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TasmaNet and Thinxtra partner to make Tasmania 'IoT-ready'

TasmaNet and Thinxtra announced that they will together build a dedicated IoT network that will cover 95 percent of Tasmania to support local businesses looking to embrace IoT.

Cloud services provider TasmaNet has announced that it has partnered with Internet of Things (IoT) startup Thinxtra to make the island-state of Tasmania "IoT-ready".

The companies are building a dedicated IoT network that will cover 95 percent of the population by the end of the year, including all major cities such as Burnie, Devonport, Hobart, Launceston, and Ulverstone.

The deployment is part of a wireless network dedicated to IoT that Sydney-based Thinxtra is rolling out across Australia and New Zealand using Sigfox technology.

Up to 55 communications towers will be rolled out across Tasmania by the third quarter of this year, with TasmaNet looking to provide access to its towers, its network for backhaul, and its engineers for ongoing maintenance and support of the sensory network.

The network is expected to enable the use of devices such as smart meters, temperature probes for aquaculture, GPS trackers for agriculture assets, and development kits with free connectivity for most schools in the state.

According to TasmaNet, the rollout will "empower" businesses in Tasmania as most IoT use cases require wireless sensors to send small messages such as meter index readings, GPS position, temperature, movement, vibration level, and battery life status.

Additionally, it will address the problems of steep pricing, high energy consumption, and complexity of deployment and maintenance faced by businesses deploying IoT devices over traditional networks, TasmaNet said.

"We approached Thinxtra as many of our customers in the aquaculture, farming, and education spaces want to deliver solutions via sensory networks, but the lack of a suitable network has been holding back their projects," TasmaNet managing director Joel Harris said in a statement.

Harris added that information from IoT devices around Tasmania will turn up in the company's Hobart datacentre, ready for use by customers.

"I cannot understate how big this is for Tasmania -- it's going to be huge," Harris said.

Thinxtra network development director Sam Sharief believes the deployment will make Tasmania the first Australian state to become "fully IoT-ready".

The startup will also be supporting TasmaNet for additional coverage in regional projects throughout the state.

IoT has been climbing its way up the national agenda in the last 12 months. Earlier this week, Cisco and KPMG announced that they have formed an alliance to deliver smart city initiatives in Australia.

Cisco said it will integrate its technology with KPMG's IoT capabilities to provide an end-to-end open framework including the provision of advisory, technology, platform, support, and operations services.

The focal points of the "smart city alliance" will be developing tools for such services as smart city architecture; cybersecurity; data and analytics; change management; master service integration; design thinking; solution design and implementation; optimisation and operational services; and financial and business case modelling.

Cisco has also worked on transforming Adelaide into a smart city, after signing a memorandum of understanding for an IoT innovation hub designed to leverage the city's free Wi-Fi network as a test bed for new applications and projects back in 2015.

Telstra also announced earlier this week that it will trial and deploy a series of smart city IoT applications throughout a beachside park in Perth, Western Australia, under a partnership with the city of Joondalup.

The solutions will include environmental sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, pollution, light, and noise levels in real time; 32 smart bins fitted with sensors to notify the local council of when they need to be emptied; and a smart car park connected to Telstra's mobile network, allowing the council to see how many parking spaces are remaining and redirect traffic accordingly.

While some studies demonstrate an increase in enterprise uptake of IoT -- by 2019, 77 percent of businesses in Australia will have embraced IoT in some form, according to Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company -- others indicate that IoT projects are not progressing well.

A recent study by Cisco, for example, found that nearly three-quarters of IoT projects are considered a failure. The study claims 60 percent of IoT projects stall at the proof-of-concept stage and only 26 percent of companies have had a project they considered a success. Additionally, the study found that a third of all completed projects were not thought of as successful.

According to Cisco, organisations with the most successful IoT project took advantage of ecosystem partnerships, using partners at every phase from strategic planning to data analytics after deployment.