Digital Innovation in Veterinary Medicine: CoDE, Zoetis and vHive

The recent revolutionary changes in data-management practices in livestock farming, driven by the continued intensification of livestock farming alongside the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), is another example of how the rapid technological advances that characterise the Digital Economy are changing the face of another business sector.

CoDE is as ever at the forefront of exploration of this ‘ecology of technology’, and a key driver for digital innovation in animal health. The new Veterinary Health Innovation Engine (vHive), established by Zoetis to link new science in animal health to technological opportunities represented by the IoT and other advances, was launched recently at the Vet School, and is a tremendous step forward for the partnership of Surrey, CoDE, and Zoetis.

CoDE is researching and advising on strategy for the thorny issues of data, ethics, and business that will help Zoetis push back the boundaries of innovation and advance the ‘OneHealth’ initiative.

The use of sensor-driven data collection in ‘Precision Livestock Farming’ now presents an excellent opportunity for the collection of big data, using automated data-capture methods which are stress-free for the animal, and efficient for the farmer.

The Data-Driven Business Model is applied in the context of precision livestock farming businesses, recognising the desired outcomes of using data and the challenges to be overcome in order for data-driven precision livestock farming businesses to succeed. There are a number of challenges regarding responsible use of data in order to meet the societal needs for increased food security, and consumer desire for increased traceability in the global food chain with improved animal welfare.[1]

CoDE is already experienced at helping the farming industry transition into Digital. We recently ran a ground-breaking workshop on the problem of loss of dairy heifer replacement calves; the complexity and interaction of factors in this area makes the challenge of improving heifer health and welfare highly suitable for a ‘big data’ approach.

This workshop considered the potential data sources that could be brought to bear to meet this challenge, appropriate modelling approaches, the barriers and incentives for achieving a big data solution, and the pathways to implementation. Key stakeholders, including leading dairy farmers, veterinary practices, the dairy industry, and retail interests were invited to participate and contribute experience and ideas. These groups were joined by innovation partners including Agrimetrics and the 5G Innovation Centre here in the Business Insights Lab.

What happens when Digital bumps into a traditional industry? Contact us to find out how CoDE is brokering the new partnerships of the Digital Economy.




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About the Author : Kris Henley

Communications and Outreach for Surrey Business School's Centre for the Digital Economy, a newly-founded research centre to explore the implications of the Digital Economy for business, government and society.