The first of March’s VirtualVet blogs brings with it some exciting news; both VirtualVet and Milkalyser, eCow’s sister company, will be involved in the roll out of 5G in the UK. The UK government awarded £25 million to several consortiums to pave the way for 5G, including £4.3 million to the Rural First project led by Cisco and the University of Strathclyde. Milkalyser and VirtualVet will be part of this consortium which aim’s to explore the benefits of 5G for for rural communities, including the agricultural industry. 

Those of you familiar with both eCow and VirtualVet will know that rural innovation, and the application of cutting edge technology to livestock farming are important to us. Last year Prof Toby Mottram was invited to contribute realistic and achievable ideas for a large 5G grant proposal to be led by Cisco. It was announced Friday March 9th that the CISCO bid was one of the winning bids and so a congratulations go to Milkalyser, Agri-Epicentre, Kingshay, Harper Adams and the rest of the winning team.

The focus of the project is on harnessing the power of 5G to enable the immediate transfer of large volumes of data. As part of the winning bid, VirtualVet and Milkalyser proposed a use case which explored the possibility of remote veterinary inspections. In the near future this is likely to be critical to the rural and farming economy as labour shortages across the industry increase, despite the growing focus on productivity.

So why is 5G important to rural companies and farming industry? In short, 5G is all about increasing the size and speed of data transfers. For agri-tech companies it will remove the connectivity variable from our products and services, something which is often the limiting factor in rural innovation. The roll out of high speed internet in rural locations would increase the addressable market size for agri-tech and drive innovative developments in this area. In addition, the user experience for farmers and those in rural areas will improve, facilitating the engagement and adoption of agri-tech solutions. 

We are looking forward to getting started on this project and demonstrating the powerful applications of 5G in the agricultural technology industry. This will also be fantastic opportunity for us to have a say in the future of 5G, and to ensure it meets the demands of rural users. Keep an eye out for updates on the exciting updates associated with the project on both the Milkalyser and VirtualVet twitter pages!