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Our 2016 tech highlights and 2017 predictions - Part 1

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It’s starting to look a lot like Star Trek! As this very interesting year comes to a close, we asked a number of Spark-related experts to share their thoughts on the technology that made a difference, what’s on the horizon and how to consider tech for competitive advantage.  

Here’s Part 1 of our experts’ input and there’s more perspective in Part 2.


Shona Grundy, Managing Director at Ora 10 Ltd


With a long career across the music, entertainment, software - and now bottled water - industries, Shona is an expert in business and product strategy, digital production and licensing. She’s also an award-winning children’s book author.


Highlights of 2016


“Six years ago, our company suggested a ‘fun treasure hunt game’ using our phones, GPS coordinates and immersive graphics as a way for a client to deeply engage with customers. At the time, the client couldn’t believe the technology would work or see why people would want to play. And to be honest, we couldn’t answer all their questions for sure.

Key trends


  • Pokémon Go has brought augmented reality into the mainstream.


  • More mixed reality technology will be used for training and education.


  • IoT and connected devices will take off at scale in New Zealand.


  • There will be a greater adoption of wireless battery charging devices.


“This year, we now know that the answer is indeed a resounding ‘Yes!’. With Pokémon Go, virtual and augmented reality are at the forefront of cultural acceptance. So does that mean our idea would have succeeded six years ago? Probably not. We needed the convergence of smartphone technology, graphics and cheaper data plans that we now have. But that shouldn’t stop any ‘ahead of the curve’ tech people who want to push boundaries to try out all the cool tech which we know is coming through the pipeline.”


Looking forward


“The aggressive investment, capability and drive (excuse the pun) into driverless cars will continue, with companies like Google and Uber proving themselves to be very customer focused.“My 12 year old daughter came home from tech day at school exclaiming how working with circuit boards was ‘the most fun ever’. I hope things like robotic engineering are given a greater focus in school as I believe these are the career paths our children should be considering.”


Richard Adams, General Manager of Solutions, Spark Digital


Richard is General Manager of Solutions responsible for defining Spark’s customer experience journeys, pricing, propositions and managing the broad teams of customer focused specialists.


Highlights of 2016


“For me, mixed reality is the technology highlight. I really think this will change the way that we train and educate in the next few years. While we’ve been able to use virtual reality for a while now, the very nature of a virtual world made it hard for people to use it in everyday life situations. Now there are outstanding opportunities for business which will dramatically change the way they design solutions and services for customers, giving them a massive competitive advantage.


“For consumers, I think mixed reality is the next step in removing educational boundaries. I think about my son who loves mining trucks - he is six - and this would let him view a life-size truck in our backyard and really immerse himself in every detail. Whilst the internet has been able to show him 2D for a long time, mixed reality will make it more realistic. Microsoft Hololens is the best example I have seen in this field.”


Looking ahead


“For the past few years there have been many businesses connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT) though we have not seen the scale of connected devices really take off in New Zealand. I think that will change next year because many trials in 2016 are rolling out now, with our customers being able to access data on almost any device or asset they have in their business.


“The question is, who will be able to get the most meaning out of the data that is produced? If it’s not planned well, many companies will end up overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and not get the benefits they were hoping for as they wade through the detail. “There have been many discussions in recent years about the fact that we will need to be a ‘data driven economy’ if we want to compete on the world stage, so I believe we will start to see how New Zealand copes with this challenge in 2017.”  


Richard Adams, General Manager Solutions, Spark Digital
SPD0122 Tech wrap up Quotes P1_768x43_Gallery 2

What’s next for you?

If you’d like to find out more about any of the technologies mentioned here or want to discuss how technology can lead to greater things for your business, get in touch. We’re keen to chat about ideas and strategy to better connect you with your team and your customers.


Don’t miss Our 2016 Highlights and 2017 Predictions - Part 2 for more expert insight.  



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