The Internet of Things
Fast, reliable reception is crucial for the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in regional Australia.
At its core, the Internet of Things connects devices – from sensors and alarms all the way to transport and machinery – and allows them to communicate and coordinate with each other. Picture a car telling the house when you are home, so your heating system adjusts for your arrival – then amplify that concept to cities of tens of thousands of people, and millions of connected devices.
Smart cars and houses are a booming industry, but there is also an enormous potential for regional Australia to benefit from IoT technology. IoT is important in the connected farm model because it does allow our farmers to be more efficient with the productivity of their farms as well. Regional Connect has dived deeply into the world of Precision Agriculture (where connected devices can create valuable efficiencies in farming practices), and a slew of companies continue to innovate in the space.
Take MooCall for example – by attaching their sensor to a cow’s tail, it is able to alert farmers when an expecting cow is preparing to give birth. Collars can also be fitted with wireless devices that measure and aggregate information on animal health and the amount of milk being produced. Farming behemoth John Deere launched a similar IoT-capable system, using satellite data, cloud software, and sensors to maximise fertilisation, seeding, and harvesting while reporting soil conditions to HQ. And as the world’s first ‘sheepdog drone’ Shep can use flying robots to monitor conditions kilometers away. Though just a taste, these technologies make the farmer of the future more connected, more flexible, and more informed than ever. But they all rely on the same essentials of connectivity – coverage, choice, and reliability.
This is where regional Australia faces its biggest challenge. With some of the lowest population densities in the world, a reliable network requires strategic thinking and strong investment from both the public and private spheres.
However, more is needed to ensure regional Australia’s competitiveness. It requires a redesign of Australia’s telecommunication funding allocations, where one telco receives almost $300 million to maintain outdated copper phone lines. If this funding were opened up to provide broader mobile coverage, it would provide greater opportunity for regional Australia.
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