Livestock spend long periods of time on the open range grazing. During this time, they may be out of sight of the livestock owner and, while unsupervised, they may wander out of the perimeter of the property.

A vast estancia in the Patagonian Andes regularly moves their 10,000 head of cattle to the open grasslands where they can graze for days and even weeks at a time. Occasionally, an animal will wander away from the grasslands or a calf is separated from its mother when the herd migrates to a new location. In both instances, it is easy for the lost animal to wander into rugged terrain outside of the safe perimeter where they risk injury and theft.

The Inmarsat IoT livestock tracking solution provides ranchers with the location of their animals, monitors and identifies changes in their activity levels, and sends alerts when unusual activity is recorded.

The tracking solution is installed at the ranch and tracking devices are placed on each of the animals. An application enables the rancher to monitor the location and activity level of each animal in the herd, and sends out an alert to the ranch manager and ranch-hands when an animal is at risk of being lost, is behaving erratically or is nearing the perimeter of the ranch. The livestock owner may then take the appropriate actions to retrieve the animal before an adverse event takes place.

The Inmarsat IoT solution remotely tracks cattle location in far-flung areas of the property, enables the application of geo-fencing limits and monitors animal activity levels to identify potential problems. The solution works indoors and outdoors and under diverse conditions to offer complete flexibility to livestock owners, and is characterised by low cost network installation and operations.

How it works

The Inmarsat IoT solution operates on LoRaWANTM Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) that are designed to optimize for battery life, range, indoor-outdoor coverage, bi-directionality and cost. It also utilises sensors and applications that are built to send small amounts of data over long distances, a few times per hour from varying environments, in addition to sensors in the field, which collect data and send short packets (chirps) of data to the gateway(s) with which it is associated and which are also located in the field.

The gateway in turn functions as a transparent bridge to forward/receive packets from the sensors to a cloud-based network server via backhaul (satellite, Ethernet, cellular, Wi-Fi). Inmarsat Satellite technologies are used to backhaul data – typically collected in remote regions where traditional terrestrial networks are lacking and/or unreliable. Additionally, as a singular operator, Inmarsat removes the burden of dealing with multiple carriers across geographical dispersed regions and countries.

The Network Server manages the data intelligence and network complexity and will filter redundant received packets, perform security checks, schedule acknowledgements through the optimal gateway, and perform adaptive data rate management (ADR enables capacity scalability). If an end-node is mobile, no handover is required from gateway to gateway, a critical feature to enable asset tracking applications (a major target application for IoT).

The integrated platform provides an end-to-end solution that transmits site-specific data to applications in the cloud for analysis, delivering insights and supporting decision making, and creating value for the end-customer.

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