Internet of Things (IoT) now available commercially

Wednesday 4 Apr 2018

Last week we ran our biggest tech conference for all primary industries - "MobileTECH 2018" in Rotorua. For the past 6 years this audience and the technologies being developed have grown faster than anything in forestry.

When we first started running this technology conference our presenters were starting to use a new phrase "the internet of things". Now with a release from Spark last week - it is now a cow-mercial reality (excuse the pun):

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.

By Jonathan Nally

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