Lovely black and white calves drinking milk from a farmer

Smartphone app launched to promote rural cow-nnections

Image credit: Dreamstime

5G RuralFirst has launched an udderly original smartphone app which allows users to follow a connected cow and receive daily updates on its moovements.

5G RuralFirst is a project partially funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and led by Cisco and the University of Strathclyde. It aims to establish trials for next-generation mobile communication in poorly-served rural areas. The project is focused on three main sites in Somerset, Shropshire and the Orkney Islands.

As part of this project, 5G RuralFirst has launched an educational app, Me+Moo, which encourages users to connect with farms in rural areas. Users can choose to follow a “connected cow” – based on a Tinder-style profile which includes its name and personality descriptors – and will receive daily updates sent from that farm. These updates may inform the user about how the cows are moving, feeding, sleeping and producing milk, using wearable connected sensors worn on the cow’s collars and legs.

Real-time data collected from a user’s favourite cow can be monitored at any time via the app’s “moonitor” dashboard.

Users are encouraged to select their favourite cow, invite their friends to join them on Me+Moo to build their own virtual herd and compete for a top spot on a Me+Moo “herd leaderboard.”

According to 5G RuralFirst, the app is ideal for “everyone from cow enthusiasts to tech-heads and agricultural workers”.

The app aims to demonstrate how 5G technology could prove useful to the future of agriculture, such as by helping farmers remotely monitor the health of the animals freely spread out on their farms. Me+Moo users will be regularly sent videos and animations discussing 5G and its applications in rural areas, as well as educational content about life and work on a farm.

“It goes without saying, [agriculture is] an industry we should be proud of and 5G connectivity could help keep it efficient and productive for many more years to come,” a 5G RuralFirst statement said. “The Me+Moo app shows how sensor technology can be used to gather data from ‘things’ – even living things – in rural industries that can transform the way they operate.”

Those living in rural areas frequently express frustration at the poor levels of connectivity outside urban areas. A report published by Which? in January revealed that poor connectivity remains a significant issue across much of the UK, with the Orkney Islands, Allerdale and the Shetland Islands the areas with the slowest available broadband speeds.

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