Connected cows are 'udderly' amazing

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NTT DoCoMo unveiled at the Mobile World Congress a machine-to-machine, or perhaps mammal-to-machine, product that uses a thermal sensor attached to a pregnant cow to monitor whether the cow is about to give birth in order to reduce calf mortality.

The DoCoMo product has reduced the rate of calf deaths from 10 percent to below 1 percent, according to Pauline Trotter, principal analyst at Ovum.

DoCoMo joins Deutsche Telekom, which has offered a cow M2M product for a number of years. Deutsche Telekom has partnered with MEDRIA Technologies to offer an M2M platform that enables farmers to track their cattle herds and receive texts when a cow is in heat or about to give birth.

"All of the cattle's vital data recorded is relayed to the GSM data collector that transmits it to the MEDRIA servers via a wireless device with a built-in SIM card. The stock farmer can access the evaluated data at any time via a Web portal. All that he needs is an Internet-enabled device such as a PC, a laptop, a tablet PC or a smartphone," Deutsche Telekom explains.

Ovum's Trotter observes: "The significance of these projects is that they suggest that sensors of all kinds are getting cheap enough to be offered in mass-market products. Furthermore, the combination of sensors with analytics and more usable front ends mean that the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming a reality."

"Operators and the major system integrators continue to enthuse about the size of the IoT market, but neither really understands what it has to do with the Internet. They seem to think that the Internet just provides the transport for application fortresses that they will still own and control. These sensors, and the platforms they interact with, will be the basis of the next OTT [over-the-top] player to take yet another opportunity from under the noses of the established players."

For more:
- check out Business World's report on the DoCoMo announcement
- see DT's fact sheet
- read Trotter's analysis

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