Auckland Transport greenlights landmark Microsoft cloud agreement

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Migration to new hyperscale datacenter region promises greater innovation, sustainability and skills to deliver the future of transport.

Microsoft and Auckland Transport (AT) recently announced an agreement aimed at dramatically boosting agility and innovation, reducing costs and improving sustainability in transport services.

The central plank of the agreement involves shifting AT’s data and computing from on-premises servers to Microsoft Azure cloud. As part of the agreement, Microsoft is training AT employees in cloud fundamentals, security and other digital skills to help them get the most from emerging technologies.

Not only does this investment in the team help attract and retain the best people – it also enables AT to shift its focus from business as usual to exploring innovative ways technology can be harnessed to create new services and enhanced experiences.

Aucklanders will also benefit from cost savings and the extra agility and efficiency public cloud creates for AT. During times of high demand, AT will no longer need to wait for more physical servers to be ordered – public cloud services can simply expand to deliver extra capacity as needed, coping instantly with more web traffic, transport service updates and card top-up requests.

If demand ever falls again, like it did during the Covid lockdowns, AT won’t be left paying for unused infrastructure. Meanwhile, next-generation security services will boost the resilience of AT’s transport systems and better protect customer data.

Roger Jones, Executive General Manager Business Technology at AT, said he was also thrilled to have found a technology partner whose sustainability values and strategy aligned so well with the organisation’s, supporting the sustainability of the city as much as our environment.

“At its core, this agreement is about smarter use of resources: using less of the planet’s precious resources, optimising operations and increasing our internal capability to make the most of data and modern technologies. All of this will help us become a much more agile, efficient organisation that will deliver better services across the region and improve the liveability of our city for many decades to come.”

Microsoft’s forthcoming hyperscale datacenter region will be among the most sustainable ever built, running on 100 per cent renewable energy from day one and using waterless cooling technologies.

Using Microsoft’s cloud solutions, AT will easily be able to track emissions across its networks and adjust policies or services to reduce these further.

Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, said she was excited by the potential for innovation that the agreement would enable.

“One of the things we’re getting lots of enquiries about is latency – the ability to upload and download data in almost real time, which AT’s CCTV networks at stations and intersections rely on. Having a local datacenter region here in Aotearoa means much lower latency than ever, so transport systems can run more smoothly and AT is able to respond faster to security or safety incidents, in partnership with Waka Kotahi and the police.”

This story was first published on Microsoft New Zealand News Centre

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