Three of New Zealand’s telecommunication providers, Kordia, Spark and Vodafone, recently announced their intentions to develop networks that will cater for a surge in connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2018. With names like LoRa, NB-IoT, LTE and Sigfox these mobile and wireless networks can sound pretty technical and confusing, but if you’re a home broadband user they won’t apply to you. These IoT networks are really designed for commercial use.
The term Internet of Things sounds technical and a bit abstract, but the concept is actually quite simple. It’s about devices connecting to the Internet that can collect and exchange data with us and each other. This includes anything from wearable devices like FitBit, home security sensors, smart fridges that tell you when you’ve run out of milk, and toasters that have your bread toasted at a set time every morning. At home, these smart consumer devices operate on two main technologies – Bluetooth and WiFi.
If the mere mention of Internet of Things and smart devices is making you feel like your home is stuck in the Dark Ages, don’t fret. For the present moment here in New Zealand, the concept of the Internet of Things is mostly limited to industrial and business use, particularly in the agricultural sector. Some farms across the country are trialling smart sensor technologies that can monitor and deliver real time information about their stock and crops to improve their business strategies and decisions on the farm.
Others, like Dunedin-based tech company, Tussock Innovation, have created a flood sensor for storm water drains that can monitor the levels of water and silt build up. Commercial applications like this will run over the networks that Kordia, Spark and Vodafone are developing but for home use, a reliable and fast broadband connection, good WiFi and Bluetooth will keep all your devices connected well into the future.
For those of you eager to equip your homes with smart devices, keep an eye out for a new generation of WiFi capability set to hit the market in the next 12 months. New WiFi routers are being created that contain chip sets to support gigabit speeds, perfect for supporting smart devices over our fibre network.
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