Spark NZ has announced a ‘dual-network’ approach in a bid to offer customers more choice when it comes to IoT connectivity in New Zealand.
Spark, the largest internet service provider in New Zealand, has announced it is trialling a nationwide LTE IoT network, even as it works on plans for a long-range, low-power (LoRa) network, too.
The company has said it will begin trials of its LTE Cat-M1 (M1) network during November, and is working towards making this technology commercially available by early 2018. It’s one of the biggest projects undertaken by the company, apparently.
At the same time, it’s finalising a roll-out plan for the commercial launch of its LoRa technology. This will be ideal for situations where there is no power source, and sensor relies on battery power, making battery life critical.
The LTE CAT-M1 network will run on Spark’s core 4G network, which already offers coverage to 95 percent New Zealand’s habitable areas.
Once it’s rolled out, the company will be able to cater for the needs of many different types of clients, including those needing vehicle telematics, smart metering and smart city applications. In other words, it will be targeted at time-critical and high-data use cases.
Michael Stribling, general manager for IoT at the company, said: “M1 is a secure, high-quality network, ideal where sensors and devices are transferring large amounts of data regularly and real-time access to that data is critical.
“We’re working with customers on a broad range of use cases for M1, driven by its nationwide coverage and high performance. Great examples include vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices and smart cities applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring.
“We’re excited about the possibilities of IoT and what it’ll enable New Zealanders to do, and we’re now close to having a market-ready service that’ll help bring those possibilities to life.”
A second approach
But Stribling also acknowledged the need for a second approach, especially when it comes to long-range, low-power wireless – in other words, LoRa connectivity.
“Already as we talk with customers we can see different uses for different IoT networks emerging,” he said, “so it makes sense to provide multiple networks to answer the multiple needs of New Zealand organisations.
“With our leading networks, Spark’s management platforms, and the big data analytics expertise of Qrious making sense of all the information that IoT will deliver to customers, Spark is in a strong position to provide the broadest set of IoT solutions to its customers.”