Revolution in the beehive

Bees that communicate with the beekeeper? Yes, they exist. Deutsche Telekom is fighting bee mortality with a baby monitor for bees. And it's all made possible by a new wireless standard.

I t's hot in a beehive. About 35 degrees Celsius hot, to be precise. And bees are picky. Only one degree colder and swarm intelligence comes to a halt and everyone is suddenly completely unmotivated to work. But we have to forgive their nitpicking, because in a beehive about 40,000 workers create a true economic miracle on one and a half square meters of space. Greenpeace estimates the bees' annual economic output at around a whopping 265 billion euros. That figure is somewhere between the economic output of Chile and Finland! And here's another fact to wrap your head around: converted into distance, a bee has to fly around the Earth almost twice to get just one jar of honey.

Mysterious bee deaths

Still, a spate of mysterious bee mortality has been observed. Researchers have been trying to discover the reason for this for years, without success. That's why Deutsche Telekom teamed up with start-up company "BeeAndMe" to fight bee mortality - based on Narrowband IoT. - What's that, you say?

Mysterious bee deaths

Since several decades, more and more bee colonies die worldwide. In the USA and Canada their number has fallen by half.

Narrowband IoT is a new wireless standard that Deutsche Telekom is currently building throughout Europe. It was developed to spur on the Internet of Things. This new technology permits lots of connected devices per radio cell, and the high-quality transmission is guaranteed by licensed spectrum. The ingenious concept here is that Narrowband IoT achieves a large range with very low energy consumption. This is particularly well-suited for innovative applications such as the connected beehive, since beehives have no power supply and are often located in remote areas.

Beeandme –
The baby monitor for bees
A smart sensor measures weight, temperature, air pressure, and more. Thanks to this data, the beekeeper knows how healthy his bees are.

Bees to beekeeper, roger!

Beekeepers can now communicate with their bees over Deutsche Telekom's network. A sensor is placed into the beehive which measures temperature, air humidity, air pressure and the weight of the beehive. Just like a baby monitor, the sensor uses Narrowband IoT to let the beekeeper know if the bees aren't doing well: "Warning, the temperature is less than 34 degrees Celsius – the bees are freezing and need help." The correct air humidity is also important, for example for fighting varroatosis. This is a vexing bee plague caused by mites which thrive in a damp climate. They clamp on to the bees - like leeches. If the beekeeper knows that the air in the hive is too damp, he can quickly undertake countermeasures.

9 Innovation

Building a resilient infrastructure, advancing inclusive and sustainable industrialization and supporting innovation – That's the ninth sustainable development goal of the United Nations. The goal should be reached by 2030.

Our contribution

In Germany alone, Telekom spends about four billion euros each year to provide as many people as possible with a powerful internet connection – no matter whether they live in a large city of millions or in the countryside.

The project is a prime example of sustainable technology that can improve the ecosystem on our planet. Implementing such future-oriented projects requires a high-performance network, however. Every year in Germany alone, Deutsche Telekom invests about four billion euros in network infrastructure expansion, more than any of our competitors. We have also begun introducing the 5G future. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the spring of 2016, Deutsche Telekom presented the first fully functional model of a 5G network worldwide. 5G will provide 1,000 times higher capacity, 10 times better speeds, 10 times faster response time, and 1.5 times better mobility compared to conventional technologies. This is giving rise to entirely new prospects for new application areas, new business models and new jobs.

Deutsche Telekom is hence making a major contribution to the development of a reliable infrastructure for sustainable industrialization – the UN's ninth sustainable development goal.