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Natasha Ovely. Photo / Supplied.

Can Spark Guess Your Perfect Gift? We Tasked Some Creatives With Test-Driving Its Smart New Technology

After a digitally-driven year, now is an apt time to think about what’s next for work and leisure, and what we need to do it

Technology and connection are integral to Viva’s creative process, and they’ve been more important than ever in 2021, as we’ve learned to master remote working. Digital accoutrements help bring our vision to life — from video calls and group chats to managing social media platforms on our mobile devices, the bluetooth speaker that plays the soundtrack to our shoots, or the noise-cancelling headphones that help us focus during deadline, great tech is essential. Staying connected is vital too, helping us follow the discourse of the zeitgeist and drive dialogue around what’s important now and what’s next.

Aotearoa’s creative community is agile and innovative, and after a year full of hard work, inspiring projects, and bright ideas, the holiday period is an apt time to think about what’s next, and what we need to do it — so we invited some friends of Viva to road-test the smart new technology from Spark’s New Tech Assistant (S.N.T.A) that allows you do exactly that, just in time for Christmas.

S.N.T.A is built from thousands and thousands of data points, designed to find out what every type of New Zealander wants this year. It can help you select the perfect present for your nearest and dearest — especially the tech-lover in your life — and S.N.T.A is also a great way to navigate the retailer’s expansive range of offerings and discover what’s perfect for you — which is what these creatives have done, sharing their hobbies and habits with S.N.T.A, to discover a tailored range of ‘treat yourself’ options.

ELSIE ANDREWES

Vocation: Illustrator and florist
Passions: Visual arts, exercising, watching movies, flowers
S.N.T.A’s pick: Spark Gift Card

Elsie Andrewes and a Spark Gift Card. Photos / Supplied.

How do you use technology in your daily life?
I use technology constantly throughout my day! When working on my illustrations I use my Apple iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, handy as they’re both high powered enough to handle running the full Adobe Creative Cloud apps. I also use my phone, normally for photos, editing and uploading to social media, but recently I’ve also utilised my phone to relax by using apps like Headspace to practise mindfulness, meditation and breathwork. Finally, Apple Air Pods when I’m at the gym, either playing early 2000s RnB or a podcast.

Who are you looking forward to connecting with these holidays?
I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my immediate family, but also connecting to close friends too. It’s been so important to keep an open line of communication between the people you love, as you may not know when the next time you’ll be able to see them. By keeping connected, we share a lived experience despite geographical distance. Being in lockdown has really been an example of this, where we can still have some sense of community through the digital world. I’ve made close friends through these means and I’ve never met them in person, but I still feel so connected to them.

TAUTAHI SUBRITZKY

Vocation: Fashion stylist and Zambesi retail assistant
Passions: Watching movies, painting, travelling (when we can!), going to the gym, shopping.
S.N.T.A’s pick: Harman Kardon Citation One

Tautahi Subritzky and a Harmon Kardon Citation One. Photos / Supplied.

How does the digital world inspire you or enrich your life?
Being connected to the ‘digital world’ means that I am able to view the world in a way that is beyond my physical surroundings. I can be sitting in my bedroom in Auckland while watching a live fashion show happening on the other side of the world. I can connect with friends living overseas in a way that’s more than just a voice on the other end of the phone. I can purchase a piece of art, clothing, or jewellery from an artist or designer living miles away from the country I live in. The ‘digital world’ has meant that I can see and experience more than what was possible before.

What was using S.N.T.A like?
Sparks' New Tech Assistant was simple and straightforward. The multi-choice design also made it fun to use.

From November 30 to December 24, purchase a Harman Kardon Citation One, $329.95, and get another one for half price.

NICOLE BRANNEN

Vocation: Photographer and film lab technician
Passions: Taking pictures, connecting with nature and spending time with family and friends
S.N.T.A’s pick: Arlo Spotlight Camera Kit

Nicole Brannen and a Arlo Spotlight Camera Kit. Photos / Supplied.

What’s your preferred communication method?
With my friends, I enjoy texting! It’s simple, efficient and fun. With my family, I prefer phone calls, as my Mum in particular loves to chat and I feel like a phone call is the perfect way to catch up on everything going on in our respective lives when we can’t physically be together.

What’s your preferred communication method? 
The digital world feels like it truly has no limits. I’m inspired every day by media that I come across, whether that be a visually striking image or a video that sets off a million different ideas within my head. It’s always such a pleasure to see other creatives around the world sharing their work and I feel lucky to have access to such a range of media.

What was using S.N.T.A like? I thoroughly enjoyed it! Spark’s Tech Assistant was super easy to navigate, had a good range of questions to narrow down the potential outcomes and it made me super excited for the gift giving season ahead.

NATASHA OVELY

Vocation: Fashion designer
Passions: Knitting, writing, photography, reading and horticulture
S.N.T.A’s pick: Beats Studio 3 headphones

Natasha Ovely and Beats Studio 3 Headphones. Photos / Supplied.

How do you use technology in your daily life?
I use mobile apps for work-related image editing and marketing, and I use my laptop for entertainment, home viewing and writing.

Staying connected to loved ones is important, who do you stay in touch with regularly? And who do you contact on special occasions?
I stay in touch with my closest friends on a near-daily basis. On special occasions I like to reach out to family and old friends overseas that I may not have seen for an extended period of time.

Who are you looking forward to connecting with this season and why?
My grandmother who lives in India, no special occasion feels complete without her. I like to celebrate special occasions with my closest circle, lockdown made me realise the difference between people I connect without of choice, versus people I connect with out of habit or necessity.

LOCHIE STONEHOUSE

Vocation: Makeup Artist
Passions: Beauty, music and organisation
S.N.T.A’s pick: Apple Airpords Pro

Lochie Stonehouse and Apple Airpods Pro. Photos / Supplied.

How do you use technology in your daily life? 
Lately (during lockdown) I’ve been spending more time on my MacBook Pro. Using Photoshop on my laptop, I’ve been able to create digital makeup looks for clients. It’s been a way for me to continue working, especially with those that live abroad. Like everyone else, my Netflix screen-time has probably increased something wild. My next technology venture involves the recent purchase of a Bluetooth Label Printer so that I can re-label my makeup-kit products!

Who are you looking forward to connecting with this holiday season and why?
Historically, my family would spend Christmas together in either Cambridge, Christchurch or Nelson — depending on who hosts that year. This year, we’re all hoping to spend the festive season together in Christchurch. If not, it’ll be a Christmas-day spent together via Zoom!

What was using S.N.T.A like?
Quick and accurate!

Head to Spark.co.nz to see Christmas deals across Mobile Phones, Tech and more, and to have a go with Spark’s New Tech Assistant.

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