The 150th anniversary of Wellington becoming the capital city of New Zealand was this past weekend and true to its tech image, it was celebrated with a 3D light show on parliament buildings that chronicled the history of the capital city.
Away from all the partying and the bright lights, Anthill caught up with the some of the most innovative start-ups in the region to reflect on how far the now booming tech hub has come and they shared with us what they hope to see for their city’s future.
“What do you hope to see in Wellington in the next 150 years?” we asked.
“It will look green and blue from the distance. Plant and animal life will be integrated into the built environment, helping us adapt to wilder weather and making Wellington healthy, clean and stunningly beautiful.
“Physical reality will be augmented with all sorts of digital realities. We’ll have long put down our smartphones and will be experiencing digital media with all of our senses throughout the city. We’ll have more public and shared spaces, as well as each having our own unique digital city.
“Millions of virtual visitors will arrive daily for micro-visits. When we’re not walking, running or cycling, we’ll fly around on solar charged platforms to meet our friends – hopefully still at great spots like Lamason or Prefab!”
— Toni Moyes, Chief Operating Officer at virtual reality startup 8i.
“Everyone is riding bikes to work with helmets that allow your thoughts to be transferred to the cloud for you to review when you get to your beautiful co-working innovation-space filled with the world’s smartest scientists & creatives all working on solving the big problems of the world (and nailing it). “
— Jessica Manins, Chief Customer Officer at online talent platform StarNow.
“Picture an eco-topia with hydrogen powered hover-ferries to and from the Hutt and jet packs to work on a ‘good day’ (Glen Martin, you sold too soon!). The cable car will generate enough electricity to power the CBD and we’ll live in beautifully designed high-density urban flats.
“Don’t be surprised when you spot touchscreen kiosks dispensing flat whites and local craft beer – simply pay with your Snapper wrist implant. Thanks to virtual reality, we’ll experience interactive and immersive film experiences.
“All of this made possible by the spirit of Wellington entrepreneurship and its fantastic start-up community. A community who knows no limits and are unwilling to accept ‘can’t be done’ as an answer. Here’s to a green future Wellington.”
— Kristen Lunman, COO and Head of Marketing at video review platform Wipster.
“When I think of Wellington and how it will evolve over the next one and a half centuries, it evokes images of a city more connected than ever.
“Connected to one another, through collaborative working hubs that support VR simulation scattered throughout the city. Connected to nature, with urban farms clinging to the facades of corporate highrises and solar panels adorning every roof.
“And most of all, connected to innovation; displayed by the roads that constantly power the electric cars driving on them and the buzz of drones making light work of daily deliveries. The city is alive and working for us.”
— Kendall Flutey, Developer at financial literacy app for schools, Banqer.
“Lying on the grass in the middle of Cuba Street I catch a glimpse of something that looks like lightning. It’s the transportation network some miles away having a moment because a 150-year old missed her stop. “Ah youth, they always get off in the wrong country,” I say to myself.
“I sip on my apple juice, fresh from the greenhouse a few meters below the water and exchange looks with a nearby kiwi bird. A Faculty of Integrated Knowledge student asks if I’d like to see their prototype for improving the city’s Thought Processing Network. I accept the offer – open source has always been my thing.
“Perhaps I could visit my artist friends in Portugal tonight. They were great to work with on the Cancer and Natural Disease Eradication Programme. They might have some ideas for this. It’s still hard to believe people used to die from this stuff 150 years ago.”
— Marija Kupriyenko, Director at shared co-working space In Good Company.
“The Whosonlocation team would like to see Wellington maintain its title as ‘The coolest little capital in the world’. We would love to see it still enveloped by beautiful land & sea surroundings, maintaining its strong creative cultures, live entertainment, magical atmosphere and thriving business districts.
“It’s these features that make Wellington the perfect place to live. We hope for our city to become 100 per cent carbon free, with more sustainable power sources and for SME businesses to rule the economy, in place of larger corporations.”
— Victoria Armstrong, COO at cloud people presence management service WhosOnLocation.
“In the next 150 years, I would like to see Wellington to continue to be a small city that perfectly balances access to the environment with urban culture.
“Sure, there would be a lot of changes such a solar cells on everybody’s roof, warm tropical breezes, and a lack of private cars on the road, but the things that make Wellington what it is will stay the same.
“I think Wellington will cement its place on the world stage as a model of what a compact and balanced environment can produce. With technology removing the barriers of distance, the city can become a destination for innovative businesses and people from around the world.
“As a city that is unafraid to tout its intellectual side, this will only help it grow into its own as a knowledge hub in an increasingly connected world.”
— Jason Gleason, Business Director at rapid cloud integration platform Eight Wire.
“In the future I’d love Wellington to build a ‘chunnel’ (a channel tunnel) from the North Island to the South Island. The more connected we are, the better!”
— Nick Lissette, co-founder & Director of Black Pearl Mail.
“Imagine a Wellington that has transformed itself into global crypto-currency innovation hub. Our kids actually wonder what banks were for back in the day and every fin-tech company around the globe is trying to take advantage of our crypto-currency friendly legislation (and get some space at one of our fin-tech innovation hubs overlooking the harbour).
“Our lattes are paid for with Bitcoin from our smart wallets embedded under our skins. Our smart homes are not only interacting but also paying for stuff without us doing anything. The government has given up trying to collect tax and is chilling out on Somes island.”
— Mark Pascall, Director of agile web solutions company 3months.