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IoT Alliance and the i4 Institute: M1 Data Collaborative Pilot


Infrastructure 4.0: IoT Alliance Cities Group Theme for 2023

In 2023, Infrastructure 4.0 represents a significant shift from traditional infrastructure systems for cities, where advanced sensors and IoT devices are being used to collect vast amounts of data on infrastructure systems, including traffic patterns, energy usage and water consumption etc.

The application of Internet of Things technology enables the collection and analysis of data to support decision making across these infrastructure, their assets and their services.

The NZ IoT Alliance Cities Working Group is helping bring the Internet of Things ecosystem together with data infrastructures, communities and city leaders to enable better decisions making on city infrastructures, to create more liveable, workable, and sustainable cities, towns, and regions across New Zealand.

As part of the program for 2023, The IoT Alliance Cities working group is collaborating with the i4 Institute, cities, Tech NZ members, NGOs and relevant public sectors organizations on the following four objectives:

  1. Increase awareness of the need to change the approach to infrastructure in NZ and the role of IoT Technologies in the Infrastructure 4.0, via communications and thought leadership.
  2. Using both local and international IoT case studies in Infrastructure 4.0 success stories, work with city infrastructure stakeholders to help them gain active and visible sponsorship from city leaders and central government.
  3. Map the NZ IoT ecosystem to the above Infrastructure 4.0 narratives/case studies and support activation of 3 IoT city infrastructure initiatives using a collaborative approach to showcase data-informed decision making on infrastructure…powered by IoT.
  4. Work with Infrastructure 4.0 stakeholders to build IoT Skills, competences and education, linking back to IT Professionals initiative around the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)

For objective 3 above (Activation) we have created a collaborative innovation project focusing on supporting cities in data-informed decision making for Urban Coastal Adaption…the M1 Data Collaborative.

M1 Data Collaborative Context

Urban Coastal Adaptation

People, communities, and industries within these Urban Coastal Environments will need to become aware of climate change, making decisions on the best approach to adapt their ways of living and means of production.

We also know from research that upper management/board level prefer to rely on gut feel and experience, rather than data when making important decisions. As a result, the challenge is to demonstrate the relevance of bringing together and sharing multiple datasets about markets, people, places, and climate events to support service delivery, policy analysis, and research across firms, government agencies and academia.

For example, in the northern region of Auckland city, increasing temperatures and changing wind/rain patterns, coupled with intensive urbanization of rural holdings around the Mahurangi Habour and Warkworth areas are having a significant effect on the aquaculture, horticulture and forestry.

Data Collaboratives

Solving today’s challenges in sustainability and climate change will require greater access to data that resides within the private sector and across public agencies, such as environmental data from IoT sensors, city call detail records, Universities, Crown Research Institutes and Citizen Scientists.

To fulfill the potential of data to improve people’s lives, we need to accelerate the creation and use of “Data Collaboratives” as a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors — in particular companies -  exchange their data to create public value.

Which is why we are exploring how to work with Aquaculture Entrepreneurs such as the Oyster Farmers of the Mahurangi, local government in the Auckland region and citizens to address these challenges with data, support climate adaption and lift in productivity.

The M1 Data Collaborative

Focusing on bringing the Data Collaborative paradigm to the Urban Coastal Adaption conversation in New Zealand, The M1 Data Collaborative (M1) is a joint initiative comprising the following IoT Alliance members, partners and collaborators:

  • The i4 Institute: A not-for-profit, the i4 Institute is dedicated to bringing people together from different sectors to share data for the benefit of society, the environment and the equitable spread of economic opportunity. For this project, the i4 Institute is hosting the M1 Data Collaborative and bringing its expertise in Data Governance and Data Stewardship to support the collaborative innovation process.
  • Scopious IoT: Scopious IoT is a member of the IoT Alliance and is helping build a more efficient and sustainable world together through the collaboration of people, ideas, and IoT. Scopious IoT has created an IoT platform comprising a range of services and applications for onboarding IoT gateways and devices, to support delivery of critical data produced by these sensors to end-users.
  • Otago University (Marine Science): Department of Marine Science, University of Otago offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees focusing on pure and applied research in marine science, oceanography and aquaculture. Alumni include Aquaculture Entrepreneurs in the Mahurangi Harbour, alongside globally recognized experts in Managing and conserving marine resources and the Department of Marine Science, University of Otago Sensor Data Platform (see below).
  • Microsoft (ANZ): Microsoft is committed to ensuring that technology is inclusive, trusted, and helps increase sustainability, and has a number of sustainability initiatives and detailed plans for working towards a more sustainable future. For the initial M1 Data Collaborative pilot, data will be hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, with a migration to the New Zealand Datacenter Region when launched.
  • Massey University: Massey University brings its expertise in Entrepreneurship, innovation and regional development to the M1 Data Collaborative party. Together with Otago University and the IoT industry, Massey will be exploring new ways of engaging with students and industry leader in support of IoT derived data and evidence informed decision making for local economies.
  • The New Zealand IoT Alliance: The New Zealand IoT Alliance was launched in 2017 and is governed by an independent Executive Council. Key purpose is to actively contribute to the prosperity of New Zealand through accelerating the uptake of IoT, where the IoT Alliance aims to accelerate IoT innovation by promoting collaboration across industry and government, such as the M1 Data Collaborative.
  • Malcolm Fraser (M1 Data Collaborative Program Director): Malcolm is a member of the IoT executive council and leads the Cities Working Group. A Data Governance Architect, he works with senior management and boards to facilitate the co-design of adaptable frameworks and strategies for organizational data governance and public/private data collaborations. For this pilot he will act as the overall program director this pilot is closely aligned with his work with Otago University on Governance Frameworks for Data Collaboratives.

Otago University Sensor Data Platform

M1 Data Collaborative Approach: A Data Mesh Concept

For the M1 Data Collaborative, we will seek to move away from monolithic data bases and data lakes approaches, and explore the concept of a ‘Data Mesh’ to enable decentralized data, organizing it instead along domain-driven lines, with each domain owning its own data that it treats as a product that is consumed by the rest of the M1 Data Collaborators, which includes the following concepts:

  • Data Domains: Domains are problem spaces you want to address. They’re areas where knowledge, behavior, laws, and activities come together. For M1 these data domains may include; Aquaculture, Water Infrastructure, Marine Environment, Climate Change and Urban Environment Domains
  • Data Products: Data products aim to take product thinking to the world of data. In order for your data product to be successful, it needs to provide a long-term business value to the intended users. For example, data products for the Oyster Farmers of the Mahurangi Habour that support productivity and innovation initiatives in their operations.
  • Self-Serve platforms: The intention is that the M1 Data Collaborative is a self-service platform for data products from across the various domains.
  • Federated (Data) Governance: When adopting a self-serve and distributed data platform, increased emphasis needs to be placed on governance. Lack of governance can lead to silos and data duplication across the data domains, driving the need for federated governance of data, as people who understand the governance need exits in your domain aligned teams and data owners.

Side Note: Federated Governance in Data Collaboratives

The process of decentralizing, democratizing and productizing data in the Mesh concept is a quantum leap in data architectures and opens the door to massive experimentation and innovation. However, you can’t just decentralize everything and wait for innovation to occur, as there would be chaos.

The secret sauce is using a federated approach to strike a balance between decentralized data sources (that enables innovation at scale) and centralized data governance (that provides the basis for consistency and collaboration across the organization). This is of particular importance in Data Collaborations such as M1, due to the multi-stakeholder nature of these data sharing initiatives.

For more on this topic see Data Mesh 101: Why Federated Data Governance Is the Secret Sauce of Data Innovation.

Execution: Iterative Builds

Establishing the M1 Data Collaborative uses an iterative approach comprising the following versions:

  1. Proof of Concept: Basic IoT sensor data (air temperature) via Scopious, into Azure Data Blob and up to public accessible web site (URL TBC), to prove end-to-end data capture and presentation.
  2. Pilot Co-Design: Establishment of IoT based Weather Sensor package at Snells Beach Mahurangi East, prove end-to-end data capture/presentation and provide demonstrable features for co-design process with Aquaculture Farmers.
  3. Pilot: Based on co-design process, establish sensor package in Mahurangi Harbour and prove out end-to-end data capture and presentation. This pilot would include 1 or 2 ‘data products’ based on co-design process with Aquaculture Farmers.
  4. Case Study: Write up and publish case study for circulation by IoT Alliance and pilot collaborators.


The i4 Institute will host this initiative and provide progress/insights across the implementation. The IoT Alliance will also provide regular public updates on the progress of the M1 Data Collaborative Pilot on its Knowledge Hub, with pilot project participates being supported via the i4 Institutes collaboration platform ClickUp.

Get Involved?

This is an open (and non-funded) collaboration where each participate brings their own resources and expertise. Want to get involved, contact the M1 Program Director (Malcolm Fraser) via email.

About the M1 Collaborators