Telstra launches IoT pilot in Queensland to gather more accurate weather data

In a bid to help local farmers manage the effects of weather and climate change, Telstra has partnered with the Queensland government and the Bureau of Meteorology on the project.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Telstra has teamed up with the Queensland government and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to run an Internet of Things (IoT) pilot program to help local farmers gain access to more accurate weather forecasts so they can manage the effects of weather and climate change on their farms.

As part of the pilot's first phase, 55 IoT weather stations will be deployed to existing Telstra mobile network sites, private farms, and at the Department Agriculture and Fishers' research facilities in the Lockyer Valley, Esk, Gatton, Toowoomba, Cecil Plains, and Darling Downs areas, to gather "hyper-local" weather data.

Once the data is collected, Telstra Technology Development and Solutions executive Channa Seneviratne said it would be checked, cleaned, and organised before it's passed on to BoM to develop hyper-local weather forecasts for the region.

The data collection and trial phases will run until late 2021, with Telstra saying the data will be freely available to project participants via the Telstra Data Hub.  

"Our hope is that the trial can develop an economically sustainable service that helps Queensland agribusiness, and also enable us to develop a sustainable and equitable partner model to eventually deploy the thousands of IoT weather stations to enhance our regional economy and international competitiveness," Seneviratne said.

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner added more accurate weather forecasts and localised weather observations will help farmers better manage their farms.

"Access to better local weather data will support improved management decisions on crop production, labour and the supply chain," he said.

"Agribusiness is a weather-dependent business. Access to highly localised weather observations and forecasts will give agribusiness improved insights to the local weather."

Back in 2018, Telstra partnered with "major water utilities" on its Digital Water Metering IoT solution in an effort to prevent water wastage and bring down customer bills. 

Telstra launched its NB-IoT network in January during CES 2018, with the company touting at the time the NB-IoT network would provide connectivity for IoT devices with smaller packets of data being sent, such as sensors in the mining, agricultural, transport, logistics, manufacturing, and industrial IoT industries.  

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