Vodafone IoT Tech Helps Create Connected Harbour Seals

Vodafone’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology has been deployed to monitor Harbours seals in Scotland’s Orkney islands.

Through the use of marine smartphones connected to Vodafone’s IoT tech, scientists from the Sea Mammal Research Unit, a division University of St Andrews, glues telemetry tags on the fur of ten Harbour seals, one of the to species of seal found in the UK.

The tags allowed the scientists to track the seals’ behaviour and movements before they shed their fur during an annual moult.

Go fish for data

Tagging seals with IoT-based tech may not encapsulate the vision many major technology firms have for the IoT. But the technology has been put to use with Harbour seals to discover reasons for the declining populations of the aquatic mammal in some regions of Scotland.

With the data harvested from the seal-based IoT network, the scientists have been able to identify the feeding areas and habits, and where the seals rest when they return to land, which helps with assessing the long-term breeding status of the females.

“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,” said the Sea Mammal Research Unit’s deputy director Dr Bernie McConnell.

“Marine data collected during this project on Orkney is helping to assess the causes, and possible mitigation options, in relation to the harbour seal decline. This is just the start and we will be analysing the data further before presenting the findings to Scottish Government.”

While marine based IoT networks may seem a little unusual as a deployment of the an area of technology usually thought of as a means for industrial companies to improve their operations, the IoT is quite at home on the water, as seen with the Land Rover BAR sailing team and its partnership with Dell EMC.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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