Globalstar Europe Satellite Services has announced that Spotter has deployed over 12,000 of its animal-tracking collars.
These highly innovative satellite IoT devices, which are based on GlobalStar’s SmartOne C and SPOT Trace tracking technologies, are being used in Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The systems are used to track and safeguard horses, including high-value competitive racehorses.
The deployment of over 12,000 animal-tracking collars shows a high growth rate from the 1,000 Spotter devices deployed in January 2020 – with up to 240,000 horses now protected. Horses are part of daily life in Central Asia and horseracing is a major sport in Mongolia. However, with the sparsely populated nation’s 4.5 million horses roaming fence-free, keeping tabs on the animals is a major challenge for owners.
Founded in 2014, Spotter continues to satisfy the region’s high demand for highly capable and far-reaching technology solutions that can monitor the location of millions of horses. These animals are semi-wild, and free to range across vast expanses to graze.
Spotter has deployed 9,000 SmartOne C-fitted collars and 3,000 built on SPOT Trace. Requirements differ among customers. Racehorse owners, wanting to keep particularly close watch over their valuable equines, appreciate SPOT Trace’s hourly tracking.
Meanwhile, owners of family herds and those who use horses for transport, meat and milk value the extended tracking duration and lower device maintenance enabled by SmartOne C’s long battery life. The horses typically roam in herds of around 30, with one lead stallion keeping the animals together and providing protection. As a result, the group can be effectively monitored with just one collar.
Further building on its ongoing success, Spotter has just delivered yet further innovation, meeting ever-evolving market demands, with the launch of its new dual-mode solution.
Spotter has created a new hybrid collar which leverages Globalstar satellite communications along with radio transmissions to create a low-cost solution that makes it possible for owners to track individual horses as well as a herd.
“We’ve already addressed one of the biggest challenges that horse owners face, namely the location of a herd. But sometimes individual horses break away from their group, and owners are keen to locate them,” explains Tsogbadrakh Surenjargal, Spotter’s Co-Founder.
For example, whenever a herd owner tries to introduce new individual horses, such as a recently purchased animal, or if the owner attempts to merge herds, typically it takes time for the new members of the herd to ‘fit in’. With group instinct not yet established, often a new arrival is temporarily ostracised by its fellow horses before being accepted – and on occasion, it can even run away.
During this transitional integration period, the owner still needs to know the whereabouts and condition of the newer herd member, even if it has travelled and is distant from the rest of the group. Racehorses, prized animals which can be more highly strung than leisure or utility horses, can also be a particular flight risk.
Until recently, if a horse has strayed from its group, the owner was unable to know which one it was, or where it has travelled. Now, Spotter has developed a new hybrid IoT device that can be connected to SmartOne C. It can be fitted on specific at-risk horses and, as a result, the owner can know if the individual animal has roamed away from the herd. The system can track the breakaway horse up to a one-kilometre radius, giving the herdsperson the opportunity to locate and retrieve the animal before it has travelled too far.
The radio signals from collars on these solo straying horses are relayed to the Globalstar network via Globalstar’s SmartOne C devices, and complement satellite-enabled IoT signals: “The combination of satellite and radio signals makes our new solution very cost-effective, and we believe this means more herd owners will have the ability to benefit,” Surenjargal added.
The introduction of analytics to help discover optimum grazing areas is in Spotter’s technology and applications roadmap. Furthermore, Spotter believes that the requirements for its technology solution will expand far beyond horse-tracking. Spotter’s collars are already being used to track and monitor livestock, including cattle, sheep and goats, but are additionally helping conservationists to protect wildlife.
“Spotter continues to demonstrate its unstinting commitment to innovate in order to meet customers’ ever-evolving needs,” commented Mark O’Connell, Globalstar General Manager for EMEA & APAC.
“We offer huge congratulations to Spotter for its phenomenal success, and we are so proud to enable such pioneering satellite IoT solutions for horse owners across Central Asia to help them safeguard their cherished herds,” he added.
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