Established in 2018, this carrier-grade Long Range Wide Area IoT (internet of things) Network (LoRaWAN) spans 650 square kilometres, making Lake Macquarie the first local area government to provide IoT coverage to all residential and commercial areas.
Delivered via a partnership between Dantia, Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC) and leading IoT operator The National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), the network represents a uniquely self-sustaining funding model with a 20-year contract period.
The investment in this infrastructure has created significant opportunities for start-ups, small and large businesses, and has opened pathways for LMCC to build new technology and innovate. It is also a key drawcard for the region, attracting fast-growing innovative tech companies looking to take advantage of the big data pheromone/IoT and lower land and employment costs.
Dantia’s job is to identify infrastructure that will unlock innovation in the city and attract new companies to the region. LMCC also wanted to innovate and operate as a smart city. Delivering a workable IoT network that could serve both corporate and civic uses that did not rely on Federal funding for long term operability was the challenge.
Furthermore, IoT and associated technology is inherently complex, with several network providers positing significantly different views on the relative benefits of the technology on offer.
Undertook extensive research and analysis to understand the size of the IoT market and the potential economic impact.
- Engaged with knowledge experts to identify best practice in IoT technology and understand the barriers to a prolific and extensive rollout of the network.
- Undertook a full due diligence assessment of network providers. We engaged with a range of IoT carriers to understand their relative capability to deliver and support the network requirements. NNNCo were selected based on their ability to deliver and sustain a commercial grade network which did not rely on proprietary devices to deliver benefits. This was critical as many carriers do not provide flexibility for device connections, adequate levels of security or scale required by civic organisations or commercial enterprises.
- Engaged with key commercial and government stakeholders on network deployment and usage requirements to ensure the IoT network would support the levels of coverage required. In this regard Dantia was able to overcome two of the key barriers to wide-scale infrastructure rollout: One, by making real estate for transmission aerials available at no cost at extensive locations throughout the city and two, by facilitating discussions with planning authorities to ensure deployments were undertaken under a complying development regime.
- Managed the project to rapidly deploy infrastructure with reduced costs. We developed a unique contract with NNNCo that separated service delivery costs from infrastructure. This meant that installation could take place immediately and services that were required by individuals, enterprise and government customers could be developed and delivered as and when required. Structuring the contract in this way also reduced the cost of the infrastructure deployment.
- Provided support and liaison for network installation. We worked closely with NNNCo to facilitate installation of physical assets utilising our extensive regional network of contacts.
- Launched the network. We facilitated a public launch for the network, engaging the Hon. Paul Fletcher, former Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities and current Minister for Communications. This launch garnered significant media coverage and consumer interest. The Lake Macquarie IoT network demonstrated that Federal funds were not required to underpin the role out of this new technology and that commercial and startups could be foundational users rather than followers on a civic purpose designed system.
- Continued working with startups, government organisations and commercial enterprises post implementation to support development and delivery of tech solutions that use the network. We designed the contract with NNNCo to allow discounted access for startups, encouraging these innovators to setup a test platform in Lake Macquarie City.