Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:20

Spark says NZ IoT network build on fast track as new sites go live

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 Cameron Harris (left) of Beacon Marine Electronics and John McDermott (right) of BoatSecure, a new venture using Spark’s LoRa network technology to let boat owners monitor their vessels in real-time Cameron Harris (left) of Beacon Marine Electronics and John McDermott (right) of BoatSecure, a new venture using Spark’s LoRa network technology to let boat owners monitor their vessels in real-time

New Zealand telco Spark is building a long-range network to enable the Internet of Things in New Zealand’s most populated urban centres, with the switching on of new sites in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland in time for the New Year.

The new sites have gone live following Spark’s testing of the technology with partners from a range of industries, from agriculture through to marine.

And according to the telco it is seeing strong demand for the network as a result.

Resource monitoring company Levno is working with Spark to have coverage extended into rural areas as well.

Spark says the LoRa IoT network will cover around 70% of the population by the middle of the 2018 calendar year, with sites in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland being switched on in the lead up to Christmas – and a further 16 cities will be connected early in 2018.

Spark’s GM IoT Solutions, Michael Stribling says: “The ways we’ll be able to use this new network are huge – it will change how our cities and businesses operate”.

“We can put sensors on vehicles and equipment so we know where they are and how they’re being used. Sensors will be able to tell our councils when to carry out maintenance. There are so many examples of how it will help us manage assets better.”

In addition to the country’s urban centres, Spark says it plans to extend the network to rural parts of the Waikato, Manawatu and Canterbury in the 2018 calendar year.

To deliver the network, Spark is working with Levno, who plan to use the network to provide fuel tank, grain silo and milk vat monitoring services to farmers, enabling them to react quickly to issues and increase the efficiency of their operations.

Spark’s national LoRa network is being built by specialist network provider, and IoT rollout experts, Kordia.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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