Tag Archives: Climate Change

Smart Telemetry Tags used to capture underwater data that will help monitor climate change


LPWA Helping to Track Wildlife and Provide Data on Climate Change; University of St Andrews Developing New Smart Tags to Track Seals Using NB-IoT Technology

21 February 2017, London: The University of St Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) is developing smart telemetry tags using Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) technology to track and monitor the movement of harbour seals and research their population decline. NB-IoT is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) technology that was standardised by the GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative and will play a fundamental role in the emerging ‘Internet of the Seas’ by capturing underwater data that will help to monitor climate change.

The new sensors being developed by SMRU will be harmlessly attached to the seals in order to log detailed data on the animals’ behaviour, such as location and dive depth, as well as temperature, salinity and, eventually, underwater sound. Low power devices and networks in licensed spectrum vastly improve wildlife tracking by enabling more efficient tracking tags that are smaller and less intrusive.

SMRU expects to trial the new NB-IoT enabled marine tags later this year. In 2016, it successfully gathered information for analysis from harbour seals in Orkney, Scotland, using machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. Mobile IoT networks have the potential to deliver improvements in mobile coverage and the built-in device modules offer battery life superior to devices reliant on conventional cellular technologies.

“The GSMA is supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by exploring how mobile technology can be utilised to capture vital information to support wildlife conservation projects around the world, as well as protect the oceans, seas and the species living in them,” commented Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “The intersection between Mobile IoT technologies and global conservation projects such as this is exciting, timely and powerful and will play a fundamental role in helping to achieve healthy and productive oceans.”

The Internet of the Seas
NB-IoT technology can also be used to support the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), a UNESCO programme that coordinates global ocean data from different governance bodies. NB-IoT can help monitor climate change by means of low energy sensors and data relay channels that capture information on the temperature and salinity of the oceans. Combined and standardised with data from other sea monitoring systems, such NB-IoT-derived data will help provide scientists and oceanographers with accurate information on the world’s oceans. Tagging animals with smart tags also helps scientists to use their mobility and diving skills to explore both distant and deep parts of oceans.

“NB-IoT technology is the future of our research and allows us to springboard from the success of our previous work using M2M technology and capture far more detailed data in a much more efficient way,” said Dr Bernie McConnell, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews. “Many species, both marine and aquatic, are under threat. NB-IoT is ideally suited to be a global carrier of animal information that will provide vital data needed to inform and benefit wildlife conservation worldwide.”

SMRU was approached by the Scottish Government to investigate why seals on the east coast of Scotland and the Northern Isles were in serious decline with a 70 per cent reduction over the last ten years. The natural habitat of animals around the world is being impacted by climate change that is disrupting food chains and biodiversity. The research is ongoing but the possible reasons for the decline could be food limitation, disease, aggression from grey seals, predation by killer whales, and poisoning from harmful algal blooms. A crucial element will be in discovering where the threatened seals feed at sea.

The GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative
LPWA networks are a high-growth area of the IoT designed for M2M applications that have low data rates, require long battery lives and operate unattended for long periods of time, often in remote locations. They will be used for a wide variety of applications such as industrial asset tracking, safety monitoring, water and gas metering, smart grids, city parking, vending machines and city lighting. The GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative is designed to accelerate the commercial availability of LPWA solutions in licensed spectrum. These licensed standards allow operators to optimise their existing mobile network infrastructure through an upgrade to LTE-M for LTE networks, while NB-IoT can use both 2G and 4G spectrum. It is currently backed by 30 of the world’s leading mobile operators, OEMs, chipset, module and infrastructure companies. The GSMA Mobile IoT initiative is supporting the industry with multiple global pilots with full commercial solutions expected in market later this year.

Mobile IoT at Mobile World Congress 2017
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the GSMA’s Connected Living Programme will host the ‘GSMA Global Mobile IoT Summit’ with leading industry experts on Sunday, 26 February from 13:00 – 17:30. The session will explore how the industry is working together to realise the full potential of Mobile IoT. There will also be a separate session, ‘Mobile IoT (LPWA) – Open for Business’, on Wednesday, 1 March from 13:30 – 15:30 that will provide an opportunity to learn about the latest commercial rollouts, launches and pilots. There will also be number of demonstrations of LPWA technology at the GSMA Innovation City located in Hall 4 in Fira Gran Via. For more information or please visit www.gsma.com/connectedliving/event/mobile-world-congress-2017/ or download the Connected Living IoT Guide to MWC 2017:
http://www.gsma.com/connectedliving/iot-guide-mwc17/. For more information on the GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative go to: www.gsma.com/connectedliving/mobile-iot-initiative/

Get Involved at Mobile World Congress 2017
For more information on Mobile World Congress 2017, including how to attend, exhibit or sponsor, visit www.mobileworldcongress.com. Follow developments and updates on Mobile World Congress on Twitter @GSMA using #MWC17, on our LinkedIn Mobile World Congress page www.linkedin.com/company/gsma-mobile-world-congress or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mobileworldcongress/. For additional information on GSMA social channels, visit www.mobileworldcongress.com/about/contact/social-media/.

Source: GSMA

M2M technology helps to monitor climate change

M2M technology: aiding a smart approach to climate change

M2M technologies are being deployed to monitor the effects of climate change and gather data to improve climate models and better understand the challenges ahead.

The Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) programme is helping US Government gather data on melting Arctic ice using sensors.

Ten years ago, expensive ground-based climate change equipment was unconnected. In one case a forty mile hike into the Siberian wilderness was required to recalibrate a device and take readings. Aside from manually operated equipment, very expensive NASA satellites were the primary means of data acquisition, but this was not helped in 2009 when NASA’s $273 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashed into the ocean three minutes after launch.

In contrast, today’s greatly expanded sphere of M2M connections and applications now includes a US Government programme for acquiring data on melting Arctic ice. The Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) programme is an initiative of the US Office of Naval Research and uses sensors to acquire data transmitted to Iridium’s satellite constellation.

The programme uses a variety of devices to measure ice layers, movement of sea water and other conditions such as salinity, temperature and oxygen concentration on a transect 400km north of the ice’s edge in the Beaufort Sea. The area of the ice covering the Arctic Ocean has been shrinking for years. One estimate puts this at 11% per decade for the last 35 years. An increasing ice-free area, combined with greater mobile ice cover, impacts its interaction with the atmosphere and the ocean. Data acquired by the project will be used to increase understanding of these processes and implications.

The MIZ programme includes a number of elements: weather stations and sensor-laden devices on the ice’s surface or buried in holes in the ice that will drift with the ice until it melts; robots using ingenious propulsion systems that navigate on the surface, underwater and under the ice; an underwater communication system modelled on whale communication; and ice-based navigation beacons. While it is definitely not a typical B2B satellite application, the programme’s existence demonstrates increased government and scientific awareness of the potential of commercial M2M technology.
Tracking melting ice in the Arctic is an extreme example of M2M environmental monitoring, from air and water quality through temperature, humidity and other weather measurements to monitoring flood plain and soil parameters and even radiation levels. Fixed locations may communicate using short-range wireless technology but M2M satellite networks predominate in remote regions and wherever cellular, terrestrial coverage is poor.

Satellite M2M today

Aside from continued growth, two things stand out in today’s M2M satellite industry. There is increased interaction with M2M solution providers that now offer satellite connectivity and the use of dual-mode terminals that seamlessly switch between satellite and cellular connectivity. This change is characterised by the broad partnership agreement between Orbcomm and Inmarsat.

Futhermore, satellite technology has moved a long way. Whenever an older satellite constellation is retired, its replacement reflects the evolution of technology. A satellite of the same size as its predecessor has greater processing capabilities and memory with corresponding improvements in latency and coverage. These changes are reflected in terminals, too. For example, Inmarsat’s BGAN terminals are getting smaller and lighter with reduced power requirements. Aside from reducing costs for customers, new applications are opened up, adding to an expansion of the market.
Satellite connectivity has become more central to M2M in today’s Internet of Things era. And this trend looks to continue as more devices become connected to provide powerful applications at lower cost.

As ice continues to melt, with major global consequences, M2M environmental monitoring will play a growing role in understanding the changes and their implications. Scientists and governments are not nearly as oblivious to the advantages of commercial M2M as they once were. The challenge now is how to manage a growing deluge of data, but that’s another topic.

Source:  Bill Ingle, senior analyst at Beecham Research