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Spark's new IoT network offers 'huge potential' for Kiwi businesses

24 Sep 18

Spark’s second Internet of Things (IoT) network has now officially launched in New Zealand’s main centres, with a wider rollout coming in the coming months.

The LTE Cat-M1 (M1) network runs through Spark’s 4G network to provide low-bandwidth IoT connectivity. In addition to supporting lower cost devices, near real-time access and greater coverage, the network is also the foundation for new capabilities in the application of IoT within New Zealand.

Those applications include new and existing IoT solutions and services, such as wearables, smart appliances, asset monitoring, electricity, gas and water meters, industrial automation and many more.

According to Spark’s digital services lead Michael Stribling, the rollout is a ‘significant milestone’ for the company.

“By accelerating the availability of networks, we’re making IoT real, and we’re seeing huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses and communities to leverage this new technology.”

“M1 is a secure, high-quality network, ideal where sensors and devices are transferring data regularly and near real-time access to that data is critical,” he continues.

Stribling says that Spark is already working on use cases for M1, including vehicle telematics and smart health devices.

There is also use cases for councils and asset managers, who will be able to connect key infrastructure like environmental and air quality monitoring, transport and parking solutions, digital signage and street lights to the network. 

Workers will then be able to monitor asset conditions and and enable better planning and decision making.

“We’re excited about the possibilities of IoT and what it’ll enable New Zealanders to do, and we now have a market-ready service that’ll help bring those possibilities to life,” says Stribling. 

“M1 offers huge potential for businesses, government and cities to work smarter, make better decisions and deliver better outcomes,” adds Spark network evolution lead Colin Brown.

“We’ve invested in this purpose-built network so that our customers can take advantage of these possibilities. We’re confident New Zealand will be well-set for future growth in this technology.”

Smart metering and smart grid solutions provider Landis+Gyr is just one company that will use the new M1 network to progressively roll out smart metering.

Stribling says Spark is excited to work with Landis+Gyr to roll out smart metering technology on its network. “We’re very focused on delivering the network foundations to allow businesses to use IoT to run their businesses better.”

 Landis+Gyr general manager of A/NZ Rodney Chaplin adds that the rollout will provide better solutions for customers.

 “Landis+Gyr meters fitted with our flexible and modular communication modules are perfectly suited to take advantage of 4G networks with M1 technology,” Chaplin explains. 

“This allows us to get to market quickly and provide utilities with a robust coverage to ensure the success of smart metering rollout.”

Spark also operates a low-power, long-range IoT network designed for low data rate applications. It is powered by LoRaWAN technology. Unlike the M1, it operates on separate Spark cell tower gateways and third party sites.