Wellington will receive a new wireless network for the Internet of Things within the next three months, backed by internet guru Vikram Kumar.
In leading his startup firm KotahiNet, Kumar says the company is rolling out a purpose-built wireless network for connecting sensors and other smart objects to the internet nationally, with an initial launch in Wellington.
“Given Wellington’s goal of being a ‘smart city’, it’s a logical choice for launching our network,” Kumar says.
“KotahiNet’s wireless network will offer cheap, ubiquitous and secure connectivity with carrier-grade reliability and scalability.”
Kumar says the wireless network is based on a globally leading open specifications model called LoRaWAN - specifically designed for the low data rates that are typical of the Internet of Things.
The network allows battery operated sensors a battery life of 5-10 years with connectivity provided via gateways.
According to Kumar, each gateway can handle up to 20,000 sensors over a radius of 2.5-3 km in dense urban areas and 10-15 km in rural areas.
“The low power, long range segment of the wireless market is expected to grow rapidly,” he explains.
“We are building for connecting millions of ‘smart things’ nationally. I see it as complementary to existing connectivity choices such as wifi and cellular.
“By choosing to operate in the 864 to 868 MHz band, KotahiNet is using unlicensed radio spectrum.
“As this frequency is also the EU standard for the Internet of Things, New Zealanders will be able to access hardware at global scale and prices.”
Kumar says KotahiNet has successfully tested the network in Wellington and is offering six months of free connectivity as an introductory offer.
“We want to help grow the Internet of Things ecosystem in New Zealand,” he adds.
“KotahiNet’s own focus will be on business and civic services such as smart agriculture, environmental monitoring, smart cities, logistics, infrastructure, retail, and smart products.”
An additional opportunity of immediate interest to Kiwis building smart services and apps is location tracking, according to Kumar.
“Whether that’s pets, bicycles or business assets, KotahiNet will provide a cheap and easy way to get real-time location data,” he adds.
“Currently, location based services are either constrained by smartphone range or high cellular costs.”