December 19, 2017
Who needs Rudolph? LoRaWAN guides herders protecting connected reindeer
It’s dark in the forests of Lapland at this time of year. The sun peers above the horizon for only a few hours in the late morning. The snow lies heavy on the ground and in the branches of the tall pines. Jarno peers through the trunks, seeking a glimpse of the well-camouflaged black and white reindeer that are his herd. He, like his forefathers for three centuries before him, is a reindeer herder, travelling up to 40km each day following and protecting his animals throughout the bleak Lapland winter and greener summer. Unlike his forefathers, though, Jarno has technology on his side. Instead of relying on intuition and experience (though he has plenty of both), he is tracking his herd on his smartphone, thanks to a LoRaWAN communication network connecting GPS trackers around the necks of the animals. With its long-range coverage and extremely low power consumption offering long battery life, LoRaWAN is an ideal solution for tracking semi-wild herds that can roam free in herding districts covering one third of Finland. The reindeer are only gathered together by the herders twice a year, providing the sole opportunity for the trackers to be fitted or recharged.