How Deutsche Telekom’s internet-of-hives is helping German honeybees
Telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom has connected two beehives in the grounds of its headquarters in Bonn, in Germany, to its narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network, as it seeks to use digital technologies to improve care of the honeybee population.
Deutsche Telekom has installed smart sensors to collect and transmit data about the temperature and humidity of the beehives, as well as the weight/fullness of the honeycombs. Its NB-IoT network carries data from the sensors to the cloud; the beekeeper can ascertain the status of each measure, and the health of the hive, on an app on their smartphone.
This avoids unnecessary trips to the hives and reduces the number of disturbances for the bees themselves, said Deutsche Telekom; the keeper has the information at his or her fingertips to take action when needed.
Two additional beehives at T-Systems’ ‘innovation centre’ in Munich are also transmitting data to Bonn, it said. The German company has also patched in data from a beekeeper in the Bonn region, who has also fitted sensors to her hives.
Deutsche Telekom said it will contrast the conditions at different sites. “This is how digitalisation is making an important contribution to ensuring the survival of the species,” it said in a statement.
Today 80 percent of domestic fruit and vegetable varieties need insects to ensure a good harvest. Without pollination, crop farming profits would drop by 41 per cent on average.
Last year, agricultural economists at the University of Hohenheim in Germany calculated pollination by honeybees generates an estimated €1.6 billion per year, 13 times more than the contribution of the honey and beeswax industry.
Deutsche Telekom quoted a study from 2017 that found the number of “beneficial flying insects” has fallen by 75 per cent over the last 30 years. The exact causes of bee mortality are unknown; possible causes include the use of pesticides, parasites, a lack of food, and the loss of their natural habitat.