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June 27, 2013

Satellites and internet-enabled cows

Two interesting articles from the news this week

Satellites to bring ‘fast, cheap’ internet to ‘under-connected

The Age, 26/6/13

The first four of 12 satellites in a new constellation to provide affordable, high-speed internet to people in nearly 180 “under-connected” countries, were shot into space on Tuesday, the project’s developers said.

The orbiters, part of a project dubbed O3b for the “other 3 billion” people with restricted internet access, were scheduled to be lifted by a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kourou in French Guiana at 1854 GMT.

“We are very close to launching a network that has the potential to change lives in very tangible ways and that is a tremendous feeling,” O3b Networks chief technical officer Brian Holz said in a statement before the launch.

The project was born from the frustrations of internet pioneer Greg Wyler with the inadequacy of Rwanda’s telecommunications network, while travelling there in 2007.

“Access to the internet backbone is still severely limited in emerging markets,” Wyler said in unveiling the O3b venture in 2008 – promising multi-gigabit internet speeds to countries “whether landlocked in Africa or isolated by water in the Pacific Islands”.

“Only when emerging markets achieve affordable and ubiquitous access to the rest of the world will we observe locally generated content, widespread e-learning, telemedicine and many more enablers to social and economic growth, which reflect the true value of the internet,” he said
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/sci-tech/satellites-to-bring-fast-cheap-internet-to-underconnected-20130625-2ou8j.html#ixzz2XNQcFLfU

 

Cows on the internet as broadband brings new ways to the bush

Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6/13

As his HiLux ute bumped over hilly farmland outside Armidale, David Lamb kept a hand on the wheel and grabbed an iPad in the other to locate his herd of 50 ”smart” cows.

Each cow is fitted with a tag in its ear that transmits its location to a digital map of the property.

Pausing briefly to look at the screen, Lamb could see where each cow – represented by a number and an icon – was located on the 2800 hectare farm.

This internet of cows has captured the imagination of farmers and others, said Professor Lamb, professor of physics and precision agriculture at the University of New England, which runs the Kirby SMART [sustainable, manageable and accessible rural technologies] Farm.

Read more: http://m.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/cows-on-the-internet-as-broadband-brings-new-ways-to-the-bush-20130621-2oo7s.html

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