New Zealand Operator Spark this week announced that its long-range, low-power network is now available for commercial use in 60% of the places New Zealanders live and work.
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 said the 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.
Spark has been testing LoRaWAN technology on trial sites for well over a year, with partners from a range of industries, including 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 ways, said Spark. 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 turning them on or off as needed.