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 techweek.co.nz.