Scottish Sea Farms trials ultra-fast 5G network

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SSF connects fish farms to 5G as part of a pilot project with U.S. tech giant Cisco Systems.

BBC Click TV – the networks’ flagship tech programme – visited an SSC site to see the benefits of the tech. The 5th generation of mobile internet connectivity is superfast and offers more reliable connections.

The trials, which began at the Leroy-owned salmon farmer in July, will see key metrics such as seawater temperature and centre levels monitored using internet-connected sensors relayed wirelessly to a Cisco data centre.

5G RuralFirst is a co-innovation project led by Cisco alongside principal partner University of Strathclyde and a consortium of other partners from across business, government, and academia. On the 5g Rural First site, the initiative wrote that “limited connectivity” on the rural islands could stifle sustainability.

“Farmed salmon is not just Scotland’s biggest food export, Scottish farmed salmon is the UK’s largest food export by value, and therefore a major contributor to our national economy. Despite this being a tech-heavy industry, deployment today is seriously constrained by limited connectivity. We will use IoT sensors to measure parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature inside and outside of the salmon cages. This is vital as exceeded parameters can pose a serious risk of death to the fish stocks,” it wrote.

Scottish Sea Farms regional location manager Richard Darbyshire explained to the BBC that the super-fast cellular network tech can help current sensors to be even more precise.

“The equipment had to be ‘Orkney-fied’ originally to make it more robust and to stand up to the winter weather that we get here,” said Darbyshire.

“It can get pretty wild in December and January – it can peak at wind gusts of up to 140mph. But we’ve come through that – we have some good equipment out on the [salmon] pens and we are getting some really good data.”