Monday, 03 July 2017 14:57

Spark rolling out NZ country-wide network for IoT

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New Zealand’s largest telco Spark has started the development of a country-wide low-power wide area network to enable the Internet of Things.

The rollout of the LoRa network is designed to deliver coverage to high priority areas and unlock IoT potential for wide range of uses in New Zealand.

A significant proportion of the network is expected to be operational by June 2018, enabling sensors and devices to be connected over the LoRa network nationwide, with broad coverage at an affordable price point. “A particular advantage of LoRa is that it enables a long battery life on sensors and devices,” says Spark general manager for IoT, Michael Stribling.

“Being connected to this extent will change the way we look at everything – rubbish bins could schedule themselves to be emptied at the right time, farmers could have detailed information about pasture and animals to make decisions with pinpoint precision, the possibilities are immense and we’re keen to be part of it.”

The telco says it is already working with New Zealand partners to demonstrate a partnership approach to IoT, as evidenced in the Connected Farms pilot, where it is working with Farmlands, NIWA and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, as well as device partners to roll-out pilot IoT capabilities on farms in the Waikato.

And Spark has engaged Actility, the global platform provider for LoRa networks, to provide a platform and support the deployment of the network.  

“At Spark our Ventures team has been working on the exciting possibilities of the Internet of Things and what it could mean for New Zealand.”

“We are moving to take a leadership position in IoT because we already have a lot of capabilities needed to make the most of a more connected world – we have the world-class network, we have the platforms, and we have the big data analytics power of Qrious to make sense of the torrent of information that will be created from networks of sensors connecting the things around us.

“The network we are rolling out is being developed by Kordia, who have commenced initial network design in preparation for the network build which will operate on the LoRa (Low Range) network standard, a global standard for IoT.”

Spark also announced it is advancing to deploy mobile network-based IoT networks (LTE-M1 and Narrow-Band LTE).

“We believe that there are different use cases emerging for different IoT networks, depending on the level and type of data that needs to be transmitted by IoT devices,” Stribling said.

“In making an investment in LoRa, in addition to its LTE investments, Spark believes it will be in position to provide the broadest set of IoT solutions to its customers.

“Spark is also excited to announce this development to help provide confidence to customers and ecosystem partners that there will soon be a nationwide LoRa network available in New Zealand.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for New Zealand device and solution companies to take a lead position in IoT, with projections suggesting the number of connected devices will explode globally, and in New Zealand.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a 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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