MWC delivers 'internet of cows'

At telecom congress, "connected cow" projects gain spotlight, indicating that biometric sensors are becoming cheap enough for mass market.

At this week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, at least two global telecommunications firms announced "connected cow projects," according to Pauline Trotter, a principal analyst at Ovum, a business and technology analysis firm.

"MWC has been awash with connected pet and connected child solutions, and NTT DoCoMo (based in Japan) and Deutsche Telekom (based in Germany) have now announced connected cow projects. As amusing as it might sound, there is a serious side to their work. Both projects involve using sensors connected to a cellular gateway to monitor pregnant cows and ensure the safe delivery of calves," Trotter said.

"In NTT DoCoMo's case, the service is deployed to 30,000 cows and alerts farmers to changes in the temperature of the pregnant cows, which signal that delivery is about to begin. The solution has reduced the rate of calf deaths from 10% to less than 1%," she explained.

"The significance of these projects is that they suggest that sensors of all kinds are getting cheap enough to be offered in mass-market products. Furthermore, the combination of sensors with analytics and more usable front-ends mean that the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) is rapidly becoming a reality. ... These sensors, and the platforms they interact with, will be the basis of the next (over-the-top content) player to take yet another opportunity from under the noses of the established players," Trotter said.

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