NEC smart city technology brings Australian government minster to Wellington
An innovative suite of "smart city" technology trialled in Wellington is attracting international interest.
Japanese technology company, NEC created an innovative suite of "smart city" technology at its Smart City Hub in Wellington, with proof of concept to be trialled in the capital, Christchurch and Auckland.
Kite, NEC's flexible sensing platform enables a city to implement any sensor, in any location, to measure data.
It has tested sensor cameras in Cuba Mall that could detect screaming, smell paint fumes from graffiti, and sense people in groups who might end up in fights.
CCTV camera software has been set up to measure the volume of traffic in parts of the capital.
Australia's Victorian Government Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis was in Wellington this week to check out the technology.
Melbourne was utilising smart city technology in roading but NEC's work in Wellington was interesting and he was keen to learn more, he said.
"There is a lot Wellington and New Zealand are doing with big data. Wellington in particular is referred to as one of the leading cities globally in the use of [behind the scenes] data analytics."
Melbourne needed to do more in the area of data analytics, he said.
Wellington had a strong innovative culture and he saw various opportunities to strengthen relationships.
He met with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce on Wednesday to talk about Victoria working closely with New Zealand.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the visit highlighted that Wellington was a global leader in smart cities.
"Our smart capital and digital strategy is being recognised globally and the smart technology is solving problems."
The technology and geographic information would be used to enhance and improve the quality of life, contributing to safer and more secure communities and reducing the costs.
NEC signed a memorandum of understanding with the council in May 2014, which focused on tapping into Wellington talent and its global technology.
Wellington City Council contributed $100,000 towards NEC's concepts, while the company provides resources and technology.
NEC's international efforts include partnerships with governments in Europe, South America and Asia.
NEC head of smart-city solutions Tim Packer said the company was working closely with the privacy commissioner.
The cameras would not identify individuals – just shapes and size to count the various modes of transport.
The videos were not stored, he said.
Technology, networks and devices could improve city services, gain a real-time understanding of what is happening in a city and enhance citizen engagement.
Technical capability for the projects would be used for asset management and the implementation of a sensing platform to monitor factors such as air and water quality.
The project was successful because challenges for the city had been identified before the technology aspect, he said.
NEC looked at how technology could be practically applied and learn by doing and trying and discovering constraints such as cost, providing power and planning and permissions.
How does a Kite sensor work?
A Kite device is installed into a city's infrastructure.
The device connects to sensors within a set radius through wireline or mesh networking technology and consolidates the data measured by the connected sensors.
Once the data is consolidated, Kite backhauls the data to the cloud for analysis and sharing with the appropriate parties.