Spark's IoT network covers 60% of NZ


By Jonathan Nally
Monday, 26 March, 2018



Spark's IoT network covers 60% of NZ

Need to connect a cow to the IoT? That’ll be just $1.79, thanks to Spark’s new LoRaWAN grid.

New Zealand telco Spark has announced that its long-range, low-power network is now available for commercial use across 60% of the country.

The network, aimed at internet of things (IoT) applications, will enable businesses and local councils to connect to sensors on vehicles, waterways, streetlights, car parks and more.

“Our IoT capability is really gathering pace, and now we’ve got this critical mass of coverage we’re able to make the network commercially available. This is a real milestone for Spark as we help New Zealand organisations win big in IoT,” said Spark General Manager IoT Solutions Michael Stribling.

“While we currently have 60% of rural and urban New Zealand covered, we’ll be working to extend that to 70% by July this year. We’re also looking to partner with organisations to extend coverage into areas where they need it.”

The LoRaWAN solution uses less power than cellular networks, making it suitable for connecting objects far from power sources.

Subscriber costs are based on the number of sensors connected and the number of messages sent each month.

An example given is that of a dairy farm wanting hourly updates on the location and body temperature of its cows. The farm will pay up to NZ$1.79 per cow per month for connectivity, with the cost per connection decreasing as the number of sensors increases.

Map of New Zealand, showing coverage areas of Spark's IoT network

NB Smartcities NZ aims to use the new network for its smart outdoor lighting technology and other solutions.

“The new Spark network offers real options to our council customers to leverage a range of smart city applications in addition to smart light technology,” said NB Smartcities NZ Director Claus Oustrup.

“As we continue to develop leading-edge technology in the IoT space we are really excited about the options and solutions we can bring to market through this new Spark network.

“For many councils, having real-time data, asset information and being in control of these devices can increase customer service response times and create real benefits for communities,” he added.

“For example, street lighting can account for as many as 50% of call centre complaints. By having adaptable street lighting managed with real-time systems, these complaints can be quickly addressed, and their volume decreased.”

Stribling said that Spark has worked with the International LoRa Alliance to agree on Asia–Pacific standards so that products developed on LoRaWAN in New Zealand will work the same way on LoRaWAN networks in other countries.

“It’s Spark’s vision to help New Zealand businesses find their edge here in New Zealand and overseas. Connected technologies play a big role in bridging the geographical barriers we face as a country. It’s critical for us that the networks we provide enable New Zealand businesses to reach the world,” Stribling said.

Michael Stribling will give a feature presentation on Spark’s IoT plans at the Comms Connect Auckland conference in May.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Nikokvfrmoto

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