulnerabilities. She suggests that anyone buying an internet-connected device should google the vendor’s name along with "security" and see what it turns up.
How do we prepare for privacy and security as 20 billion things light up around us? Erica and Josh are convinced that we'll need national and international regulation to force the implementation of robust security features.
Ep. 5: Where is That Thing?
One of the most functional uses of IoT technology is asset tracking. This is the ability to easily, accurately and constantly solve the problem of knowing where your stuff is. For freight and logistics companies, it could be a game-changer.
Mainfreight was the first large New Zealand company to embrace asset tracking. In this episode, Mainfreight CIO Kevin Drinkwater tells how they'd invested in hundreds of expensive hazardous goods bins, but had no idea where they were in the network, or even if they were still in the network! That is, until IoT devices were fitted to the bins. He’s a bit of a cheerleader for the technology!
Russell also talks to Spark Managed Services Lead Michael Stribling to get the bigger asset tracking picture: where the value lies for other business sectors, like supply chain management, agriculture and healthcare; how asset tracking can go indoors; and why such a simple thing can be so staggeringly useful for businesses both big and small.
Ep. 4: Health & Wellness
Some of the most exciting opportunities for IoT are in healthcare. Like most things related to IoT, it’s a little bit of the old meeting a whole lot of new. For instance, medical alarms can now do a lot more than just call for help.
Spark’s Digital Health Lead Dr Will Reedy explains how the focus is moving from illness and disease to managing health and wellness. He talks us through a NZ-based project wherein sensors are checking movement, temperature, dampness and other markers. It's all to keep an eye on the wellbeing of 40 elderly residents of Waikato. Will himself wears a ring that continuously monitors his sleep and vital signs, giving data that helps him know when he needs to take it easy.
This sort of data is not only useful at a personal and individual level, but it also can be collected and analysed across a population to improve resources and outcomes for everyone.
IoT has been a game-changer for St John Ambulance, one of the most enthusiastic early adopters. In this episode, Customer Director Pete Loveridge explains how St John is implementing IoT tech in the front line of healthcare.
Ep. 3: Without Wires
There’s a generational technology change occurring, with the arrival of 5G set to supercharge growth of IoT. Russell Brown talks to tech commentator Paul Brislen and Spark Networks Evolution Lead, Colin Brown, about how we got to 5G, and why this "G" is going to so much more impactful than the previous Gs.
If 3G and 4G were mainly about consumers watching videos, 5G, with its massive capability and near-zero latency, will be all about machine-to-machine and business applications.
Our podcasters talk about what’s going on in the innovation precinct at Wynyard Quarter in Auckland at the Spark 5G Lab. They also cover things like smart streets, connected cars, co-creation of 5G applications with businesses (think: the partnership with America’s Cup and Emirates Team New Zealand).
They also answer the big question, “Will 5G melt my eyeballs?” (Spoiler alert: No!)
Ep. 2: Talking to Business
Listen in as a panel discusses the business risks of not implementing IoT. This podcast was recorded at a live IoT event for business leaders in Auckland on 17 July 2019. Panel guests were Tessa Tierney, Product Director for Spark NZ; Stephen Brown, Director of Directed NZ; and Kriv Naicker, Managing Director of Synaptec.