Lead by Cisco, the 5G Rural First project has a diverse range of experience and aims to create end-to-end 5G test beds in rural locations, focusing on industries such as agriculture, broadcasting and utilities. This will help to ensure the future accessibility and affordability of 5G in areas which may previously have suffered with poor internet connectivity.
A variety of 5G use cases will be explored during the project, including several smart farming applications. Smart farming is the concept of measuring and analysing data produced on farms then using this to improve decision making and ensure farm management and operations are more efficient. In turn, this can improve productivity, as well as reducing environmental impacts and ensuring higher food quality.
The IEEE 5G summit provided a platform for attendees from industry, academia, and government to collaborate and exchange ideas in this emerging technology. The objective of the event was to educate various communities to support the evolution of standards and systems leading to the rapid deployment of new technologies and potentially new business models for 5G.
At the summit, the 5G smart farming use case put forward by Milkalyser was explored. Milkalyser’s aim is to use 5G for remote health diagnosis, providing near-real-time animal side health information to vets and technicians. This will include basic information such as the animal’s age and breed, but also the health records and video content relevant to the current treatment. Tying in with Milkalyser, information regarding reproductive status will also be provided. If the animal has an eCow bolus, reticulum pH and temperature data can also be displayed.
Various possible methods of visualising this data will be explored, including the use of augmented reality (AR) and smart posts. A vet technician wearing a AR headset could look at a cow and be given a visualisation of the cow’s health status alongside videos of possible treatments.
Alternatively, a Smart Post could be used. Using voice recognition software, Smart Post could respond to questions and talk back to the user with information about the animal’s health.
The 5G RuralFirst project aims to bring connectivity to rural communities, enabling smart farming in partnership with Agri-Epi Centre; researching innovative methods of delivering broadcast radio over 5G; as well as the delivery of 5G connectivity for IoT in utility and other industries in rural areas. Read more on the project here.
In terms of livestock health, 5G will be a crucial tool in driving the development of innovative technologies. This exciting project is one we can’t wait to get started on.
Managing Director of Cows and Co Group, Stuart is known for his entrepreneurial approach to projects and strong leadership skills, combining innovation and commercial acumen.
Stuart’s expertise in business management, gained through years of senior level roles, combined with a background in agriculture, means he will be a great asset to our team.
Stuart’s role will be to advise and challenge the strategic development of Milkalyser as we move into our next phase of growth.
Stuart said: “I’ve been studying or working in agriculture for over 30 years and it is an industry that I am extremely passionate about. It is fascinating to see how technology has allowed the agriculture industry to grow and develop.
“Milkalyser combines this skill of agriculture with leading research and technological capabilities revolutionising the dairy industry. I’m excited to join the Board and support Milkalyser in its growth.”
Since 2015, Stuart had been Director of Cows and Co Group, a group of like-minded artisan food producers, farmers and entrepreneurs who are passionate about developing a brand of high quality premium food and drink products and making them available to a wider audience. Cows and Co’s investment in renewable energy investments and services hopefully further validates commitment to new innovative technology and the role this plays/will play in long term growth and sustainable rural economy.
His previous experience includes being an Advisory Board Member for Geno International and as a General Manager for Genus ABS.
Founder of Milkalyser, Toby Mottram, said: “Stuart’s expertise in strategic planning and change management will help Milkalyser to expand and grow sustainably, allowing us to bring the technology to farms across the UK. We’re excited to have him on board and to improve company growth and engagement with stakeholders.”
The annual series is designed to showcase the diversity of digital tech activity across the UK. The report celebrates both the successes of UK tech, as well as exploring what makes them so successful.
Exeter features as a key cluster for digital tech industries in this year’s report and Milkalyser is showcased as an innovative company within the local area.
Our Founder and CEO, Toby Mottram, was asked to explain what made Exeter such a great place to develop our technology. Toby highlighted the world class science and technology facilities nearby, as well as the south west’s thriving dairy industry. All of this is complemented by the beautiful location which provides our team with an excellent quality of life.
Milkalyser is in good company, with the tech industry within Exeter booming. The number of jobs with the digital tech industry has increased 47% from 2014 to 2017, and this looks set to increase further with the launch of new partnerships and projects. Exeter is a thriving hub of technology with digital tech businesses turning over a total of £271 million in 2017.
However, as well as identifying the key strengths of the city, the challenges facing tech start-ups in Exeter was also examined.
It’s important to note that one of the challenges identified was the limited infrastructure. Agricultural technologies, such as Milkalyser, rely on a stable and reliable internet connection, something which is often hard to come by in rural communities.
This really highlights the importance of the rural 5G program which we are collaborators in. Not only does poor internet connectivity hinder the everyday life of rural communities, it could also be stunting innovation and preventing tech developments in the region. However, the trial of 5G with rural technologies such as Milkalyser, will ensure the improvement of digital infrastructure within Exeter and beyond.
Tech Nation 2018 demonstrates how both Milkalyser and Exeter are at the forefront of digital tech developments in the UK. Read the Tech Nation 2018 report for Exeter here.
As we are now in the final stages of development, we’re taking a look back on what we have achieved over the past few years. Although Milkalyser as we know it has only been in development since 2015, the idea behind it is certainly not a new one with its basis stemming from research conducted nearly 20 years ago.
Milkalyser founder and chief engineer, Professor Toby Mottram, collaborated on a research project during the late 1990s to design an automated ovulation prediction system. Much like Milkalyser, the system integrated a progesterone biosensor with automatic milk sampling and fertility management software. The system was successfully built in the early 2000s, and was tested on a small number of animals at a research farm. It was able to successfully characterise ovulation cycles, detect pregnancy, and produce a reasonable progesterone profile.
To improve the system, refinement of the biosensor was needed and the team were hopeful that it could provide a useful tool for fertility management on dairy farms, but further development of the project was halted by the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001. A few years later, funding for the research body (Silsoe Research Institute) was cut and the project was shelved.
However, the research that had been conducted had not been completely forgotten. After undertaking several other projects including eCow and VirtualVet, Toby turned his attention back to automated ovulation prediction. Nearly 15 years later, technology within the dairy industry had advanced hugely and the time was right to try again.
Perhaps the most important innovations have been within the biotechnology industry. Large amounts of research have resulted in refined, portable biosensors which can rapidly measure progesterone both reliably and accurately. By further optimising these biosensors, Milkalyser will greatly improve on the previously engineered ovulation prediction system.
Since the early 2000s, much more research has been conducted into the mathematical characterisation of progesterone profiles, and the prediction of ovulation time from progesterone. Milkalyser has harnessed this research to build our own algorithm to provide accurate ovulation prediction times based on progesterone readings. In addition to this, engineering advancements have resulted in the production of a compact and retrofittable system that will be accessible to all dairy farmers.
Announced on the first anniversary of the Digital Strategy, test bed companies across the UK will lead efforts to make the country a world leader in 5G technology. Six small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities have been selected to represent the best of innovation, resources and expertise in the UK.
The Digital Strategy was launched in March 2017 to drive the UK’s connectivity, telecommunications and digital sectors, investing in key industries, infrastructure and skills.
The six organisations will test 5G across a range of applications, including smart farming, using the internet of things to improve healthcare, increasing productivity in manufacturing and researching the future benefits of self-driving cars.
Milkalyser is working with one of the six project leads – 5G RuralFirst, led by Cisco and lead partner University of Strathclyde – who have received £4.3 million funding. The partnership’s focus is to deliver testbeds and trials to exploit 5G benefits for rural communities, focussing on industries such as agriculture, broadcasting and utilities.
The project aims to bring connectivity to rural communities, enabling smart farming in partnership with Agri-Epi Centre; researching innovative methods of delivering broadcast radio over 5G; as well as the delivery of 5G connectivity for IoT in utility and other industries in rural areas.
On Wednesday 7th February, the Milkalyser team travelled to Stoneleigh Park for the Dairy-Tech 2018 show where we officially launched Milkalyser in the UK.
It was fantastic to meet so many of farmers, biologists and technicians and discuss the range of fertility problems currently facing the dairy industry.
The official launch of Milkalyser took place in the Dairy-Tech Show’s press centre, where our founder, Professor Toby Mottram, spoke to an engaged crowd on how Milkalyser can revolutionise fertility in the dairy industry.
We were pleased to receive a wide range of feedback and comments on the new milk analysis system and we are working hard to integrate this to Milkalyser as we enter our final stages of development.
Dairy-Tech also provided an opportunity to catch up with our Italian collaborator and distributor Bulgari. We were delighted to host the Bulgari group for the day, and to update them on developments since our European launch at the Cremona fair.
For those who expressed an interest in the technology, Milkalyser will be available for commercial trials in late 2018/early 2019.
We will be looking to recruit a selection of beta testers for this period. This will be an exciting opportunity to be involved in the development of a revolutionary fertility management system. Get in touch if you are interested.
We are very excited to announce that Milkalyser will be launching at the Dairy-Tech 2018 event. We will be showcasing our newly developed inline milk progesterone analyser and we will be available all day to discuss how our product will revolutionise fertility in the dairy industry. This will be the first time that Milkalyser has been showcased in the UK and we are looking forward to sharing our work with you. In addition to this, our founder Professor Toby Mottram will be speaking at 12-12:30, discussing the role of technology will play in the future of dairy farming.
Dairy-Tech 2018 is being held on 7th February at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Milkalyser will be exhibiting at stand B13, where we can’t wait to discuss our product with you. However, if you can’t make the event we now have twitter so please follow us for all the latest Milkalyser updates.
It’s been an exciting couple of months for Milkalyser, not only have we expanded into new premises but we have also hosted a visit from local MP Ben Bradshaw. Milkalyser have now joined the growing number of local science and technology companies at Exeter Science Park. The park is the home of science and technology in the south-west, with companies working in a range of areas from biosciences and medicine, to materials and sustainability. This space will now become our development area for Milkalyser, as well as providing a space to showcase our work.
We have already welcomed our first visitor to our Exeter Science Park exhibition workshop. On Friday 10th November, MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw paid us a visit whilst on a tour of the park. Our marketing partner, David Selway, explained the problems currently facing the dairy industry and how we are trying to solve them. Ben was interested to learn about the work that both Milkalyser, and eCow, do in improving dairy cow health; and recalled meeting founder, Toby Mottram, at previous events.
We have just won a new £500k investment and we are going fast to develop our new technology with enquiries coming in from around the world. If you are interested in working in Agritechnology in which our company group is a pioneer, then send your CV to Harriet@milkalyser.com . We have a number of vacancies developing as we expand.