Monday, 12 March 2018 12:33

Spark secures first IoT customer

By
Levno's Ray Connor and farmer James Griffin Levno's Ray Connor and farmer James Griffin

New Zealand’s largest telco Spark is set to launch its long-range Internet of Things network and has signed resource monitoring company, Levno, as its first customer.

Spark says the partnership with Levno will benefit the rural sector.

Under the agreement, originally scoped to cover New Zealand’s top 20 urban centres, the network is being extended to Levno’s customers in Manawatu, Canterbury and Waikato.

Levno also says it anticipates reduced operating costs on the new infrastructure, allowing greater focus on developing customer experience.

Levno plan to use the network from April, initially for their fuel tank monitoring service. The system consists of a battery-powered sensor attached to the fuel tank, which immediately reports any change in volume. This information gets sent in real-time, via the cloud, to the customer’s device. When levels get low, the fuel distributor is notified that a delivery is needed.

Spark’s general manager of IoT Solutions, Michael Stribling, says that last year, when Spark announced plans to build two IoT networks in New Zealand, the huge potential of these for businesses soon became evident.

“Organisations across the country reached out to us, keen to be at the forefront of IoT.

“We know that for many, this is the technology they need to take their business to the next level – whether it’s by keeping better track of their resources, moving off cellular technology to lower their infrastructure costs, or testing the new IoT product they've been developing.”

Levno chief executive Ray Connor says that when the company created the monitoring system in 2012, a suitable low power network wasn’t available in New Zealand.

Without a low power network, Levno began using available cellular networks. These were designed for higher power, higher data uses – something Connor says wasn’t an ideal option back then for a start-up.

“LoRaWAN lowers the cost of infrastructure for us. This is great for our business, but also for our customers because it means we can focus more resource on the stuff that directly impacts them – like building great user experience through our dashboard,” says Connor.

“I think this will be a trend as IoT becomes more pervasive. Development companies need to focus more on the experience for the people using their products to deliver real value to users and less on the infrastructure sitting under it.”

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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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