Microsoft and Teagasc launch initiative to address rural connectivity challenges
New Teagasc and Microsoft partnership will enable Ireland’s farming community to benefit from evolving technologies
30 April 2019 | 0
Ireland’s rural farming community are set to benefit from Teagasc and Microsoft’s partnership. In signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), both organisations have committed to working together to develop agricultural-based technology, advancing Irish agriculture, rural development and innovation.
The first project under the MOU will be to provide remote internet connectivity to Teagasc Agricultural College, Ballyhaise, giving students access to internet-based digital technology while working remotely in the fields and outbuildings across campus. Connectivity will allow students to utilise new technologies, including AI and data analytics, to better their learning experience.
At the launch, Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc director, said: “Using this technology will allow Teagasc to have high speed broadband across all our farm land in Ballyhaise. Sustainable land management underpins Teagasc courses and our teaching approach is a blend of classroom and practical learning. This project will allow us to bring technology that has previously been restricted to the classroom directly to the field.”
The project, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, is set to kick off in the coming weeks and run for eight months. It is expected to serve as a template for transformation in similar agricultural or rural environments around the world.
Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, said: “We are delighted to partner with Teagasc to develop a range of technology solutions to help farmers across the country benefit from digitisation. It is critically important that Ireland, as a farming nation, ensures that the agricultural sector gets the benefit of technology to help inform future planning as well as day-to-day farm management.
This collaboration is part of Microsoft’s Airband global initiative. They have committed to extending connectivity to underserved, rural communities in working with partners and supporting innovative technologies.
Net1 will work with Teagasc and Microsoft in providing the ISP connectivity and managing the installation and deployment of the pilot. Other projects identified in the MOU should be introduced over the summer, with a focus on precision agriculture, Big Data and AI.