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Salmon Given 5G As Fishermen Explore Internet of Fins
August 6, 2019 News

Salmon farmers on Scotland’s remote Orkney islands have been connecting their fish to 5G as part of a pilot project with US tech giant Cisco Systems Inc and the UK government.

 The trials, which began in earnest in July, will see key metrics such as sea water temperature and oxygen levels monitored using Internet-connected sensors relayed wirelessly to a Cisco datacentre.

The company involved in the project, Scottish Sea Farms Ltd, produces about US$47mil (RM196.35mil) worth of salmon from its Orkney sites each year, and the fish is Britain’s second-biggest food export after whiskey.

But ultra-rural Orkney ranks almost bottom in Britain’s Internet connectivity league tables, and the company wanted to discover use cases for how next-generation wireless technology could bolster one of the country’s most popular exports.

According to a report on Bloomberg, thousands of salmon are kept in 18 meter circumference nets and are fed using a remote controlled system of machine and pipes to make sure the right amount food is distribute to each pens. Being able to accurately and quickly measure nutrition, water temperature, oxygen and other data points is essential.

There’s also an array of subsurface video cameras and sensors that need to be connected wirelessly. Scottish Sea Farms currently use a limited wireless system partly based on WiFi technology which relays data and video from the salmon pens to the company’s offices via multiple antennas and radio masts on a boat and back to land.

5G is being tested as an alternative to that. Via a standalone wireless hub, sensors in the water are hooked up directly to wireless cells mounted on each pen. The data then zips directly to a Cisco 5G Internet of things mainframe via a single mast back on land.

This reduces possible points of failure and lowers the time it takes to get data from salmon to computer screen. In the future, with the data capacity of a 5G connection, comes to possibility to upgrading the cameras to potentially Ultra 4k and beyond.

If successful, the technology will be rolled out to help other communities around the world.

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