Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

ThingWorx supports animal health monitoring for Vital Herd

Iain Morris
April 15, 2014

M2M platform developer ThingWorx has won a deal to support a remote monitoring service aimed at improving the health and nutrition of farm animals.

The service is being rolled out by Vital Herd, which specializes in providing software-as-a-service and remote-monitoring technologies in the agricultural sector.

The companies say the combination of their technologies will offer advanced intelligence and analytics to dairy and beef operations to improve animal health and nutrition management – which is largely done on the basis of visual observation today.

They cite research from the US Department of Agriculture indicating that about four million animals die each year in the US as part of dairy and beef production, with many more falling sick.

That amounts to billions of dollars in economic losses each year for US dairy and beef producers.

Vital Herd’s technology works by requiring each producing cow to ingest an “ePill” containing a sensor, which captures real-time vital-sign information from the animal throughout its lifetime.

The ThingWorx (Exton, PA, USA) platform is used to analyze the data and deliver it back to the producer in an understandable format.

The partners claim the data will provide insight into productivity-limiting illnesses, suboptimal nutrition programs and even environmental factors that could reduce production.

“Cattle health, nutritional and well-being management today is done largely by visually inspecting the animals throughout the day,” said Brian Walsh, the chief executive of Vital Herd. “This is a very inefficient way to identify problems because it relies on physical clues, which occur late when it is difficult and costly to reverse.”

“Being able to collect individual animal data economically that can provide early insights into sub-optimal health or nutrition is vitally important and can make a very meaningful impact in productivity,” he added.

ThingWorx says its platform will provide Vital Herd with a complete software development, runtime and intelligence environment – along with tools for rapid application building – so that Vital Herd can enhance applications without incurring additional expense.

“Vital Herd is a good example of how M2M technology can improve animal well-being,” said Russ Fadel, the president of ThingWorx. “Using ThingWorx, Vital Herd can quickly bring new capabilities to market, offering significant economic gain for the producers in addition to better animal productivity.”
 
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