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Vodafone and Defra to use NB-IoT to monitor tree growth and response to environmental change

Jasper Hart
July 29, 2020

Three-month pilot scheme launched in two forests

Vodafone’s newly announced partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and forestry organisation Forest Research will see its NB-IoT technology used to monitor tree growth and the response of forests to environmental change.

The three parties have launched a three-month pilot scheme in Alice Holt forest in Surrey, and Harwood forest in Northumberland. Specialist sensors have been attached to trees in the forest and connected to Vodafone’s NB-IoT network.

The sensors will collect data about temperature, humidity and soil moisture, which they will send to Defra and Forest Research, who will assess the impact of the changing levels of these factors on tree growth.

Defra is working with the UK Government to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. Additionally, the environmental nature of the partnership is in line with Vodafone’s commitment to making its European network 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity by July 2021.

“Tackling climate change requires radical thinking and our forests will be vital to this,” said Vodafone Business UK director Anne Sheehan. “Our IoT technology enables us to connect trees and monitor performance, which is a perfect example of how technology can be used in new ways to help create a more sustainable future.”

Vodafone’s NB-IoT sensors are designed to withstand harsh environment, and the NB-IoT network operates at low power, giving them a battery life of up to 10 years.

Recently, Vodafone has also employed its NB-IoT technology with water provider SES Water to cut leakages across SES’ distribution network.

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