Net­works en­able a ‘new age’ of tech’


Re­mote areas can now be mon­i­tored in real-time, as data can be sent 30 kilo­me­tres on a dif­fer­ent kind of net­work.

Vikram Ku­mar, the Welling­ton-based founder of Ko­tahiNet, says the net­works bring about a new tech­no­log­i­cal age – the ‘‘In­ter­net of Things’’.

The In­ter­net of Things is the con­cept any de­vice be­ing able to con­nect to the in­ter­net and feed in­for­ma­tion into a data­base.

‘‘The In­ter­net of Things is about data, con­text and in­sights from the phys­i­cal world,’’ Ku­mar said.

Sen­sors con­nected to the lon­grange net­work can mea­sure wa­ter qual­ity, soil mois­ture lev­els from afar.

‘‘This is like the early days of the in­ter­net, when dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion was first avail­able to peo­ple. We were all ex­cited about be­ing able to email peo­ple across the world.

‘‘It took time for peo­ple to work out, what can we do with this tech­nol­ogy and what are the ben­e­fits for us.’’

The tech­nol­ogy could en­able in­sights in the forestry and agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries, as well as lo­gis­tics and se­cu­rity.

Cur­rent ap­pli­ca­tions in­clude equip­ment lo­ca­tion mon­i­tor­ing, waste bin fill mon­i­tor­ing, frost warn­ings, and spray plan­ning of Olive groves.

Ku­mar has been con­tracted to in­stall five sen­sors along the Waikato River. The in­ten­tion is to mon­i­tor the con­di­tion of the wa­ter as it flows through the Te Arawa River Iwi rohe area.

‘‘There is this high-qual­ity pe­ri­odic data be­ing pro­duced, but it only hap­pens once a month and in a few places,’’ Ku­mar said.

‘‘What we’re try­ing to do is sup­ple­ment what the gov­ern­ment does al­ready.’’

The data is sent on a LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Net­work).

‘‘We can get a sen­sor or de­vice that runs on a stan­dard AA bat­tery, com­mu­ni­cat­ing over 30 kilo­me­tres, with a 5-year-bat­tery life,’’ Ku­mar said.

‘‘Every 30 min­utes, or every hour, it wakes up takes a read­ing, sends it, then falls asleep.’’

The tech­nol­ogy could in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, Ku­mar said.

‘‘You’ve got these pad­docks far away in the mid­dle of nowhere, and you can now put in a sen­sor there and gather data for five years.’’

* Vikram Ku­mar will speak at the Waikato TechWeek, which runs May 19 to 27. Visit

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