IoT solutions to drive business success and boost employee satisfaction

Five steps to enabling IoT solutions that are in tune with your teams

October 20, 2023
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When quality data is provided to capable employees, the benefits begin to stack up. It can help them create better solutions to persistent challenges, be a catalyst for ideas that boost new revenue streams, enable greater efficiencies, and result in more quality decision-making on the frontline.

The key is gathering the right data, that will solve for the right problem, and this is where IoT (Internet of Things) comes in. IoT adoption is on a rapid rise as more businesses realise its benefits, here at Spark, we’ve seen our IoT connections increase by more than 70% in the past year.  

IoT is essentially the use of sensors that measure and collect different types of data in real time. It’s a horizontal technology so it can be applied across multiple sectors. While utility, transport, and logistics are often cited as early adopters, we’re seeing huge gains in the primary, construction, health and local government sectors too.

Empowering teams to make timely decisions  

Market gardener Hira Bhana, in Pukekohe, deployed soil moisture probes across their farms. Management and the broader team can now see the real time data of the soil condition, giving them the power to add or reduce water when and where it is needed. This adoption of IoT is an example of how data can empower a workforce, not only leading to more efficiency but providing greater job satisfaction.  

Another example in the primary sector is Westpac Mussels, which exports its product around the globe. It can only harvest mussels when the salinity in the sea is within set levels. By replacing legacy data buoys, with a newly designed data buoy it was able to gather more accurate salinity readings to make better harvesting decisions. As a bonus the newly designed buoy requires less maintenance than its predecessor, saving the company more time and money.  

Free staff from monotonous tasks

IoT can also save employees time through digitising processes, for example, monitoring remote sites, while at the same time ensuring problems in a network are detected faster.  

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is an example where temperature sensors now monitor medication fridges, providing real-time information via a centralised dashboard with alerts for temperature breaches. This had led to less time spent on paperwork, as well as reduced manual monitoring saving many hours of legwork.

Provide quality information to boost frontline decision making

In another example of remote monitoring, the Christchurch City Council partnered with Spark to deploy an IoT solution that provides early fire detection at the commercial forest and recreational park Bottle Lake Forest. This will enable emergency response resources to mobilise as quickly as possible and provide time for communities to implement their emergency plans.  

Having real-time data in the moment you need it empowers decision-making with valuable benefits, from preventing the theft of expensive equipment, to protecting the safety of your people and environment.

Enable employees with real time data  

IoT can also enable employees to be more responsive to the environment in which they are operating – an important consideration in the construction industry. Dempsey Wood, a family-owned civil engineering company, deployed noise, vibration, and dust monitoring on their construction site in Wellington. The IoT solution replaced the previous manual testing and provided the employees with real time data to help them to stay on top of compliance and to deal more effectively with community concerns.  

IoT benefits all encompassing

These examples of New Zealand IoT adoption demonstrate the many ways this technology can improve the employee’s experience, as well as boost business capability. The benefits are far reaching with the organisation, reducing costs, improving health and safety, saving time, increasing efficiency, and enabling a better return on investment.  

Increasingly important, there is a sixth benefit – sustainability. While using IoT to detect dolphins during the SailGP race or monitor for fire detection to protect a forest obviously fall under the sustainability umbrella, consider how Hira Bana’s solution enables the team to be more efficient with water use.  

These solutions are contributing to more sustainable business practices, which in turn attracts employees concerned with making a positive environmental impact in their work. A recent report Spark commissioned from sustainability business thinkstep-ANZ notes digital technologies like IoT could help reduce 7.2 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions by 2030. That’s around 42% of the total emissions reduction New Zealand has targeted for that year.

Five steps to enable IoT in your organisation  

To be successful IoT needs to be solution-driven for a business’ key challenges, either those that can take teams the longest time to solve or are barriers to higher value work, so here are five steps every organisation keen to get their hands on quality data needs to consider.

Step 1

Gather teams from across the organisation to help come up with ideas for a successful IoT deployment.

The power that comes from being able to capture data and gain new insights can only be truly realised if you take your people along on the journey with you.

- Michele Wong, Spark Head of IoT

A successful solution is likely to result in change of some kind, so it’s better for people to feel it is being done with them, rather than to them.  

Step 2

Generate ideas during brainstorming sessions by posing the following three questions:

  • What are the key challenges facing your business, and your customers?  
  • What data would make a difference to solving one or more of these problems?
  • How could you use that data, and the insights gained from it, to create a solution?
  • What process, if digitised, would make the biggest difference to your work day?

Step 3

Once you are clear on the problem and the information required to solve it, put a plan in place and create a business case. Your IoT solution provider can work with you to design the right solution for your challenges, ensuring the right data is collected, while integrating into business processes to maximise impact. This is the time to think carefully about privacy and security. Privacy and security must be baked into the solution at the start – not bolted on at the end.  

Step 4

Design with scalability in mind, but start with a pilot, that you can test and learn from. The key thing is to ensure it is scalable because it’s neither time nor money well spent if you can’t move beyond a pilot to full deployment.

Step 5

If the pilot is successful, then implement widely with the backing of your people. Challenge your teams to come up with uses for the data that can improve the status quo of how they operate or how they’re serving customers. You might be surprised to find that not only has your IoT solution solved a problem, but it has also become a new revenue stream.  

If you have a problem in your business that data could help solve, our team are here to work with you and your team to identify the technology that can help solve it.

Michele Wong
Michele Wong
Spark Head of IoT
Listen to this insight:


Michele Wong leads Spark’s IoT business. With 15+ years’ experience across strategy, product, commercial, and insight, Michele is passionate about how digital tech like IoT can change the game for New Zealand. She works closely with customers and partners to identify how IoT can solve their immediate challenges and unlock new possibilities

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