Yesterday, two of New Zealand’s major telecommunications company separately announced that they are beginning development of a IoT network here in New Zealand. Spark and Vodafone will each deploy their own nationwide low power wide area network (LPWAN) to enable the Internet of Things (IoT). The LPWAN will enable the Internet of Things to last for a decent amount of time before they will have to change or charge up the batteries for each ‘Thing’.
Internet of Things is an exciting development for the world as it brings a lot of possibilities that may not have been as easily developed without IoT. It connects devices, objects and machines to the internet, turning them into intelligent assets that communicate with the world around them. For example, smart, connected rubbish bins could potentially notify the Council when they are full, and get someone out to empty it, or perhaps the street light is reporting that its bulb has blown and requires a replacement. There are many other potentially forseeable applications involving IoT, include the tracking of persons, animals or objects, connected industrial machines and appliances, and potentially connected health devices.
Spark’s IoT network, which will operate on the LoRa (Long Range) network standard, is being developed by Kordia, with a significant proportion of the network expected to be operational by June 2018. As well as investing in the LoRa network, Spark are also planning to deploy mobile network-based IoT networks (LTE-M1 and Narrow-Band LTE). You can view more information and stats for the different types of radio standards for LPWAN here.
Spark is already working with New Zealand partners to demonstrate a partnership approach to IoT, as evidenced in the Connected Farms pilot, where Spark is working with Farmlands, NIWA and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, as well as device partners to roll-out pilot IoT capabilities on farm in the Waikato.
Vodafone has tested out its Narrow-Band Internet of Things network with its technology partner Nokia in September last year, and they have been impressed with the way they are progressing. They will soon begin to pilot the technology with a select group of business customers later in the year, before rolling out their network early next year.
Transport technology services company EROAD is one of the companies on-board for Vodafone’s IoT pilot programme. The company played a huge role in modernising road toll charging – and helped make New Zealand the first country in the world to implement a nationwide cellular-based road charging solution.
This IoT trial programmes will see software deployed across selected cell sites, taking advantage of state-of-the art network testing facilities at both companies.