The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a term that gets bandied about, but what exactly is it and what does it mean for the average Kiwi?
Spark is building a network across New Zealand that’ll bring IoT connectivity to you at your home or workplace. Sounds a bit abstract right? Well, to help you imagine how it might change your life for the better we’re going to share stories of people and businesses who are already using IoT in the “real world,” with some outstanding results.
To kick things off, we headed to Auckland Harbour to find out how boaties are using the Internet of Things to keep an eye on their vessels.
BoatSecure is a boat monitoring system developed by NZ company IoT Ventures and entrepreneur John McDermott. Sensors on a boat connect to the vessel’s electrical system. These sensors continuously check the boat's battery, bilge pump, geo location, and shore power supply. This information travels over Spark's LoRa (low power, long-range)* network to an app on the boat owner's phone. When something changes in the boat’s activity, the owner is notified straight away.
Cameron Harris from Beacon Marine Electronics was one of the first customers to trial BoatSecure. He’s been testing the system since August, and it’s proven to be pretty handy on several occasions.
"There was an instance recently when a storm hit during the night, and a boat I’ve been monitoring disconnected from shore power. Eventually the battery would have gone flat, but I was able to see that the boat had lost shore power straight away, long before I’d normally find out about it,” he says.
Having this kind of information handy not only gives boat owners peace of mind, but lets them take action faster when something goes wrong. This means they can fix small problems before they become big problems. It also means that when they want to go out on the water, they know for sure that their boat is ready to go – no last-minute fixes to sort when they get to the marina.
BoatSecure has been successfully trialled in Auckland on Spark's trial LoRa network and will be fully available when Spark's commercial LoRa network goes live nationally next year. They’ve opened for pre-orders and also plan on expanding to Australia soon.
* LoRa stands for ‘long range’. It’s a network that sends smaller amounts of information over large distances, and requires little power to do so. This makes it perfect for monitoring things like power, water, fuel, or stock levels.
If you’re interested in finding out more about a Spark IoT service, please visit sparkdigital.co.nz/solutions/iot or get in touch with us here and one of the IoT team will give you a call.