Vodafone seals the deal on first connecting marine mammals to the IOT
In a world first, Vodafone will be harnessing their technology to assist in the conservation of harbour seals.
Working with the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews, Vodafone has embarked upon a three-year Government-backed initiative that will research the sudden decrease in harbour seal populations near Orkney in Scotland.
Combining the next generation of marine telemetry tags with Vodafone’s latest ‘machine to machine’ (M2M) technology; it enables the devices to act very much like a smartphone, wirelessly delivering results to the SMRU directly. These small and lightweight devices present no burden to the seal and are simply stuck harmlessly to the fur of the seal where it will stay until the animal next sheds its fur.
Vodafone’s M2M dedicated network significantly improves data gathering on a seals’ location, dive behaviour and its oceanic environment since it works across multiple mobile technologies. Among other benefits, it allows marine scientists to control directly the active state of every SIM card in each marine tag from a single PC. The data collected and analysed by SMRU is vital in being able to provide advice to Scottish Ministers across a range of key marine policy areas. These include the impact of marine renewables such as offshore wind and wave turbines, unexplained seal deaths and interactions with salmon fisheries.
Professor John Baxter, Principal Adviser, Marine, Scottish Natural Heritage said: “This exciting, collaborative study is vital to help us to better understand the drivers of population change in Scottish harbour seals, and to evaluate the potential conservation and management options open to us.”
Vodafone UK’s Corporate and External Affairs Director Helen Lamprell added: “The first mobile call was made on our network more than thirty years ago. We will now be the first company to help transmit valuable information from seals. This project is proof that collaborations between government, science and the private sector can work to improve better informed policy decisions on the environment. We are delighted to be able to provide Bernie and his team with access to our technology and consultancy.”