People, unfairly, joke about Hamilton being known as the “City of the Future” or the ‘Tron”, writes Company-X director David Hallett.

What, undoubtedly, started as a joke has become reality.

Hamilton was ironically dubbed “City of the Future” in the late 1990s, also earning the nickname of “The ‘Tron”, short for “Hamiltron”. But these monikers, intended with irony, have come true in so many ways. Some of it is due to geography, but a lot of it is due to capability.

The relative geographical stability of the Waikato region, compared to more earthquake prone regions such as the Wellington and Canterbury regions, makes it the ideal place to establish a data centre. It’s a no brainer of a decision for hosting companies following the construction of the city’s high speed broadband network built by Ultrafast Fibre over the last five years.

Datacom’s Kapua Data Centre, in Te Rapa, is the multi-national’s newest Tier 3+ data centre guaranteeing 99.982% availability to users. Data Vault Hamilton also operates a data centre in Te Rapa, complete with a nifty biometric scanner controlling access to the high security data room. Transpower NZ, NIWA, Nelson College and Classic Holidays are among the users of Spark Digital’s data centre in the Hamilton CBD.

Technology, operating right under our noses in Hamilton, is most definitely an enabler when it comes to having safe and secure backups of business-critical data across the country. A practical example of this might be the Christchurch business whose staff save their files to the cloud, hosted in one of Hamilton’s data centres. In the event of another big earthquake event down south, destroying businesses premises, such a business can pick up the pieces from anywhere using the Hamilton hosted data.

Ultrafast Fibre was ranked 87th in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific list for 2016 after achieving 601 per cent growth under the leadership of chief executive officer William Hamilton. It’s not uncommon for Waikato technology firms to be on that list, or its sister list the Deloitte Fast 50.

Ultrafast Fibre’s work means technology businesses in the Waikato, like my own software specialist Company-X, is in very fine form. So fine that it’s one of the three biggest contributors to the local economy, which employs more than 2,600 people, contributes more than $100 million in exports and more than $700 million to New Zealand’s GDP.

Then there’s the University of Waikato, which is among the world’s best in Computer Science and Information Systems, with a top 200 ranking in the QS World University Rankings for 2016.

Thanks to our university, the Waikato technologists have within our reach talent and expertise in:

• Broadband communication.

• Cyber security, headed by the world leading Dr Ryan Ko.

• Data compression.

• Digital libraries.

• Formal methods.

• Human-computer interaction.

• Machine learning.

• Software engineering.

Despite all of this people still, unfairly, joke about Hamilton being known as the “City of the Future” or the ‘Tron”. That’s because there’s no bells and whistles in Victoria Street proclaiming that Hamilton does, indeed, live up to its reputation. Perhaps it’s time to start taking that reputation seriously and really claiming it.