Spark New Zealand is heading out onto the farm, extending its long-range Internet of Things network beyond urban centres after signing agri-tech business Levno as the network’s first customer.
The new network, due to launch later this month, was scheduled to cover New Zealand’s top 20 urban centres, but has now been extended to cover Levno’s customers across Manawatu, Canterbury and Waikato.
Levno provides remote monitoring and data analysis for fuel tanks and milk vats on farms. Founded in 2012, the company was a Rising Star Wellington region winner in the Deloitte Fast 50 last year.
The company plans to use the network for its fuel tank monitoring service initially, enabling it to reduce operating costs. The fuel tank service automatically updates farmers of fuel tank levels and notifies the fuel distributor when deliveries are needed. As well as managing fuel allocation and stock reconciliation, the monitors are used to stop fuel theft.
Levno has been using cellular networks for the service.
Ray Connor, Levno CEO (pictured above left with farmer James Griffin), said LoRaWAN will lower the infrastructure cost for the company.
“This is great for our business, but also for our customers because it means we can focus more resource on the stuff that directly impacts them - like building great user experience through our dashboard,” Connor said.
He said he expects the network to also extend battery life to up to 10 years, rather than the current five, with the new network also able to reach a wider area enabling Levno to extend its service to new areas.
Michael Stribling, Spark general manager of IoT solutions, said Kiwi organisations have been keen to talk to Spark about IoT since the telco announced plans to build the two networks last year.
“We know that for many, this is the technology they need to take their business to the next level - whether it’s by keeping better track of their resources, moving off cellular technology to lower their infrastructure costs or testing the new IoT product they’ve been developing,” Stribling said.