Spark extends Cat-M1 IoT network across New Zealand
Spark has extended its Cat-M1 Internet of Things (IoT) network to 98 percent of the New Zealand population.
The Cat-M1 network is deployed across 96 percent of Spark’s 4G sites, with the carrier expecting to add more than 2,000 new IoT devices every week.
“On top of being an IoT network and mobile service provider, Spark will also expand its suite of IoT services, a move that will see us work with best-in-class partners to enable startups to enterprises to solve problems,” Spark’s Digital Services head Michael Stribling added.
Spark said its first major Cat-M1 IoT customer is smart metering provider IntelliHub, which previously had to use 2G networks for its services.
“We are using Spark’s new Cat-M1 network to service our current nationwide deployment as we accelerate the installation of 150,000 smart meters to a large portion of [wholesale internet, gas, and electricity provider] Trustpower’s customer base,” IntelliHub CEO Adrian Clark said.
“This is a business-first technology rollout and we are … starting in Tauranga for Trustpower with the help of Spark.”
Clark said IntelliHub will also use the Spark Cat-M1 network to expand into the IoT services of smart gas metering, solar monitoring, and “demand response applications”.
Spark is expecting its Cat-M1 network to provide for use cases across smart city infrastructure, horticulture machinery tracking, video surveillance, biometrics, outpatient monitoring, telematics, and smart wearables.
The carrier had lit up the network in September last year, saying it would run on the 700MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands. At the time, the network provided coverage to parts of Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga, and Wellington, but it was aiming to cover 95 percent of places in New Zealand within six months.
“M1 is a secure, high-quality network, ideal where sensors and devices are transferring data regularly and near real-time access to that data is critical,” Stribling said last year.
“We’re working with customers on a broad range of use cases for M1, driven by its nationwide coverage and high performance. Great examples include vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices, and smart cities applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring.”
Last March, Spark also launched its LoRaWAN IoT network in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Shannon, Blenheim, Nelson, and Dunedin.
The LoRa IoT network consists of gateways and antennas installed atop Spark’s 4G cell sites, with the telco using Actility’s ThingPark Wireless platform, Kerlink’s gateways, and Kordia to build and maintain the network, which it said could be used for smart cities applications.
“Councils will be able to use the smart lighting technology to manage streetlights remotely, applying bespoke dimming profiles, monitoring maintenance, and turning them on or off as needed,” Spark NZ said.
“This will enable them to respond faster to community requests, events, and changes in daylight to keep streets safer for people, save power and reduce carbon emissions.”
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IBM Watson IoT wants to improve field worker safety with wearables, but could it backfire? (TechRepublic)
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The Experimental Honda Business Jet With A Strange Turbofan Design
While most small aircraft are made out of a combination of aluminum and fiberglass, the MH02 was the first ever all-composite jet, meaning that all structural components of the jet were made out of a carbon fiber-epoxy resin material. The carbon fiber wonder was just under 37 feet long and had a wingspan of over 36 feet. Its two aforementioned turbofans pumped out a combined 2,464 pounds of thrust, allowing it to reach speeds of 353 knots (or 406 miles per hour).
Unconventional design notwithstanding, the MH02 never saw the light of day or real production aside from the prototype. Honda never intended the MH02 to take to the sky as a production jet and its sole purpose was to act as a test bed for Honda’s flight-related projects. The MH02 wasn’t going to win many prizes in the looks department, but the data collected during its flight proved to be invaluable to the future HondaJet. It showed that the company responsible for making the Honda Accord was capable of making a feasible passenger jet, further cementing Honda’s reputation as the producer of just about anything that has an engine, turbofan or otherwise.
[Featured image by Morio via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 3.0]
iPhone 15’s Potential Charging Limits May Bring Trouble For Apple
Given that Apple has yet to officially confirm or deny the possibility of its lower-priced iPhones getting slower charging speeds, the IMCO hasn’t discussed a possible regulatory intervention. IMCO’S major bone of contention is the possibility of Apple implementing a feature that would only allow official Apple USB-C accessories to be used with USB-C iPhones — thereby locking out competing products.
At this point, the IMCO seems unaware of Apple’s MFI (Made for iPhone) program, which allows third-party accessory makers to design and manufacture iPhone accessories that conform to Apple’s strict quality standards. Apple claims the MFI certification acts as a quality seal and prevents users from ending up with poor-quality devices that could potentially damage its products. However, Apple’s intentions behind the MFI program aren’t entirely noble, given that the company earns a small commission from the sale of each MFI-certified accessory.
At this point, the IMCO sees these rumored restrictions as an anti-competitive move that completely violates consumer rights. It remains to be seen if the two parties are able to settle these differences before the launch of the iPhone 15 series in September this year.
Hyundai And KIA To Offer Free Steering Wheel Locks To Combat Viral TikTok Thefts
The robberies started as a viral TikTok challenge where thieves, predominantly young boys who choose to be distinguished as the “KIA Boys,” have been hotwiring certain KIA and Hyundai car models using a USB cable. This is because the plagued models lack a crucial component called an ignition immobilizer, responsible for cutting off the fuel supply to the engine in case someone attempts to start the car without the actual key.
Due to the viral TikTok trend, several thieves have joined in to carjack the affected models and spread the word further. Most of these models affected by the flaw use mechanical keys and not smart key fobs.
Incidentally, many insurance companies “temporarily” stopped offering coverage for the affected models owing to their lack of anti-theft features. Despite warnings from several state and city police departments, there is no national tally of the number of robberies since the trend went viral. But in January 2023, Progressive, one of the leading insurance companies, told CNN that these vehicles were 20 times more likely to be stolen. It was one of the companies to limit the sale of new policies for the affected vehicles.
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