Spark debuts IoT asset tracking with Mainfreight

Spark has named New Zealand’s largest freight and logistics company, Mainfreight, as the first customer for Spark Asset Tracking.

The move has been billed as its first end-to-end IoT service that bring together the company’s IoT networks, IoT devices, digital monitoring dashboards and a support service provided by Spark’s day time help desk.

Spark announced on 18 February that its CAT-M1 network for IoT covered 98 per cent of the population. It also operates a LoRaWAN network with more limited coverage.

Mainfreight’s CIO Kevin Drinkwater said Mainfreight subsidiary Chemcouriers was gathering location information from segregation bins to prevent loss and optimise usage.

"We have over 400 segregation bins that each cost in excess of $4000 that would previously go missing or be misplaced, and on top of that we need to abide by the stringent policies we’ve put in place to ensure our people and the public are safe when we transport hazardous goods," he said.

"Before IoT, locating these assets was very much a manual process with the team undertaking stocktakes around our depots, counting bins and sending reports back to the office. By the time this happened the data was already out of date.

"Now, we see GPS locations of bins mapped to one dashboard and are alerted in real-time when something is where it shouldn’t be or has been stationary for too long."

He added: "Receiving automated alerts means we have improved our logistics planning and our asset network can be rebalanced faster, resulting in more productive asset utilisation and reduced cost as fewer bins are required in circulation."

Spark’s digital services lead, Michael Stribling, said asset tracking was consistently ranked as a top use case for IoT across consumer, business and industrial markets.

"Industry forecasts indicate the number of devices using tracking location will grow by 40 percent in the next two years," Stribling added.

"However mainstream adoption has been slow due to high cost, the complexity of deployment, technology limitations and the small number of technology providers offering scaled IoT solutions.

"Spark’s scale and expertise in the IoT industry and our newly launched nationwide networks means we’ve been able to launch a product that is competitively priced, and we can provide proven guidance to businesses on how to deploy and adopt IoT that fits their needs."

Spark said customers of the service would pay a one-off device fee and a monthly subscription cost per connected device.

"The service is delivered in three monthly subscription packages based on business needs - Essential, Plus or Advanced."

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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