Crown Company Network for Learning (N4L) has been recognised for its entrepreneurship and technical excellence at the Reseller News’ 2020 Innovation Awards, which celebrate leadership and innovation in New Zealand’s technology industry.

N4L connects more than 825,000 students and teachers to smart and safe internet, working alongside many partners in government, technology, and education to ensure New Zealand’s 2450-plus schools can use the internet reliably while keeping their students safe from cyber security threats and harmful digital content. 

The Reseller News’ 2020 Innovation Awards judges named N4L’s Clayton Hubbard as the winner of the Technical Excellence in Entrepreneurship at an evening event in Auckland on 21 October and also highly commended N4L for its Partner Value in the Corporate Citizen category.

N4L’s Clayton Hubbard (centre) on stage at the Reseller News 2020 Innovation Awards

The judges said: “Clayton wins this award for spearheading the design of more than 2,450 wireless networks for schools around the country, with each school receiving its own individual network design to accommodate its unique building layout and connectivity needs, through a new nationwide upgrade of school network equipment.”

This involves a panel of 19 local technology companies and is part of the Ministry of Education’s Te Mana Tūhono programme to boost school network resilience and remove the burden of schools of managing and maintaining them. 

N4L Chief Information and Security Officer Gavin Costello says he’s proud of his team’s efforts to enable Kiwi kids to connect safely and securely to the internet where and when they need it.

“As N4L’s enterprise architect, Clayton is a key driver of the company’s vision, ensuring N4L’s systems meet the unique needs of New Zealand’s schools and allow students to have a positive and safe online learning experience,” says Mr Costello. “Clayton and his team strive for positivity and excellence in everything they do, reducing IT complexity for schools and bringing immense value to our business, our partners; and importantly, the young people of New Zealand who use our systems for learning every day.”

The design and rapid deployment of N4L’s online “Switch on Safety” filter led to the high commendation for Partner Value in the Corporate Citizen category. Designed in response to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, the filter keeps students safe from the worst of the web while learning from home, and is an extension of the enterprise-grade Akamai threat protection solution N4L manages for schools. 

The new online safety filter is one of innovations leading to N4L’s finalist nomination in the Public Service Commission’s Te Hāpai Hāpori “Spirit of Service” Awards, where the company is named alongside the Ministry of Education, Netsafe and many other education partners delivering breakthrough initiatives to support learning from home during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond. Winners will be announced November 9.

About Network for Learning (N4L)

N4L connects all ākonga to smart and safe internet for learning. Today, all New Zealand public schools and their 825,000 students have access to a safe and reliable online learning environment through N4L. Schools consume an average of 175 terabytes per day when using N4L’s Managed Network at school and are kept safe from 25 million websites blocked every day.