Gadgets

Cow computing? Scottish company creates wearable sensors for cows

Above: Monitoring cows with chips

Image Credit: Silent Herdsman

Call it cow computing. Or cow chips. Scottish startup Silent Herdsman has raised £3 million ($4.9 million) to create remote sensors for livestock farmers.

The wearable collars are part of the giant trend toward wearable computing and the Internet of things, which will provide a huge amount of data from sensors so we can track just about everything. The sensors will enable predictive analytics software so that farmers can make better data-driven decisions about taking care of their cows and other livestock.

The money came from Scottish Equity Partners, Albion Ventures, and Scottish Investment Bank. It will fuel the company’s growth and international expansion.

The Scottish company wants to enable the expansion of the range of animal health and welfare monitoring services it provides to farmers. Silent Herdsman has built a decision-support platform with a high-tech behavior-monitoring collar that triggers alerts to a farmer’s mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop PC when it identifies a change in activity.

“This investment underpins our unique and distinguishing product features and represents a significant endorsement towards our global expansion plans,” Annette MacDougall, CEO at Silent Herdsman, said in a statement. “The Silent Herdsman predictive analytic software platform is uniquely positioned to assist dairy and beef farms globally to bolster productivity gains, improve operational performance, and increase profit on farm.”

It can detect oestrus, or when an animal is amorous, and when it has increased milk yield. Silent Herdsman has patents on delivering accurate health predictions that can yield better profits for framers.

“There are currently over 1 billion beef and dairy cows worldwide and over 34 million dairy cows in the European Union and U.S. alone,” said SEP partner Stuart Paterson in a statement. “This number is continuing to grow as countries get wealthier and demand for dairy products increases. As a result, this represents a market opportunity of over $1 billion per annum to Silent Herdsman. Moreover, the solution significantly enhances the efficiency of world food production, which is of global concern. The company is rapidly making sales both in the United Kingdom and internationally, and as a result, SEP is delighted to support the company’s growth plans.”

Silent Herdsman was previously known as Embedded Technology Solutions. It has raised £5 million since 2006, and it launched its first version of the decision support software in 2010. The technology came  from Scotland’s University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

This isn’t the first company to pull cows into the Internet of things. Last October, VentureBeat reported that Scotland-based Well Cow had developed a device to remotely monitor the dietary health of a herd.

Silent Herdsman

Above: Silent Herdsman

Image Credit: Silent Herdsman

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