Brighter future for streets of Montevideo thanks to Sydney's NNNco

Brighter future for streets of Montevideo thanks to Sydney's NNNco

A Sydney-based climate-tech company is set to reduce streetlight carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 80 per cent in the capital city of Uruguay.

National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo) and technology partner Wellness TechGroup will provide Internet of Things (IoT) network coverage to 70,000 smart streetlights in Montevideo.

Real-time intelligence, obtained from the network of 70,000 streetlights, will turn the luminaries into data-enabled lighting servers servicing 1.3 million residents in the city.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions by 31,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the project hopes to further improve community and road safety by integrating with other smart applications like waste management and water conservation.

“This is a great example of Australian technology driving global sustainable development goals,” NNNCo co-founder and CEO Rob Zagarella said.   

Zagarella’s background is in electrical engineering. He has spent the past 25 years working with emerging technologies for development start-ups and large corporations in Australia, Asia Pacific and Silicon Valley.

Roughly seven years ago, Zagarella spotted the emergence of new technology LoRaWAN, which connects small packets of data from sensors with ultra-low power through long-range, wide-area communication technology, specifically designed from the ground up for the internet of things (IoT).

Zagarella approached co-founder David Spence with the opportunity in 2015, having previously worked together during the mid-2000s.

Spence is a seasoned veteran of the internet/communications industry and launched Australia’s first search engine ANZWERS in early 1997 and was first to market in Australia with consumer broadband satellite services in 2001 under the name of Access1.

NNNco currently manages LoRaWAN networks across every capital city in Australia, and the company is working with major infrastructure partners to grow its coverage nationally.

The deal with the city of Montevideo came about through the company’s link to Enzen, a global knowledge practice based in the UK that provides consulting, technologies, governments, non-governmental organisations and not-for-profits.

Enzen joined NNNco as a strategic investor partner during a recent funding round.

“Here in Australia, we've established quite a bit of network that's growing really fast across cities and utilities around Australia, but we're now starting to get more involved in international deals,” Zagarella told Business News Australia.

“There are others to be announced soon.

“But now, as we're starting to get more involved with opportunities such as this one in Montevideo, we'll be looking to leverage that as a base for other international opportunities.”

NNNco is well placed to take advantage of any government initiatives or funding as Australia is the company’s primary market - where it has its most significant presence and brand recognition.

Zagarella believes the Australian government is finally starting to turn its focus to sustainable outcomes by developing programmes through state and federal based government initiatives.

“I think the government is really starting to see the importance of technologies, which they can benefit from, and will improve sustainability," Zagarella says.

“I think more needs to happen, of course, but it seems to be heading in the right direction.”

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