Spark picks Cisco as first collaborator to develop 5G innovation hub

The hub will be used to plan and test use cases that will help Kiwi businesses win big in a digital world, says Spark chief operating officer Mark Beder

Spark says Cisco is the first of several collaborators it will be working with to prepare and test the parameters for a 5G network in New Zealand.

Earlier this month, Cisco signed an agreement at their headquarters in San Jose that will see them contribute services, technology and capability to an innovation hub designed to develop, test, and prepare for 5G deployment in New Zealand.

Mark Beder, chief operating officer at Spark, says  5G will change the face of networking and will create endless opportunities for the innovation of products and services in New Zealand.

“5G will transform the way we live, work and play with significantly faster speeds and considerably more capacity than previous generations of mobile technology,” says Beder.

“The purpose of the 5G Innovation hub is to start planning and testing use cases that’ll help New Zealand businesses win big in a digital world.

Spark chief operating officer Mark Beder
Spark chief operating officer Mark Beder

“We’re taking an ecosystem approach by collaborating with several global technology and network specialists like Cisco

We’re taking an ecosystem approach by collaborating with several global technology and network specialists like Cisco, who will allow us to leverage the world-class skills and experience of Cisco’s global team and examine what they are doing in other international markets. This innovation hub will become a space where vendors, developers and application providers alike will be innovating for the common good of customers and businesses.   

“5G will take us from a world of connecting people and the internet, to a world of connecting everything to everything, making cities smarter, energy grids more efficient, medical services more accessible and transportation safer. It’s an exciting part of our future and builds on our strengths in network innovation, and the success we’ve had with wireless broadband,” says Beder.

Both Cisco and Spark have significant capability in the ICT arena. Spark has been delivering ICT solutions, design, installation and online support for Cisco products and services for over 10 years.

Spark says its plans for 5G are progressing at pace. It successfully trialled 5G in Wellington and Auckland earlier this year, achieving the highest speed of 18.23 Gigabits per second – approximately 150 times faster than Spark’s initial 4G trial.

Andrew Findlay, Cisco sales and operations director for service providers in ANZ, says the innovation hub will provide a collaborative workspace to allow local New Zealand companies to work with Cisco’s programmable networking technology within a 5G sandbox to explore new ideas.  

“Next generation networking underpins the 5G future where the contrasting demands from IoT through to augmented reality require unprecedented flexibility in the network, and with that there are new possibilities waiting to be discovered.”

Spark says it is yet to finalise the network technology partners for its 5G network deployment.

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