Agritech: Inmarsat, ApisProtect to deploy IoT to connect apiaries around the world

Agritech – Inmarsat, ApisProtect to deploy IoT to connect apiaries around the world

  • Inmarsat delivers highly reliable hybrid satellite/cellular and LoRaWAN technologies to ensure that ApisProtect can provide services to beekeepers no matter how remote their location is
  • Severe food shortages can occur across the world without a healthy bee population

(PRESS RELEASE) LONDON, 20-May-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — Agritech company ApisProtect and Inmarsat have joined forces to develop connected apiaries (apiary is a collection of beehives) by using globally scalable Internet of Things (IoT) solution. ApisProtect, based in Ireland, works on IoT technology that monitors the health of honey bees. The two companies plan to deploy globally scalable IoT solution to connect apiaries and help stem the significant decline of bee populations and increase crop production around the world.

ApisProtect was founded by researchers in the use of sensors in beehives, and the company offers hive monitoring in real-time powered by satellite-enabled sensors that are retrofitted to existing beehives. The work of ApisProtect’s CEO Dr. Edwards Murphy on the topic of hive monitoring has been recognised by many national and international awards such as the Irish Research Council, The IEEE, IBM, The Irish Laboratory Awards, Google, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Honey bees play an essential role in the global food production contributing more than $170 billion to the global agri-food industry annually. More than 30% of the food that is consumed worldwide depends on pollinators, such as bees, and there are 91 million managed beehives worldwide. On the other side, U.S. commercial beekeepers alone have seen declines of 38 percent colonies in 2015-2016.

The solution developed by the Irish ApisProtect aims at reducing colony loss, improving the yield of commercial beekeeping while making apiaries much easier to manage. Inmarsat will play the role of the global connectivity partner in supporting ApisProtect, making sure their solution can be deployed anywhere on the planet. ApisProtect relies on advanced sensors and machine learning technology used in the hive to deliver a 24/7 early warning system to beekeepers. Beekeepers, then, can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health. ApisProtect gives beekeepers actionable insights and alerts to help prevent losses and increase colony productivity.

ApisProtect’s system represents a device called ApisMonitor Unit that is put into the beehive and is then connected to an analytics platform optimized for measuring honey bee health via Inmarsat’s Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) and Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) connectivity. The data gathered is then fed into a machine learning algorithm for early detection and mitigation of bee health issues.

The commercial launch of ApisProtect’s system is planned for late 2019 and the two companies are now working on demonstrating how effective the data collection and analysis is going to be across diverse climates and bee species, spanning Ireland, UK, EU, USA and South Africa. 

Some of the world’s foremost bee researchers and organizations have collaborated in the ApisProtect’s project and as of today the system is already monitoring the health of over 10 million honey bees in hives across Europe, South Africa and North America.

Commenting on the collaboration between Inmarsat and ApisProtect, Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, Co-founder and CEO of ApisProtect, said: 

“Without a healthy bee population there could be severe food shortages across the world, which is why we have developed an advanced system to monitor current population levels and provide realtime insights, to help beekeepers increase the health and productivity in their colonies. ApisProtect will provide beekeepers with actionable insights that will brief them on the condition of their hives, identify problem colonies and suggest a variety of actions to keep their colonies healthy and prevent losses, providing a 24/7 early warning system. This also enables them to make earlier interventions in the event of a problem, leading to reduced costs.”

“Many hives are situated in remote locations globally and we needed a partner who could support our project with Industrial IoT expertise and a variety of connectivity technologies. Inmarsat is delivering highly reliable hybrid satellite/cellular and LoRaWAN technologies to ensure that we can provide services to beekeepers no matter how remote their location. Additionally the mobile nature of Inmarsat’s services mean that if hives need to be moved for pollination purposes, we can still continue to deliver hive data with minimal disruption.”

Inmarsat Enterprise President Paul Gudonis commented on the importance of connectivity in the ApisProtect’s project:

“We are incredibly proud to be working with ApisProtect to help reduce the decline of bee populations globally and to support efficient crop pollination. Combining ApisProtect’s groundbreaking sensor and machine learning technology with our world leading connectivity capabilities and IoT expertise will offer beekeepers a powerful tool for supporting the health of their apiaries. The stability and reliability of the connectivity is highly important to this solution as continual uploading of hive data is imperative to understand the realtime health of bee colonies. We hope that this partnership will aid beekeepers in maintaining strong, healthy colonies and will help increase the global bee population.”

Media contacts:

Edward Dodge / Fergus Lynch
+44 (0)20 7388 9988

Jonathan Sinnatt
Director of Corporate Communications
+44 (0)20 7728 1935/1492

James Grisbrook
Head of Communications
Inmarsat Enterprise
+44 (0)7872 158548

Andrew Wood
Chair & Co- founder
+ 353 (87) 364 9711

Aoife O’ Mahony
Head of Marketing
+353 87 6847 440

SOURCE: Inmarsat


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