Internet of Things tags will monitor Orkney seals population

Vodafone IoT tags will help St Andrews examine declining population

Seals living on Scotland's Orkney islands are to receive Internet of Things (IoT) tags as researchers try to understand why their population is in decline.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews is to conduct a three-year government-backed study, attaching telemetry tags to the fur at the back of the heads of several Orkney seals.

The lightweight tags will then be cast off when the seals moult, the scientists have said.

The marine tags, which are being supplied by Vodafone, use the mobile operator's latest machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to send vital information from a seal when it surfaces or beaches directly back to SMRU for analysis.

Vodafone's M2M technology has been used in new cars, heart monitors and smart meters, but this is the first time it will be used to monitor the wellbeing of marine mammals.

Harbour seals are one of two seal species that reside in the UK, and their numbers have declined by up to 90 per cent in some areas in and around the north and east coasts of Scotland, including Orkney, since the year 2000, according to SMRU.

"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 SMRU's deputy director Dr Bernie McConnell.

"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."

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."

Vodafone are not alone in connecting wildlife. Microsoft has also been exploring ways to use IoT to monitor and conserve wildlife.

There is also a great deal of pet tracking tags and IoT-related pet devices in the works.

Image: Flickr-CC/Jez Torrance

Featured Resources

The definitive guide to warehouse efficiency

Get your free guide to creating efficiencies in the warehouse

Free download

The total economic impact™ of Datto

Cost savings and business benefits of using Datto Integrated Solutions

Download now

Three-step guide to modern customer experience

Support the critical role CX plays in your business

Free download

Ransomware report

The global state of the channel

Download now

Recommended

Vodafone becomes second UK operator to bring back EU roaming charges
Mobile

Vodafone becomes second UK operator to bring back EU roaming charges

9 Aug 2021
The best 4G network
Mobile

The best 4G network

28 Sep 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

17 Sep 2021
London ranks second to Silicon Valley as world's best startup hub
startups

London ranks second to Silicon Valley as world's best startup hub

22 Sep 2021
What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021