WINNIPEG—Bell MTS announced May 30 a $500,000 contribution to develop Internet of Things technologies for application in agriculture and food services—a joint venture with the University of Manitoba (U of M).
Bell says that IoT can help improve the production of food resources through managing the location and performance of farm machinery; remote analysis of soil samples, field conditions, seeding rate and crop health; and monitoring of storage and processing operations.
“Working on IoT solutions within the agriculture, food and nutrition sectors not only offers our students a unique skills development opportunity that will support their future career opportunities, it is critical to the advancement of our agriculture and food economy,” said Karin Wittenberg, dean of U of M’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
Agricultural production represents roughly 5 per cent of Manitoba’s GDP and the sector accounts for an estimated 33,000 jobs in the province. To this end, the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences offers specialized training to over 1,200 students each year.
The $500,000 from Bell MTS is expected to fund mentorships, research and access to new co-operative education opportunities.
“We’re very pleased to work with the University of Manitoba to create this opportunity for students and faculty to develop new and better IoT solutions for a sector that is a mainstay of Manitoba’s economy and important to all Canadians,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s chief technology officer and executive VP.
Bell says that it is offering a range of IoT solutions to clients, including wireless and fiber networks, hardware, and data hosting and applications.
The company announced June 1 that it is launching a long term evolution for machines (LTE-M) network in 2018, which will facilitate IoT growth by using smart sensors to collect and send data across devices.
Bell says LTE-M technology improves the operating efficiency of IoT devices by enabling very low power consumption and better coverage in underground and other hard to reach locations, as well as extending across a wider range than other connectivity options.
The company’s LTE-M network will directly support U of M’s IoT agriculture program.