Wednesday, 20 July 2016 02:09

SkyBus, Spark NZ partner on Auckland Airbus Wi-Fi service

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Melbourne-based bus operator, SkyBus, which acquired Auckland Airbus in October last year, is using New Zealand’s Spark Digital, a subsidiary of telco Spark, to provide Wi-Fi to its Auckland Airport bus service.

According to Spark Digital, which is delivering Wi-Fi to the airport bus services, so far more than 200,000 people have connected on their travels to and from the city, on average using 16 MB of data which is the equivalent of listening to Spotify for 30 minutes, reading and answering 200 work emails, or uploading 50 photos to social media.

SkyBus’ Auckland expansion of Wi-Fi services has seen the introduction of new purpose-built airport buses (equipped with luggage facilities) to its fleet, and a kerbside concierge service to speed up paperless ticketing and boarding via smartphone-deployed tickets.

Under the expansion, the concierges are equipped with wireless tablet computers and are able to provide visitors with tourist and accommodation information in addition to processing tickets.

SkyBus director Michael Sewards says Spark Digital's technology and innovation are some of the key reasons behind his company's decision to invest in New Zealand.

Putti, Spark's specialist mobile app design unit, has developed the ticketing app which allows paperless ticketing using smart devices, and Sewards says SkyBus plans to take the ticketing app back to Australia and use it for the Melbourne airport service.

Sewards says before the deal with Spark was inked, SkyBus spent months doing due diligence on Airbus and ticketing innovation in New Zealand.

“We provide mass transit bus solutions for airports, and we have an intense focus on technology and its role in our customers’ experience. It gives us agility and helps us stand out in the market.

"It was important to find a local technology partner with the expertise to help us realise our vision. Above everything else, we were looking for innovation and an ability to deliver.

“Not only did we find that partner in Spark Digital, but we found Spark's technology is better than anything we have experienced back in Australia. So much better that we're planning to take some of that technology back to Melbourne and then possibly roll it out elsewhere in the world."

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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