itb-nz logo
Story image

Vodafone opens 5G Innovation Lab in Christchurch

26 Feb 2020

Vodafone’s first 5G Innovation Lab is now open for business in Ōtautahi, Christchurch.  The lab, which is located on Tuam Street, is designed to help New Zealand organisations understand how 5G technology can become part of their business.

According to Vodafone, 5G offers ‘increased’ online speeds, as well as better responsiveness and more capacity for a range of connected devices.

Vodafone New Zealand’s South Island head Michelle Sharp says that new technologies will help businesses innovate and compete on the world stage. The new Innovation Lab will be part of that advancement.

“We want to bring the 5G network to life and encourage innovation and R&D. Christchurch has a great business community and a progressive range of organisations looking to transform the city, so we’re excited to further bolster this via an awesome, world-class mobile network,” says Sharp.

A 2019 survey indicated that Cantabrians are keen for new technologies – 87% agreed that mobile connectivity is important to New Zealand, compared with 80% of respondents across the entire country.

Minister for Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods opened the new Innovation Lab, alongside Ms Sharp.

“We know Cantabrians are keen to innovate and we can’t wait to help local organisations undertake research and development to deliver enhanced experiences and business applications via 5G. The opening of the Innovation hub along with the launch of New Zealand’s research and development tax incentive provides local business a novel network, environment and financial incentive to innovate,” adds Sharp.

Vodafone switched on its 5G mobile network in December 2019. The company says there is huge potential for 5G to deliver benefits across health, transportation, integrated manufacturing, utilities, safety, waste management and intelligent electricity networks, and other sectors.

The company is working with New Zealand organisations, including the development of a 5G drone for the New Zealand Police, and an AI solution for retail stores with the Aware Group.
Other New Zealand organisations embracing 5G include the Auckland Rescue Helicopter, BNZ, and Waste Management. 

“We’re not sure what the next big app or tech application will be, but we want New Zealanders to have the best chance at inventing it. Just as 4G transformed people lives via increased smartphone capability, 5G has the potential to go even further with the Internet of Things and we’re seeing use cases emerge that centre on connected devices,” concludes Sharp.

Vodafone has also partnered with the University of Canterbury to run a speaker series explaining the technology.