Vodafone deploys NB-IoT and LTE-M across New Zealand

Vodafone New Zealand has simultaneously launched two new IoT* technologies, NB-IoT and LTE-M**, which will enable Kiwis to connect into the world’s leading IoT platform for a new, innovative range of IoT applications.  Vodafone is the global leader in managed IoT, with 77 million connections in more than 30 countries.***

Vodafone Technology Director, Tony Baird says, “This is a world-first combined launch of NB-IoT and LTE-M IoT networks at the same time within the Vodafone Group. With over 1.6 million cellular IoT connections, Vodafone New Zealand has already cemented itself as the largest provider of IoT in New Zealand****, and these technologies are expected to drive the next wave of IoT innovation here in New Zealand and overseas.

Baird adds, “When combined with our extensive mobile and fixed networks these new IoT technologies will give Kiwis access to some of the best connectivity experiences in the world.”

Globally, Vodafone IoT technologies are embedded within connected vehicles built by Audi, BMW, Daimler Benz, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, SEAT, VW and Yamaha motorbikes.

Vodafone IoT Country Manager, Scott Pollard says both technologies will enable connectivity for a wide range of devices using licensed spectrum in a secure, scalable and affordable way. 

“NB-IoT delivers signal strength that can penetrate through concrete, underwater, underground and deep into infrastructure. It is set to shape the connected farm of the future with applications like remote monitoring for stock feeding, electric fencing and water tank levels. 

“LTE-M offers strong battery life and fast throughput of data to enable real-time applications like vehicle tracking, asset monitoring and logistics, with future support for voice calls. Kiwi entrepreneurs and developers have been anticipating the arrival of these technologies and are responding with enthusiasm to the launch.  We have some pilot projects already underway.”

In stunning Punakaiki, home of the Pancake Rocks on New Zealand’s West Coast, local volunteer group Predator Free Punakaiki is working to create a native bird sanctuary.  In their quest to eradicate predators, they have turned to an innovative IoT pest control solution, MinkPolice, which already has a track record of success in Europe.

Heiko Kaiser, Manging Director of MinkPolice explains, “Within each trap there is a SIM that connects via Vodafone’s IoT network to the MinkPolice smart-phone application. Volunteers receive a notification whenever a trap is activated which sends them to the exact location of that trap, to clear it, reset it, and trap more pests more often.  Initially, the traps used Vodafone’s global SIM on the 2G IoT network, but we’re about to move to the NB-IoT network, which will enable the volunteers to set traps in more remote areas of the sanctuary knowing they’ll still have reliable connectivity.”

Grant Parrett of Predator Free Punakaiki adds, “The benefits for our volunteers have been fantastic.  Rather than the volunteers committing to walking through arduous terrain to check on traps hoping to find one that’s been triggered - a process that takes up to 4 weeks to cover the trap lines - they can target traps they know have been activated.  Ultimately, we will be using Vodafone’s NB-IoT technology to help save native species, support our hard-working volunteers and work towards achieving a Predator Free Punakaiki and beyond that, a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050.”

Adds Pollard, “MinkPolice is a great example of leveraging global innovation into New Zealand using our network.  The solution already exists in Europe and now our NB-IoT network can put that technology to use to help solve a problem we have here in New Zealand.”

Motiv, an Auckland-based IoT solutions company, has designed customised hardware and a web-based scheduling and control system to manage and monitor the status of electronic school road signs across Auckland. Previously, schools were responsible for manually monitoring the signs, including switching them on and off.  At the same time, Auckland Transport wanted visibility of their fleet condition so that they could explore automated maintenance models that would increase service uptime.

Managing Director of Motiv Solutions, Ben Birch explains, “We’ve created an IoT solution that delivers Auckland Transport real-time performance of their smart school-sign fleet, meaning they are alerted to any road-side collisions with the sign, thefts or vandalism and can keep track of solar performance.  The application has been ported to operate on Vodafone’s LTE-M network and has delivered exceptional performance throughout engineering testing of the first live towers. 

Birch continues, “The LTE-M network offers a powerful combination of low power and high throughput meaning we have total control over how much power we use and how much data we want to collect.  The solution offers peace of mind to schools who can now operate the signs stress-free knowing they have the support of Auckland Transport should the signs become damaged or stop operating properly.”

NB-IoT and LTE-M will be deployed securely on the existing Vodafone 4G network.

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