Vodafone partners with ApisProtect to support beekeepers

Providing NB-IoT to monitor the health and productivity of honeybees
Life
Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, ApisProtect. Credit: Jonathan Fleury

3 March 2022

Vodafone has formed a strategic partnership with Irish start-up ApisProtect to provide advanced IoT technology, optimising their innovative hive monitoring system in the field and helping the survival of honeybees through hobbyist communities. 

Launched in Ireland in January 2021, ApisProtect has developed a device for hobbyist beekeepers that is installed in beehives, and which uses sensors that measures temperature, noise, and movement.  

Using a combination of Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the data is processed and converted into information beekeepers can use and indicates what actions are required, such as moving a hive that is overheating into a shaded area. 

 

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Powered by Vodafone’s NarrowBand IoT, the devices now have a longer battery life and wider coverage area – allowing for ease of use and maintenance for beekeepers to monitor the health and productivity of their hives. The technology is helping hobbyist beekeepers to evaluate the condition of each colony and identify colonies that need attention – with up to seven time more coverage than other cellular technologies, even in the most remote locations. 

ApisProtect have also launched a new feature for hobbyist beekeepers in Ireland and UK to prevent ‘swarming’ – an event during which large numbers of bees leave the hive to form a new colony resulting in diminished hives.  

While swarms are short-lived (hours) and usually docile, they can be a concern in areas that are frequented by the public as while searching for a new home, bees can decide to take up residence in roofs of buildings or near an entrance to a house where they can become a nuisance. 

The ‘S-Warning’ feature helps beekeepers understand when and where their hives might swarm in time for them to act and prevent losing valuable bees. 

As the business celebrates its five-year anniversary, projections suggest significant growth in the demand for the solution over the next few years, with tens of thousands of new sign ups as globally expected as interest in beekeeping continues to increase. The business is targeting significant expansion in Germany while also predicating growth in the Irish market. 

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO and co-founder of ApisProtect, said: ‘’We are delighted to be celebrating our five-year anniversary as we announce the pilot launch our new swarming feature ‘S-Warning’, with all of our UK and Irish beekeepers in the 2022 beekeeping season. This new feature will help our beekeepers to target their hive management and act early to prevent losing honeybees during the summertime to swarming. 

“Using Vodafone’s NB-IoT services has allowed more beekeepers to use our device due to the wider coverage area and therefore we are able to slow the decline in the global honeybee population. The broader use of our technology will help towards the goal of nourishing and feeding the 9.7 billion people on planet earth by 2050 using the pollination service honeybees provide.” 

“With bee colonies in decline across the globe, we are excited to work with ApisProtect and spearhead new technologies that will help to reverse this trend that would ultimately have a worrying impact on our environment,” said Colin Barrett, Vodafone Ireland IoT country manager

“This innovative solution, powered through NB-IoT, provides an extremely practical, easy to use support for the growing community of hobbyist beekeepers globally, prolonging the lives of honeybees. 

“As the largest provider of IoT connections globally, and as a leader in the provision of NB-IoT coverage globally with 14 Vodafone countries covered, we are committed to connecting for a better future and to our environment. We are consistently seeking ways in which our services and products can be used to support a greener, more equal society. This partnership is a shining example of how connectivity solutions such as NB-IoT can make a real difference to biodiversity projects and the broader effects of climate change.” 

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