Tasmania is about to become Australia’s first state to be declared Internet of Things ready.
Joint venture partners TasmaNet and Thinxtra are building a dedicated IoT network that will cover 95 per cent of the population before year’s end.
The network will enable the use of devices such as smart meters, temperature probes for aquaculture, GPS trackers for agriculture assets, complete development kits with free connectivity for most schools and much more.
Thinxtra is deploying a nationwide wireless network dedicated to IoT using Sigfox technology. The joint venture with TasmaNet is committed to rolling out up to 55 communications towers across Tasmania by Q3 2017. Hobart-based TasmaNet is providing access to its towers, its network for backhaul, and engineers for ongoing maintenance and support of the sensory network.
IoT devices work optimally and inexpensively on low bandwidth for short messages such as meter index readings, GPS position, temperature, movement, door open/close, vibration level and battery life status. Most IoT use cases require wireless sensors to send small messages, and many companies deploying connected objects over traditional networks are struggling with issues including steep pricing, high energy consumption and complexity of deployment and maintenance.
TasmaNet Managing Director, Joel Harris, said: “We approached Thinxtra as many of our customers in the aquaculture, farming and education spaces want to deliver solutions via sensory networks, but the lack of a suitable network has been holding back their projects. We invited Thinxtra to work with us to approach these markets, and the results are spectacular.”
Sam Sharief, Network Deployment Director for Thinxtra Pty Ltd, said: “Thanks to TasmaNet, Thinxtra will deploy a Sigfox-based network to cover over 95 per cent of Tasmania’s population, including all major cities, from Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, to Burnie & Ulverstone, making it the first Australian state to become fully IoT-ready. Thinxtra will also support TasmaNet for additional coverage in regional projects throughout the state.”
“Our low cost, low power, long range IoT network is perfect for deploying simple solutions to make cities smarter, agriculture more sustainable and industry more cost efficient. It can also be used for better monitoring of the exceptional Tasmanian environment, and provide solutions to reduce bush fires or control the quality of water in lakes and rivers.”
TasmaNet’s Harris explains that information from countless IoT devices around the island state will turn up in the company’s Hobart data centre, ready for use by customers. “I cannot understate how big this is for Tasmania – it’s going to be huge, it’s going to empower entrepreneurs” he says.
The joint venture technology will facilitate the use of automated power meters. Harris also sees devices working with community support establishments, where care givers can wear devices to pick up information about patients’ whereabouts, wellbeing and distress. And alongside, he foresees TasmaNet putting in free or low cost equipment in schools, so they can do coding and develop their own sensors for whatever purpose they choose.