NEC Digital Cities

Every week 1.5 million people move to our cities1

How we plan, operate and maintain our cities needs to change.


The world's population is increasingly urban

Today, over 54% of us live in cities2, and by 2050 global city populations will double to 6.4 billion. Rapid population growth and the urban migration phenomena are placing immense pressures on our cities affecting our infrastructure, our communities and our ecology.


Increasing urban density

Our city infrastructure and services often aren’t quite ready to cater for our growing populace. Our cities become inefficient and more expensive to run.


Liveability and quality of life

Inequality and social issues are exacerbated with increasing urban density, placing more pressure on social service agencies.


Climate and the environment

The rising tide of population can impact the fragile balance we have with our natural capital. Air and water pollution are key issues arising in many cities today. 



How do we survive and thrive against climate change and prepare for the inevitable stress or shock event? Our state of readiness and our ability to recover will affect the life of every citizen.

With the accelerated pace of change, our cities are constantly forced to make big decisions – often based on assumptions and incomplete data.

Effective planning for how we build, operate and maintain our cities is challenging yet critical. Our cities are increasingly interconnected; an event happening on one side of the city can have a profound effect on the other. Traditional tools do not allow us to link it all together.

It's clear that if we want our cities to survive and thrive, we need a new perspective.


Our mission is to advance liveability and sustainability

We help citizens, cities and governments make better, more informed decisions. We do this by working with you to bring data together – from your built, social and natural environments – to create a more complete view of your city. We don't start from scratch. Any existing, valuable datasets can be readily integrated. 


Inter-agency collaboration

By enabling collection and analysis of social data sets from multiple city and government agencies we’re facilitating more targeted and timely social services.  

Our data capture and visualisation solutions provide a situational awareness platform which assists with understanding of incident patterns in certain locations over time. This provides councils, agencies and partners with a medium for Inter Agency Collaboration and allows evidence-based planning for deployment of resources and future urban design.


Kite Flexible Sensing Platform

Our approach involves taking existing data, identifying any gaps – or where it needs improving – and helping fill those gaps by adding new sensors.

To facilitate cost effective and timely adoption of lower cost sensors for cities, NEC’s Kite Flexible Sensing Platform manages sensors that collect, aggregate and provide data to the right people at the right time in the right format. Through close collaboration with our partner cities in New Zealand, a service catalogue of high priority sensor applications is being developed on the Kite platform.

    They include:

    • Street level general environmental measures such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, luminosity and carbon dioxide.

    • Calibrated Particulate Matter (PM) Air Quality to complement regional council monitoring against World Health Organisation (WHO) targets.

    • City-wide crowd counts and flow insights, using a multi-sensory approach combined with analytics, to provide an evidence-based approach to the efficacy of urban developments.


    Urban intelligence

    We specialise in transforming data into high value information by bringing data into context with other data sets by location and time. We can also uncover patterns in data through various analytics and machine learning techniques.  

    Utilising an open source deep learning platform and a sample set of 25,000 hours of audio taken from bush recorders we recently enabled automatic identification of native birds from birdsong. A big potential win for NZ Predator Free. We’ve also applied computer vision techniques to existing CCTV assets and machine learning to acoustic sensors to provide real time counts, trends and patterns that enable city agencies to provided more timely responses to city issues as they occur.


    Telling better urban stories

    We’re also applying newer technologies such as 2D, 3D, VR, MR & AR to tell better stories about a city so that those who live and dwell in our cities can develop a more ‘self aware’ view on important issues and plans affecting them. NEC’s Digital City Model, recently demonstrated at Wellington City's Resilience Launch, provides some idea of the potential for this capability. By bringing together the natural, built and social environment into a realistic digital version of the city, overlaying resilience datasets and providing the ability to develop scenarios such a climate change impacts on the city, the Digital City Model provides an intuitive story-telling medium for city stakeholders and citizens to engage on various topics in order to debate and make more informed decisions.


    NEC is investing in New Zealand by developing a Smart Cities Centre of Excellence

    Through various proof of concept exercises with partner cities we have developed a reputation for practical, applied, agile and rapid iterative development. Our success is reflected in a number of industry awards and nominations.


    Wellington City Council SAFE City Living Lab project has already received numerous awards in 2016 including the New Zealand Supreme Spatial Excellence Award and Community and Engagement Spatial Excellence Award. In 2017 the project won the JK Barrie Spatial Excellence Award, and the Community Engagement Award at the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards in Sydney.

    NEC’s Kite Flexible Sensing Platform won the award for Top Smart City Initiative for Public Works at the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) 2017