Spark switches on long-range ‘internet of
things’ across New Zealand

- 413da84063df287f8f2a - Spark switches on long-range ‘internet of things’ network

Image: IoT technology
can help New Zealand cities run smarter and

Zealand organisations wanting to jump on board the internet
of things (IoT) now have a new network to plug

Spark announced today that its
long-range, low-power network is now available for
commercial use in 60% of the places New Zealanders live and

This means businesses and local councils can
use the network to connect to things like vehicles,
waterways, machinery and carparks. Sensors on these objects
are able to send information over the network to the people
managing the objects. Commands can also be sent back to
sensors, telling them when to kick in or the kind of
information to report on. For example, the volume of rubbish
in a public bin, or water pH in a stream.

Stribling, Spark’s General Manager IoT Solutions, said,
“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.

“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 network uses LoRaWAN™
technology, which carries small amounts of data over long
distances, using less power than cellular networks. This
makes it ideal for connecting objects far from power
sources. For example, to monitor an outdoor carpark or an
employee working in a remote area.

Compared to
cellular connectivity, Spark’s new long-range network is
an affordable IoT option. It works with a wide range of
low-cost sensor technologies that are significantly cheaper
on average than sensors for cellular networks.

cost to use the network is based on the number of sensors
connected, and the number of messages those sensors send
each month. For example, a dairy farm in the Manawatuwanting
an hourly update on the location and body temperature of its
cows will pay up to $1.79 per cow each month for
connectivity. Designed for scale, the cost per connection
decreases as the number of sensors increases.

Cities to get smarter with

Spark has been testing LoRaWAN™
technology on trial sites for well over a year, with
partners from a range of industries, agriculture,
marine and smart buildings. Now that the network has been
switched on, councils are looking at how it can enable them
to operate and maintain key infrastructure in smarter

NB Smartcities NZ, a local NZ company offering
smart city services, will look to utilise the new network
for its smart outdoor lighting technology, amongst other
solutions. This technology is now available to towns and
cities throughout the country.

Councils will be able
to use the smart lighting technology to manage streetlights
remotely, applying bespoke dimming profiles, monitoring
maintenance and them on or off as needed. This will
enable them to respond faster to community requests, events
and changes in daylight to keep streets safer for people,
power and reduce carbon emissions.

Oustrup, Director NB Smartcities NZ said, “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. 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- data, asset information and being
in control of these devices can increase customer service
response times and create real benefits for communities. 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,” said

“Previously there’s been no appropriate
public network available for this kind of technology. To
incorporate smart lighting, councils have seen it necessary
to build networks, but this approach can involve ongoing
liabilities. Further on, proprietary networks may not enable
the full potential lowest cost when it comes to IoT
capability and developments.”

Stribling said the
new network will enable more IoT technologies from overseas,
like smart street lighting, to be adopted here in New
Zealand. It will also give New Zealand developers of IoT
technologies the chance to launch their products here before
taking them overseas.

“We’ve 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


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