Kennards Hire, one of Australia’s largest equipment hire companies, is partnering with Adelaide-based IoT space startup Fleet Space Technologies to track the location and performance of its gear anywhere at any time.
Kennards offers a broad range of equipment for DIY projects through to large construction sites from more than 180 branches across Australia and New Zealand.
The partnership will allow Kennards to instantly track its equipment through Fleet’s fully integrated IoT gateway, The Portal. It will be one of the first customers connected to Fleet’s constellation of Centauri nanosatellites.
Fleet launched the first four of its small satellites in 2018 on SpaceX, Rocket Lab and ISRO and has a tracking station an hour outside Adelaide. It is preparing to launch an additional 10 satellites this year to meet demand.
Kennards plans to deploy Fleet’s innovative IoT solutions to its equipment range across its specialist branches and customer sites. Telemetry data from rental equipment will be transmitted via Fleet’s satellite-enabled long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN), allowing movements to be tracked anywhere at any time.
Kennards’ General Manager of Strategic Projects Craig Kesby says the partnership will allow the company to provide new services for customers, such as real-time reporting of safety and environmental metrics.
He says Kennards Hire has struggled with the issue of Australia’s fragmented connectivity for a long time, particularly when tracking customers in the country’s most remote regions.
Kennards has more than 100,000 pieces of hire equipment in Australia and 10,000 in New Zealand. Some devices are already connected to the Fleet Portal to test coverage and performance. Over the coming months, it plans to deploy more trial devices at various locations.
Kesby says the location and operational data collected by Fleet will enable Kennards to undertake preventive equipment maintenance, reducing the impact of down time on customer sites across its network.
He says one key benefit of the Fleet system is the economics of its coverage/cost.
“This will make further equipment business cases possible on lower value items that might previously have not made an investment hurdle,” he says. “Fleet’s connectivity is an unparalleled solution, the cost point it offers allow us to connect more assets and provide more applications to customers increasing our value in the market.”
“There is potential for Fleet Space Technologies to open up connectivity for a much broader range of equipment beyond just the high value items. Now, there are options for localised, low-cost connectivity solutions and off cellular coverage out of traditional networks.”
Fleet’s co-founder and CEO Flavia Tata Nardini says Kennards Hire is in a unique position to pivot its commercial models and offerings to make life easier for their customers.
“At Fleet, our mission is to unleash the endless possibilities of industrial IoT for businesses across the world, from space. Our partnership with Kennards Hire is an enormous leap forward to demonstrate the tangible business outcomes our technology is providing for industries on the cusp of disruption from equipment hiring, transport and logistics, agriculture and beyond.”
Fleet’s Project Galaxy offer to connect one million devices for US$2 per year was booked out within 24 hours, with almost 40 per cent of reservations coming from the USA.
South Australia has been a major player in the nation’s space industry and is home to major defence companies and several emerging space startups, including Fleet, Myriota and Southern Launch, which is establishing a launch facility in the state’s north.
In addition, Adelaide was announced as the home of the new Australian Space Agency in December.