A new commercial wireless network to carry data to and from sensors and other connected objects – the so called Internet of Things – has been launched in Wellington today.
Starting with Wellington, the company behind the network, KotahiNet, aims to roll out the purpose-built network around the country. The company uses a global wireless specification called LoRaWAN. This open source technology has been developed by an alliance of leading firms including Semtech, IBM and Cisco.
Investors and advisers to KotahiNet include strategic expert Nick Gerritsen, property developer Ian Cassels, business and community leader Anake Goodall, Maori ICT specialist Antony Royal, network engineer Jon Brewer, people connector Nick Rowney and tech blogger Richard MacManus.
KotahiNet founder Vikram Kumar says the network provides a platform for businesses and government to enable smart services, products and innovation. Examples include weather monitoring to boost olive production and monitoring energy consumption in new clean technology.
“The opportunities and benefits from the Internet of Things are beginning to be better appreciated – the global wave of innovation is coming,” he says.
KotahiNet offers connectivity for devices that run on low power (5-10 years battery life), over a long range (3 km urban, 20 km rural), with carrier grade security (3 layers of encryption), for a low cost. The service is considered complementary to existing connectivity choices such as cellular and Wi-Fi.
“Our point of difference is we provide carrier-grade reliability and service level agreements, so that business and government can build critical smart services across New Zealand knowing that transporting data securely and economically is solved,” says Vikram Kumar.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed the launch of KotahiNet’s network. “It is great to see Wellington’s talent leading in technology application,” she says.
“Our Smart Capital digital strategy work is paying off with environmental, social and business opportunities and global recognition. It is exciting to see more technology being deployed and support for the collaboration that makes it possible.”
WREDA CEO Chris Whelan says the Wellington environment is ideally situated and served to function as a ‘Living Lab’ for future-focused applications such as KotahiNet’s network. “We are compact, creative, collaborative and now even better connected.”
“With Wellington being the launch pad for such products, we have the opportunity to demonstrate and explore the possibilities for a much wider range of potential solutions that can benefit the wider Wellington region and ultimately the whole of New Zealand.”
EcoNode, a remote sensing company specialising in conservation based on the award-winning TrapMinder system, is looking to KotahiNet to help extend its pest control from Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island.
EcoNode director and Glenfern Sanctuary manager Scott Sambell says TrapMinder’s sensors and online monitoring system have been successful for small scale conservation projects, and it’s now considering how it could be practically implemented on a much larger scale.
“Dependable connectivity for a very large number of devices in remote areas is our primary consideration which is why we got in contact with KotahiNet”, he says. “Starting with Zealandia in Wellington, we want to expand across New Zealand and will work with KotahiNet to do so.”
As well the network itself, KotahiNet offers ‘data as a service’ where the customer is also provided with sensors. This means customers need only focus on the software.
Other services KotahiNet is developing include complete smart solutions for the agricultural and health industries.