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Govt spaffs £170k to develop the INTERNET OF SHEEP

Forget the networked fridge, it's time for the IPv6 addressable ovine

By Lindsay Dodgson, 11 Dec 2014

Computer boffins at Lancaster University are concerned that the countryside is feeling left out, so they are investigating ways to include nature in the booming world of technology.

Professor Gordon Blair is thinking of ways that the countryside can benefit from joining the Internet of Things (IoT) hypewagon, and has received just over £170,000 to do so from the government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The cash will be used to carry out rural IoT research in Conwy, North Wales.

“Cities have been the focus of much of the boom in this type of technology," says Professor Blair in tinned quotes. "It has been used to keep traffic flowing on our roads, monitor air pollution and even help us find a parking spot on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

He adds: “The countryside faces challenges of its own, from subtle environmental changes to catastrophic events such as flooding.”

In the countryside, sheep could be fitted with digital collars to track their movements and sensors on riverbanks could measure the flow of rivers.

Anyone who has lived in the countryside knows that internet connections there can be temperamental, particularly when it’s wireless. Valleys, mountains and large trees getting in the way present a few challenges of bringing this kind of technology out of the cities.

However, Professor Blair at least believes that the benefits could be huge and that having the green areas of the country connected to the digital world is a good thing.

“The possibilities of bringing the Internet of Things to the countryside are limitless,” enthuses the prof.

This funding was announced on the Lancaster University website. ®

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