Experts at St Andrews University in Scotland have begun using IoT in a bid to learn why seal populations are in decline.
The Sea Mammal Research Unit, which is based at the university, was asked by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage to investigate the decline of the seal.
There are two seal species in the UK, and Harbour seals are most at risk. It’s believed that they’ve declined by 90 percent in areas around the north and east coast of Scotland.
The study will see scientists add telemetric tags to a number of seals, which will provide information on their whereabouts, behaviour and the ocean. This data will be fed back to the unit via Vodafone’s M2M network.
These tags – which work in much the same way as smartphones – won’t pose any danger to the seals, as they’re being attached to the fur on the back of their heads and will fall off when they moult. They can survive up to 200 metres beneath the ocean surface.
The researchers will able to analyse data as it’s collected and also explore the impact humans are having on the environment. This information will help the government when it comes to setting out appropriate policies.
Dr Bernie McConnell, deputy director of the SMRU, said: “Over the last 15 years, many of the harbour seal populations in the Northern Isles and on the north and east coasts of Scotland have been declining.
“Marine data collected during this project on Orkney will help to assess the causes, management and mitigation options in relation to the harbour seals decline and to prioritise future research directions.”
IoT in agriculture
Nick Finch, technical director at data analytics firm Concentra, says he is amazed at the things IoT can do when it comes to animals.
He told Internet of Business: “Everyone in IT is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). It has the potential to help organisations react quickly – even in real time – to events or factors that might impact businesses.
“But who would have thought that the IoT could impact anything, including the artificial insemination of cows?
“The ‘Connected Cow’ is a project where Microsoft, in partnership with Fujitsu, used activity trackers on cows to determine when female cows go into estrus and are ready to mate.
“The data generated by the ‘fitbits for cows’ was analysed to determine when a cow was ready for artificial insemination, with an impressive 95 percent accuracy rate. The project improved calf production by up to 31 percent, with an average of 12 percent across selected farms.”