Hamilton's growing reputation as a tech-savvy, innovative and smart city received an international boost this week when Enlighten Designs was announced as the winner of the 2020 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year Award for New Zealand.
Hamilton City Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the award highlights some of the amazing work being done by businesses and individuals in Hamilton and reinforces the value of the city's 'Smart Hamilton' programme.
The Microsoft Country Partner of the Year Award recognises Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.
Awards were classified in several categories, with winners chosen from a set of more than 3300 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries.
Enlighten Designs was recognised for providing outstanding solutions and services in New Zealand.
The company's award-wining projects include developing an automated system to enable an energy retailer to pass on savings to families and building an automated energy trading platform, so the Raglan community can buy and sell locally-generated solar power.
They have also collaborated with Sustainable Coastlines to bring data to the forefront of sustainability, climate change and healthy oceans.
"Being the 2020 Microsoft partner of the Year Award winner is a significant achievement and recognises how our solutions are making positive change in our world," says Enlighten Designs CEO Damon Kelly.
Mr Briggs says Enlighten Designs illustrate how tech-based solutions and innovative thinking can improve the way people live and work, as well as the environment.
"Our council's over-arching purpose is to improve the wellbeing of Hamiltonians. Enlighten Designs are improving wellbeing on the national and international stage.
"Our council is working to build a 'smart society' within our city and across the region. It's challenging the status quo and encouraging innovation that generates positive change for the people of Hamilton and the Waikato," Mr Briggs says.
"We're using smart technology to understand how people move around our city, gathering data which means our investment in connectivity gets the best value for ratepayers and our funding partners.
"Intelligent traffic systems identify when we have an issue on our network and can adjust traffic light phasing to reduce wait times and prioritise response times.
"Better data means better decisions and that means better outcomes for our communities. Staying abreast of changing technology also delivers substantial savings for ratepayers – our LED light replacement programme across the city is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in operating and maintenance costs, as well as improving light quality and creating a better environment for our nocturnal species," Mr Briggs says.
"Smart societies will be vital to improving liveability and making sure we make the most of available resources and reduce waste.
"Whether it's reducing transport times, optimising sustainable water use, planning for new playgrounds and green spaces for a growing city or creating open data for our community to use, a smart city approach is crucial for Hamilton to grow well.
"The recognition of Enlighten Designs is great news and is a tribute not only to them and our city, but to all innovators who are leading Hamilton's development into the tech-centre of New Zealand."