Digitisation of agriculture
The Internet of Animals: Today’s Sheep Radio with 0G
- Sigfox 0G tracking helps Austrian farmers find grazing animals
- Innovative technology makes alpine farming fit for the future
- 0G radio network offers long range and very long operating time
Long since standard in modern logistics, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now also moving into alpine pastures. Locating and controlling animals, planning and maintaining pastures – the management of an alpine pasture takes a lot of time. So much time, in fact, that in 2019 the Raumberg-Gumpenstein Federal Agricultural Research Station (HBLFA) launched the two-year practical project “Pasture GPS” for more efficiency in pasture management. For the series of tests, which has now ended, 85 Austrian alpine pastures were equipped with GPS trackers from the vehicle industry, which run via the classic GSM mobile phone network. On the alpine pastures that had no network coverage for this, the grazing animals radioed with the trackers from Digitanimal via the Sigfox 0G radio network from Heliot Europe, which is operated under the name Sigfox Austria. After two years, project manager Reinhard Huber draws a positive balance about the series of trials: “At first we were worried whether our farmers would even want to be part of the project, but in the end we had such a great demand – it was a complete success!”
Animal tracking via 0G radio network enables the Internet of Animals
One of the most important tasks on the alpine pasture is animal control, but searching for animals on the open pastures in the mountains often takes several hours or even days. With the use of the Digitanimal trackers, finding them is made easier and this saves valuable time. The tracker automatically connects to the 0G network via radio at fixed time intervals and makes the position of the animals visible. Every 30 minutes, the farmers are sent a notification of their whereabouts via an app on their smartphone – saving them a good two-thirds of their working time. Reinhard Huber is enthusiastic about the results: “The farmers looked after their animals much more often because they now knew where they were at all times. We believe that the technology can significantly improve alpine farming in the future.”
Beyond the mere determination of position, the trackers can also help optimise pasture planning. Based on the data, farmers can determine the movement patterns on the individual areas and thus specifically prevent bush encroachment on the pastures. In addition, the Sigfox 0G network is also suitable for a number of other applications: For example, for measuring water levels or monitoring temperature and humidity.
Sigfox trackers last the entire grazing season from May to September without requiring maintenance.
The Sigfox devices work via short-wave radio frequencies and can transmit their information over very long distances (up to 250km with visual contact). Depending on the setting, the trackers send a signal with a maximum of 12 bytes (e.g. a GPS position or a temperature value) to the 0G network up to 140 times a day. This makes the technology enormously power-saving and extremely low-radiation in operation. With battery runtimes of several years, it is also cost-effective and maintenance-free. For the grazing season, which lasts from the beginning of May to the end of September, 0G devices are therefore perfectly suited.
About Heliot Europe
Heliot Europe is the exclusive operator of the global Sigfox 0G network in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Liechtenstein. This makes Heliot Europe the largest 0G network operator in Europe. The main shareholder in Heliot Europe is Cube Infrastructure Managers, a Luxembourg-based investment company specialising in the management of European infrastructure funds. Heliot Europe is also a founding member of the 0G United Nations Association, the international association of 0G network operators with currently over 55 network operators worldwide.
With its Sigfox 0G technology, Heliot Europe offers a cross-border, seamless as well as user-friendly, cost-effective and energy-efficient network and helps companies to further transform their business model towards digital services in areas such as asset tracking, asset monitoring and supply chain management. The low-frequency radio technology is also a cost-effective alternative to the existing Narrowband Internet of Things (NBIoT). In addition, customers have access to the global Sigfox 0G ecosystem with nearly 1000 sensors and analytics tools to collect and analyse their data.
Press photo Motiv 1 “Internet of Animals”: Alpine farmer with sheep and Sigfox/GPS tracker
Press photo Motiv 2 “Internet of Animals”: Three sheeps with Sigfox/GPS Tracker