EXCLUSIVE: Spark Digital details IoT blueprint for NZ businesses

As the industry becomes more connected, and the Internet of Things takes greater prominence in business, Simon Gillespie, General Manager of Corporate, Spark Digital, has one simple message for Kiwi organisations.

As the industry becomes more connected, and the Internet of Things takes greater prominence in business, Simon Gillespie, General Manager of Corporate, Spark Digital, has one simple message for Kiwi organisations.

“Smart companies are using IoT to develop new services that create better value for their customers and their own business,” says Gillespie, speaking exclusively to Computerworld New Zealand following the company’s new Machine to Machine (M2M) agreement with ADT Security, the world’s largest electronic security firm.

As businesses across the country move to a more connected cloud-first world, Gillespie, commenting on the back of a wealth of industry experience, believes that what the earliest adopters realise is that the IoT isn’t actually about ‘things’, it is about providing a service.

“The ‘things’ are just a means to an end,” he explains, “the tools that help your business establish a direct, always-on connection between you, your customers and the rest of the world.

“Examples of industries that have done this very successfully are automotive, transportation and logistics, agribusiness and healthcare.

“By making the IoT central to your business and recognising that all ‘things’ become a service, you can optimise your assets, differentiate your products and services and transform your customer relationships.”

Responsible for the delivery of services to Spark Digital's corporate customers throughout New Zealand, Gillespie is accountable for assisting Kiwi businesses as they attempt to forge a competitive advantage in the market through expertise in technology and application services.

As a result, the former Dimension Data New Zealand CEO believes to that to become an IoT business, organisations need to focus on three aspects - launch, manage and monetise.

“We are developing partnerships and building ecosystems to provide all the systems required to launch, manage and monetise a successfully connected service business,” adds Gillespie, who replaced Steve Mills in the role in July 2014.

Smart Data

As the Internet of Things, and its revolutionary capabilities, continue to become synonymous with valued customer service, Gillespie believes that the smart data it provides is critical to quality control, cost efficiency and bottom line.

While Kiwi organisations of all shapes and sizes understand the value of smart data, arisen out of connectivity, Gillespie, speaking as a 30 year industry veteran, believes it remains an untapped resource.

According to the IDC New Zealand Big Data Heat Map in 2014, only 11% of Kiwi businesses are analysing their smart data, begging the question, are machines working hard enough?

No, not really, according to Gillespie, citing Spark Digital’s Connected Mobility offering as a way of unleashing the connected devices in organisations.

“As opposed to other local M2M providers Connected Mobility offers greater visibility through self-service, and real-time, rich diagnostics,” says Gillespie, explaining the benefits of the cloud-based, automation and management solution.

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Powered by Jasper, Gillespie says Connected Mobility can help New Zealand businesses increase service reliability, reduce operational costs while better scaling M2M deployments.

“It can be integrated into 3G and 4G networks enabling customers to use machine to machine in new ways that might not have been previously possible,” he adds.

“Our Connected Mobility platform offers scalability and reliability – with incremental opex cost and low upfront investment, permitting small pilot environments or small scale deployments with little upfront commitment.

“Customers can reach new markets quickly and easily by choosing a global platform used by operators worldwide.”

Validated by Spark Digital’s recent M2M deal with ADT Security, which provides ADT with access to Spark Digital’s Connected Mobility service, Gillespie says the uptake in New Zealand has so far been “excellent”, since launching in October 2014.

“Our original M2M customers are very eager to transition to the Connected Mobility platform,” he adds.

As a globally recognised cloud-based M2M platform, Connected Mobility is used worldwide by Spark and other leading mobile operators like Telstra Australia, Singtel, 02 and AT&T.

The platform is only available from Spark in New Zealand and was recognised by the 2013 Global Mobile Awards as the Best Cloud Based technology for Mobile.

“It’s definitely kudos for Spark Digital that a company like ADT has thoroughly evaluated the market and chosen Spark Digital as their trusted provider,” Gillespie adds.

“A high degree of resiliency and stability is required for this type of monitoring, and our Connected Mobility platform has shown it is the best in the market for this purpose.”

Also known as Tyco in New Zealand, Gillespie says ADT chose Spark Digital on the strength of the company’s network coverage and reliability, and largely because Spark New Zealand are the only Kiwi provider able to offer a real-time M2M dashboard.

“Connected Mobility helps our clients unleash the power of big data by enabling them to simultaneously monitor and manage multiple devices in any location and provide real-time information that they can use to create a competitive edge,” he adds.

“In ADT’s case the Spark Connected Mobility dashboard, powered by Jasper, will allow them to self-manage their mobile connections in the field, including self-provisioning, diagnosis of faults, and tracking.

“Jasper is already the platform of choice for the most enterprises worldwide, so we are delighted to offer the award winning technology to Spark Digital customers in New Zealand.”

With voice, and global roaming capabilities both available now and 4G integration underway, Gillespie says global SIM will be available later in 2015, as Spark Digital lays out the next step for Kiwi businesses to harness the potential of the Internet of Things.