Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo
Discovery Ag logo

Projects like this clearly demonstrate how industrial IoT has now moved into a stage of widespread deployment to solve real problems and deliver concrete benefits. Agriculture is quick to adopt new technology when the business case is right. This network will be a game changer for farmers in Australia’s Connected Country, thanks to its dramatic reduction in the TCO of an IoT solution. We’re very pleased to be able to support NNNCo and Discovery Ag in the speedy and cost-effective roll-out of the technology bedrock of the Connected Country.

Actility, the global leader in LPWA IoT Networks, is pleased to announce that its ThingPark platform is powering the rollout of the Connected Country Network in Australia. The Connected Country network is the result of a new joint venture between Delta Agribuiness subsidary Discovery Ag and long-standing Actility partner the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), and was launched last week at Australian Farm Institute’s Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture conference in Melbourne.

For agriculture, Connected Country will provide the backbone infrastructure for networks of low-cost wireless sensors that constantly report on essential farm metrics like soil moisture, rainfall, crop health, water levels and livestock data. The sensors use limited power and can operate ‘in the field’ for years without the need for intervention. The network will be immediately rolled out across 400,000ha (1m. acres) in the NSW Central West  area. Within 18 months the joint venture partners intend to provide Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity across vast areas of the nation’s farming regions.

Rob Zagarella, Founder & CEO

The Rural IoT network, delivered by the NNN and powered by Actility’s ThingPark platform, will solve the connectivity and affordability problems for farmers. Together with Discovery Ag we will be providing a low-cost end-to end standards based solution comprising on-farm networks, network-ready sensors, and access to simple on-farm tools that farmers can use to monitor information and take timely action.

Rob Zagarella, Founder & CEO

NNNCo

Alicia Garden, CEO,

While hi-tech farming techniques are in use today, 80% of Australia’s farming footprint lacks adequate network coverage. For those that do have coverage, existing 3/4G cellular technologies make it too expensive for most farmers to network their sensors and create a truly connected ‘smart farm’.This private infrastructure project is initially about building the enabling technology to make the IoT viable for Australian agriculture,” adds Gardeen As the network builds out, though, it will by default cover many other businesses and urban areas, so anyone who wants to develop a sensor network but who has been prohibited by the cost of data transfer will be able to join the Connected Country system and achieve their goals. This project is the first of its kind in terms of the size of the area we’re aiming to cover and will attract significant global interest. No-one has been willing or able to deliver such a solution on this scale before and we see it as a major step in helping ensure regional communities are ‘connected’ and able to improve the way they do business.​

Alicia Garden, CEO,

Discovery AG

NNNCo and Actility ready to begin rollout of Australia’s first nationwide industrial IoT network

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

NNNCo and Actility ready to begin rollout of Australia’s first nationwide industrial IoT network

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, and the National Narrowband Network Co, Australia’s leading LORaWAN network operator, today signed a contract to partner in deploying a national LORaWAN network to catalyse the growth of industrial IoT across Australia. The agreement marks the successful completion of a testing and proof of concept phase, which has demonstrated that NNNCo and Actility can deliver together the key functionality required by customers, including NNNCo’s innovative granular multicast technology, which is today unique in the LPWA domain.

“This agreement is a key step in NNNCo’s commercial network development as we move from a testing phase to commercial roll out of the national narrowband network (NNN). This will occur project-by-project across Australia, in partnership with Actility as NNNCo’s network server provider, “ explains NNNCo Founder and CEO Rob Zagarella. “The big use cases in Australia are water, agriculture, energy monitoring and control, soil moisture, rainfall detection, cattle tracking, building management and people movement. Given Australia’s size and climate, we’ve also had to design in various architectures and gateway solutions to handle many different types of topographies and densities, from built-up urban centres to rural landscapes,” he adds.

“We’re delighted that NNNCo has chosen Actility to support this large-scale network that will enable a wide range of applications across Australia,” says Actility Founder and CTO Olivier Hersent. “Our extensive experience of carrier-grade network solutions, gained through powering almost half the national LPWA networks around the world, will help us support NNNCo through the unique challenges of what is, after all, a continental roll-out as well as a national one. But we have also been very impressed by the innovation we’ve seen from NNNCo in the course of our pilot programme together, and we believe that will be a powerful contribution to the worldwide LoRaWAN ecosystem.”

NNNCo is Australia’s LoRaWAN network operator, dedicated to building and operating a National Narrowband Network for IoT as an end-to-end scalable service offering over a shared network. The company is working with some of the world’s leading energy and water utilities, technology providers and innovators to roll out large-scale, carrier-grade network solutions. Over the past 12 months, NNNCO has become established as a world-leading organisation in understanding the scope, and the limits, of LoRaWAN solutions. The company’s approach has been to focus on a number of key verticals that it believes will have the biggest impact, such as energy, water and smart cities, and it has gone in deep on those verticals with end-to-end solutions.

The new contract comes as the joint NNNCo/Actility trial deployment with Ergon Energy reaches a key milestone, ready to evolve towards a full-scale commercial solution. The testing/PoC stage has been geared towards preparing for the deployment of large-scale network roll-outs that can handle the challenges. NNNCo is now in the final stage of the Ergon Energy proof of concept, which includes 50 production-ready DREDS (Demand Response Enabling Devices).

“We know the network works and we’re on the border between proof of concept and commercial deployments,” explains Zagarella. ”We’re preparing ourselves to access Actility’s network server for commercial roll-out. It’s exciting to be working with a global partner like Actility which is providing network servers to other large operators around the world. Throughout our PoCs NNNCo has had a great working relationship with Actility from a development perspective, to ensure we’re prepared for the commercial deployments such as smart cities, utilities, water and agriculture.”

“This contract is a clear demonstration of how the momentum behind LoRaWAN is building quickly in the Asia-Pacific region,” comments Actility’s Peter Hogewoning, Director of Sales for APAC. “With LoRaWAN already well established in Europe, ground-breaking national and large-scale network roll-outs all around the Pacific Basin are going to be a highlight for the LPWA ecosystem in 2017.”

NNNco reaches out to 30km range with LoRa network

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

NNNco reaches out to 30km range with LoRa network

Actility partner pushing the capabilities of LoRa to the max

Actility would like to congratulate our partner NNNCo in quite literally “going the extra mile” with LoRa. 30km range clearly demonstrates the promise of LoRA to cover a huge footprint with a low cost and easy to roll out network. And with their innovative multicast solution on trial in built up areas we’re pleased to be supporting NNNCo in their quest to create new possibilities with LoRa, and great new services for their customers.

Actility partners with Australia’s NNNCo to deliver demand management trial solution for Ergon Energy using world’s first group multicast LoRaWAN™ deployment over Australia’s Narrowband Network

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

Actility partners with Australia’s NNNCo to deliver demand management trial solution for Ergon Energy using world’s first group multicast LoRaWAN™ deployment over Australia’s Narrowband Network

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, and the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), Australia’s LoRaWAN network operator are pleased to announce their partnership to deliver a trial to test a scalable demand management solution for Ergon Energy. 

Following a successful proof of concept, the trial solution being tested in Townsville, Queensland uses NNNCo’s innovative group multicast technology coupled with Actility’s ThingPark IoT platform to control hot water usage at a fine granular level.

“Historically when faced with network constraints energy utilities upgraded their networks. However that increases infrastructure costs and places upward pressure on electricity prices. Our approach is to think outside the square,” explains Ergon Energy’s Sanjeewa Athuraliya, Telecommunications Architect and winner of the company’s 2015 Innovation Challenge. “With the trial of this IoT solution,” he adds, “the company gets the capability to control the load using accurate and timely information at a granular level. For example, it may change the time that a household’s hot water is heated up so that it occurs when network load is low. This could allow Ergon Energy to run its network more effectively, increase the longevity of the network, and save customers money over the long-term.“

“The successful implementation of end-to-end Multicast functionality results in a truly cost effective, robust and scalable two-way network service that can support remote over-the-air configuration and software upgrades in addition to group control of endpoint devices.” says NNNCo Founder & CEO Rob Zagarella. “This opens up additional use cases that require non real-time monitoring and control capability such as public lighting, agricultural irrigation, water, Infrastructure and building automation. Demonstrating this capability in one of the most challenging environments puts us in pole position for growth across these segments both in Australia and globally via partnerships with the other LoRa Alliance™ member operators around the world.”

Ergon Energy has one of the lowest customer densities of any utility company, resulting in very long distribution lines, making load variation and management a key issue for the company. The company’s trial solution, developed with NNNCo and Actility, will enable it to connect beyond substations to individual household power consumers such as hot water. Later this month, the company is beginning a 6-month trial with a small number of households in Townsville, Queensland, where sensors are being installed on hot water circuits. The LPWA IoT solution will give Ergon Energy granular control to switch individual loads on and off so that they can be reduced where needed and in times of peak power demand without impacting customers.

“NNNCo is working in close partnership with Actility to leverage their Network Server and IoT Platform which has been successfully deployed by operators around the world,” adds NNNCo’s Rob Zagarella. “This is enabling NNNCo to provide a carrier-grade nationwide service to our enterprise customers. Actility’s global footprint, experience and leadership position within the LoRa Alliance coupled with local support has positioned us well for growth in the Australian market.”

“We’re proud to be working with NNNCo and Ergon Energy to deliver this world-leading trial which tests the use of the IoT to improve energy efficiency,” says Actility CTO and Founder Olivier Hersent. “We founded Actility because we were convinced that IoT technology could improve efficiency and make our economy more sustainable. Equally, NNNCo’s implementation of end-to-end multi-cast technology will also enable many new uses cases for LPWA networks, and demonstrates the power of open standards and a large ecosystem to drive innovation.”

Actility and NNNCo are both members of the LoRa Alliance™, a non-profit organization and one of the largest and fastest growing alliances in the technology sector. Its members are closely collaborating and sharing their experience to promote the LoRaWAN™ protocol as the leading open global standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT LPWA connectivity.