Russia’s Steppe Eagles Expose the Decades-Old Inhibitor Still Holding Back the IoT

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By Jamie Moss | 2Q 2020 | IN-5764


Sky High Roaming


One of the projects conducted by the Russian Raptor and Research and Conservation Network (RRRCN) is the tracking of 13 Steppe Eagles. As an endangered species, each bird is fitted with a cellular GPS tracker that records its location three times a day and reports back each reading via four Short Message Service (SMS) “text” messages. The project generates a total of 624 texts per day. Tracking the birds allows researchers to understand the dangers faced during their southerly migrations. Unsurprisingly, however, the eagles are prone to travelling to places that are not covered by a cellular network, in which case logged coordinates are stored for later transmission once the trackers reacquire a signal. With a migratory range of 8,000 miles, from as far south and west as Namibia in Africa to as far north and east as Inner Mongolia in China, the project relies heavily on roaming services and spans many countries not considered a priority by Internet of Things (IoT) service providers for normal enterprise customers.

One of the 13 eagles, named Min, spent much of its summer in 2019 in Kaza…

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