Newcastle begins IoT network deployment

Published: April 26th, 2018

Newcastle City Council has begun the roll-out of sensor gateways across the city as it seeks to build infrastructure that will place Newcastle at the forefront of Australian smart cities.

A carrier-grade long range wide area network (LoRaWAN) will be installed over the next six weeks to provide low cost, low-power connectivity that will support millions of wireless Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data collecting devices.

According to the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), which was chosen to install Newcastle’s network, it will be one of the first large-scale LoRaWAN smart city deployments in Australia. The first of seven sensor gateways have been installed at the city’s National Park.

The council said the network will enable a wide range of smart city applications to improve liveability by:

  • helping motorists find parking spaces
  • better integrating transport services
  • helping council better manage park and recreation facilities
  • signalling when to collect waste
  • and providing businesses valuable insights.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the LoRAWAN gateways to be installed would allow businesses and community groups over a wide area of Newcastle to connect for free and collect valuable data.

“By investing in this infrastructure, we will provide a platform for community groups, education and research providers, industry, businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their own smart applications and ideas,” said Nelmes.

“From collecting information on foot traffic to the state of council-owned sporting ground and enabling community and environmental groups to create their own coal dust sensors, this is a big technological breakthrough for the city. The seven gateways will enable connectivity that would have otherwise been far too costly.”

The roll-out of the LoRaWAN network is part of the Hunter Innovation Project (HIP), a collaboration between council, the University of Newcastle, Newcastle Now and Hunter DiGiT.

The HIP is funded by a $9.8m commitment from the New South Wales government through the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund and an $8m contribution from its partners and investors.

“A smart city needs a carrier-grade network that, as well as supporting community groups, is designed from the beginning for business-case driven IoT solutions that add value to the city and create a sustainable business model,” added Nathaniel Bavinton, smart city coordinator, Newcastle City Council.

“NNNCo has proven its ability to deliver through successful LoRaWAN deployments in Australia and we look forward to a close partnership with [it].”

The project involves the installation of smart technology and wi-Fi throughout the city’s CBD by 2019 and subsequent innovation hub and digital precinct.

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