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Spark continues IoT deployment across New Zealand

A local company offering smart city services will look to utilise the new network for its smart outdoor lighting technology

Sensors can inform local councils about the volume of rubbish in a public bin
Sensors can inform local councils about the volume of rubbish in a public bin

New Zealand telecommunications company Spark has announced that its long-range, low-power network has been rolled out for commercial use in 60 per cent of the places New Zealanders live and work.


The LoRaWAN network has been switched on in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Shannon, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and Dunedin. Sites in Hastings and Invercargill will go live in the next few weeks.

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


Businesses and local councils can use the network to connect to things like vehicles, waterways, machinery and car parks. 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.


“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 Michael Stribling, general manager IoT solutions, Spark.

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


NB Smartcities NZ, a local company offering smart city services, will look to utilise the new network for its smart outdoor lighting technology, among other solutions.


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. This will enable them to respond faster to community requests, events and changes in daylight to keep streets safer for people, save power and reduce carbon emissions, said Spark.


“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,” added Claus Oustrup, director NB Smartcities NZ.

“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.


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


Spark is delivering two public, standards-based IoT networks: CAT-M1 and LoRaWAN to cater to different use-cases. Both come with mature global ecosystems. Spark said it continues to monitor use cases for NB-IoT technology.


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