Telstra partners on IoT with water utilities

In an effort to prevent water wastage and bring down customer bills, Telstra announced that it has been trialling its Digital Water Metering solution with water utilities for a year.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has announced partnering with "major water utilities" on its Digital Water Metering Internet of Things (IoT) solution, which it said will prevent water wastage and reduce water consumption by providing insights to better manage usage.

This will reduce operating costs for water utilities and decrease water bills for consumers, Telstra said, with the telco having trialled its water IoT solution with multiple companies for the past year.

"Whether it's leakage prevention with smart water meters or environmental monitoring to keep our oceans clean and estuaries safe from contaminants, water utilities across the country are using IoT technology to better track, monitor, and conserve water," the company said at the Telstra Vantage 2018 conference in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Telstra's narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network now covers more than 3.5 million square kilometres, it said, with its Digital Water Metering solution operating across this to provide battery life of 12 to 15 years.

Telstra had launched its NB-IoT network in January during CES 2018, with current COO and incoming CFO Robyn Denholm at the time saying the NB-IoT network will provide connectivity for IoT devices with smaller packets of data being sent, such as sensors in the mining, agricultural, transport, logistics, manufacturing, and industrial IoT industries.

Telstra's Cat M1 IoT network, launched in August 2017, covers 3 million square kilometres, executive director of Network and Infrastructure Engineering Channa Seneviratne said last month.

"We're using both protocols," Denholm told ZDNet in January.

"The two cover sort of different use cases; the Cat-M1 is more devices that are on the move that need hundreds of kilobits per second, whereas the NB-IoT are very small packets of information."

Across its IoT suite, Telstra in August also unveiled its new set of IoT tracking solutions, with a consumer-focused Telstra Locator product and an enterprise-focused Track and Monitor solution.

The telco said Telstra Locator, which will launch as a subscription-based service for post-paid customers later this year, will help customers find lost valuables.

Three locator tags are launching for this option: A Bluetooth tag for small items like keys and purses; a rechargeable Wi-Fi tag with four to six weeks of battery life using the more than 1 million Telstra Air hotspots for items such as pets, bikes, and bags; and a "premium" LTE tag utilising the telco's Cat M1 IoT network for higher-value assets for small businesses, which will launch early next year.

Customers can then use the Telstra Locator App to find their tagged items, an app which head of Innovation and Strategy for Consumer and Small Business Michele Garra said was developed in-house.

Track and Monitor, meanwhile, will launch in October and allow businesses to trace and manage assets. While Telstra wouldn't be drawn on the pricing, it did say the solution would "enable low-cost, large-volume asset tracking, whether across multiple warehouses or retail sites or while in transit".

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Telstra Vantage 2018 in Melbourne as a guest of Telstra

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