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Wireless node technology by ScanReach used to monitor animal welfare onboard ships

ScanReach's wireless nodes automatically collect and transfer data from sensors throughout the ship and deliver it to a central computer on the bridge, in real-time ScanReach's wireless nodes automatically collect and transfer data from sensors throughout the ship and deliver it to a central computer on the bridge, in real-time

Norwegian technology start-up ScanReach recently participated in a trial executed by research body LiveCorp with the aim to improve animal welfare in the livestock export industry.

ScanReach’s wireless technology is used onboard ships to help transmit data through steel structures. During this particular project, ScanReach’s equipment was installed on a livestock export ship in Singapore and first tested without livestock on a voyage to Darwin, then with livestock on a voyage to South East Asia. It uses a series of ‘nodes’ to automatically collect and transfer data from sensors throughout the ship and deliver it to a central computer on the bridge, in real-time, via low energy radio mesh technology integrated with Bluetooth.

LiveCorp’s chief executive officer, Wayne Collier, says improved connectivity has been identified as a key enabler for the industry’s continuing digital transformation.

“Industry, the regulator and the community are all interested in automated and independent monitoring of things like temperature and humidity on livestock export ships, with multiple technologies available or in development,” Collier said.

“Being able to aggregate the data and review it in real-time makes it possible to set up alerts when certain conditions – like increasing temperatures – are met, so the situation can be managed before it becomes an issue.

“Some shipowners and exporters are using automated loggers to collect information such as temperature and humidity. However, someone currently needs to walk around each deck to get a strong enough signal to download the data to a handheld device.”

Collier said the data was successfully made available to the ship’s Captain and, when satellite connectivity allowed, also uploaded simultaneously to the ‘cloud’ for review by the land-based project team. The transmission of data to the cloud from a ship at sea remains a real challenge to solve, moving forward.

“This trial has shown that technology is increasingly enabling new approaches to monitoring within the industry and increasing transparency around what happens on the ships.”

ScanReach CEO, Arild Sæle, says carrying out a trial with a successful outcome on the other side of the world during a pandemic was inspiring.

“Our Connect solutions are proven in other markets, but livestock transport is new to us,” Sæle said.

“Our aim to improve safety, sustainability, and enhanced performance through on-board wireless connectivity for the maritime industry fits perfectly with the industry, and we are truly grateful to have been a part of this trial.”

ScanReach’s solution was one of 100 technologies explored for the project. Three were shortlisted but due to COVID, LiveCorp was only able to trial one.

The project was funded through an Australian Government grant.

The final report can be viewed here.

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