Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends.
The 5GRuralFirst consortium is bringing 5G to life with the launch of a Connected Cow app, called Me+Moo, that lets people monitor the behaviour of cows from their smartphones. For bovine and tech enthusiasts alike, the app is designed to show how 5G technology can benefit the agricultural sector.
At the 5G RuralFirst testbed in Somerset, more than 100 cows have been outfitted with Internet of Things (IoT) collars and leg sensors that gather data for monitoring the health of the animals, such as metrics on their feeding, sleeping, milking and resting patterns. For the first time, this data is being made available to the public, as well as the farmers, thanks to the Me+Moo app.
Folks can opt to connect with a cow or with the entire herd and keep track of them via a “moonitor” dashboard on the app. Along with the animal behavioural data, the app also provides daily vlogs from the farmers about the farm and the technology as well as information about the RuralFirst project.
- Download the Me+Moo App here: App Store
Sowing the Seeds for 5G Farming
RuralFirst notes that UK farmers produce more than 60% of the food consumed in the country and that the agriculture sector employs about 500,000 people. The project aims to demonstrate how 5G connectivity can make this vital sector more efficient and productive.
In addition to connected cows, the project is also applying similar technology to salmon farming to monitor water characteristics -- including pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature – which can help to protect fish stocks.
Agriculture is just one of the use cases that the 5G RuralFirst testbed is working on. Led by Cisco, the consortium includes the University of Strathclyde, 5G Innovation Centre, Agri-Epi Centre and the BBC. There are three testbeds located in Shropshire, Somerset and the Orkney Islands, each working on a variety of use cases from rural broadband connectivity to broadcasting, as well as agricultural applications.
The consortium recently announced plans for a broadband trial on the Orkney Islands that will be deployed in 700MHz spectrum and expected to deliver 70Mbps broadband services to unserved rural areas on the islands.
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