Deutsche Telekom installs smart beehives at its headquarters in Bonn

Deutsche Telekom installs smart beehives at its headquarters in Bonn

  • Deutsche Telekom gives bees a connected home
  • IoT and sensors help prevent bee deaths
  • Digitalization makes an important contribution to ensuring the survival of the species

BONN, 22-Jun-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — Deutsche Telekom now has its first two smart beehives on the grounds of its Headquarters in Bonn. Equipped with IoT technology and linked up to Deutsche Telekom’s machine and sensor network (NarrowBand IoT, or NB-IoT for short), the hives are being cared for in close cooperation with a local beekeeper.

Smart sensors collect and transmit temperature, humidity, weight (i.e., how full the honeycombs are), and sound data direct from the beehive to the beekeeper via the T-Systems cloud. The beekeeper simply needs to look at their smartphone or tablet app to find out whether the bees are healthy. He or she can assess the behavior of the bees and conditions in the hive at any time and take action when needed. This avoids unnecessary trips to the hives and reduces the number of disturbances for the bees themselves.

Two additional digital beehives at the T-Systems Innovation Center in Munich are also transmitting data to Bonn. The data from Munich can be compared against that collected by a beekeeper in the Bonn region, who has also fitted sensors to her hives, and data from the new Telekom bees to contrast the conditions at different sites. This is how digitalization is making an important contribution to ensuring the survival of the species.

Bees are important for humans and nature
Some 80 percent of the 2,000 to 3,000 cultivated and wild plants native to Germany rely on honey bees for pollination. Experts are convinced that, “Humanity would starve without bees.” According to the Deutsche Imkerbund (German Beekeepers’ Association), some 870,000 bee colonies in this part of the world fly from flower to flower collecting pollen and nectar. In summer, the population of each colony grows to between 40,000 and 60,000.

Last year, agricultural economists at the University of Hohenheim in Germany calculated the importance of honeybees to the national economy. According to their study, pollination by bees generates an estimated EUR 1.6 billion per year, 13 times more than the contribution of the honey and beeswax industry. Without pollination, crop farming profits would drop by 41 percent on average.

Bees are dying
A major scientific study from 2017 found that the number of beneficial flying insects has fallen by 75 percent over the last 30 years. The exact causes of bee mortality are unknown; possible causes include the use of pesticides, monotonous landscapes, lack of food sources, the loss of the natural habitat of the animals, and parasites such as the varroa mite.

The United Nations this year declared May 20 as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the important role these insects play and their sharply dwindling numbers.

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