Kiwi cows are going online in a new initiative by Chinese tech company Huawei.
Its connected cows programme is currently being trialled on an undisclosed farm in New Zealand, with cattle wearing collars containing small "internet of things" (IOT) chipsets that it hopes will enable farmers to better monitor their stock.
The company's new chief executive, Yanek Fan, said this was one of the many future technology initiatives Huawei wanted to roll out in New Zealand in the coming years.
He saw connected cows as being complimentary to other agricultural advances, such as robotic milking sheds, with the key benefit being real-time data collection and analysis.
Farmers would be able to drill-down into the data of specific animals and track factors like their temperature, any abnormal behaviour and when they were ready to mate. They would be able to do this from their phones at anytime, potentially from anywhere.
"We think heavily about the internet of things [at Huawei] because one day our customers will not only be the people -- they will be the sheep and the cows and the chickens," he said.
The connected cows programme was already proving a success in Europe, where farmers were seeing increased dairy yields as a result.
"[Farmers] will find the right time to send the cows to mate otherwise they miss the whole season and the cows will only eat and produce less," Fan said.
"More and more we are thinking about not only cows, because the water quality should be better and the grass quality should be better and everything can be done by the internet of things."
Fan, who has been in the role for just over three months having previously held executive positions for Huawei in the Czech Republic and Poland, said such technology would become ubiquitous with the inevitable rollout of the as-yet undefined 5G wireless system.
He anticipated 5G -- essential to IOT products like driverless cars -- would start to begin making its mark from mid-2018, when international communications collective the 3rd Generation Partnership Project was expected to set the parameters for the technology.
"Even two or three years ago, I never though Huawei would have any connection with agriculture and ten years before I never though Huawei would sell smartphones," Fan said.
Huawei was also currently in talks with Auckland and Wellington city councils about fitting garbage and recycling bins with sensors to detect how full they were, which could mean time and cost savings.
"[The sensors] can then inform the garbage management company whether the can is full or not. And if it's full or reaches some percentage, then the people can come and manage the garbage," he said.
Huawei's New Zealand market share in the networking and telecommunications equipment and services space was currently about 10 per cent and Fan said this was growing "very fast".