A rural fuel monitoring solution can thrive, thanks to Spark's IoT Low Power Network.

“LoRaWAN lowers the cost of infrastructure for us. This is great for our business, but also for our customers because it means we can focus more resource on the stuff that directly impacts them— like building great user experiences through our dashboard.”

Ray Connor, CEO of Levno

The Levno system consists of a battery-powered sensor attached to the fuel tank, which immediately reports any change in volume. This information gets sent in real-time, via the cloud, to the customer’s device. When levels get low, the fuel distributor is notified that a delivery is needed.

With these sensors connected to the Spark Low Power IoT network, batteries will last twice as long — ten years, up from the five years they currently run for. The new network is also able to reach a wider area, enabling Levno to extend its service into areas that can’t be reached with cellular technology. 

Spark Digital Services Tribe Lead, Michael Stribling says that when Spark announced plans to build two IoT networks in New Zealand, the huge potential of businesses like Levno soon became evident.

“Organisations across the country reached out to us, keen to be at the forefront of IoT. We know that for many, this is the technology they need to take their business to the next level — whether it’s by keeping track of their resources, moving off cellular technology to lower their infrastructure costs, or testing the new IoT product they've been developing.”

Farmer James Griffin was one of the first customers to use Levno’s fuel tank monitoring service over Spark IoT Low Power network. Griffin manages the 200-hectare Griffin Family farm in Rangitikei. He has two diesel tanks and two petrol tanks which service three tractors, a truck and ten motorbikes. With some fuel tanks as far as 3.5 km from the farm house, Griffin has found it difficult to keep tabs on the valuable resource. As soon as Levno brought out its monitoring service, he got on board. 

 “The potential in the original system for milk monitoring and fuel, I could just see it working on our farm,” Griffin recalls. “The way we have it set up is that when there are any deliveries or removals from the tank, I have emails sent to me — particularly with removals. I have a text set up as well.”

Griffin says the system allowed him to stop fuel theft — something common on large farms. It gave him visibility of when fuel was disappearing, unaccounted for. It also meant that when fuel was removed during the night, he could know straight away and investigate.

It also saves him time: “I don’t have to proactively tell anyone that I need more fuel. We were constantly running out of fuel a few years ago. Now we can adapt to and monitor seasonal use better, and when we do need more, the system sends a message to Allied Petroleum and they come by with a delivery.”

With fuel being monitored so closely, farmers like Griffin have a view on which vehicles are needing fuel more often and which are running the most economically. The ability to reconcile stocks also helps with fuel excise duty claims.

For many farmers, this has meant huge savings — something Levno is looking to deliver to more rural customers as they step up their operations over the new Spark IoT network.