May 17, 2020

Lightning Round: Fondue, Tesco, and Kitty Cafés

Lightning Round
Hello Kitty Cafe
Frazer Jones
2 min
Lightning Round: Fondue, Tesco, and Kitty Cafés

Nobody can argue the fact that Tesco has had an all-around troubling year. But can price cuts and incentives bring back profits for the Christmas seas...
  • Nobody can argue the fact that Tesco has had an all-around troubling year. But can price cuts and incentives bring back profits for the Christmas season? It’s potentially possible, but it’s going to be tough. Still, with competition gaining traction, Tesco has no other option than to try. ~ Reuters
  • Today in unique burger news from Japan: Burger King Japan is launching Chicken Fondue and Beef Fondue burgers, which will come with a cup of white wine and cheese sauce for dipping your burger in. We want some of that right now. ~ Perez Hilton
  • A Hello Kitty Café may be in the works in California, but in other parts of the world it’s already being fully realized. The latest area to be blessed with the opening of a Hello Kitty Café is Australia—a new location just opened its doors in Chinatown Adelaide this week. ~ Cat Channel
  • The soy protein and lentil-packed Cheerios Protein must be selling pretty well, because General Mills is exploring the trendy health-conscious side of breakfast cereal once again. According to a new report, General Mills is preparing to launch a new Cheerios + Ancient Grains version fortified with quinoa, spelt, and Kamut wheat. ~ Business Insider
  • One of the most prominent arguments against taking organic farming techniques out of niche markets and into the mainstream is that it’s not as productive and would lead to availability problems. But according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley, organic agricultural systems are proving to be just as productive as conventional systems. ~ Civil Eats


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Jun 21, 2021

Tech firm BestBees helps honey bees with remote monitoring

Helen Adams
3 min
Honey bees are struggling. Tech firm like Best Bees and ApisProtect are using remote monitoring to help them rise again

The global honey industry was worth an estimated $9.2b in 2020. Out of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the world's population, 70 of them are pollinated by bees. In addition, 1.4b farming jobs, depend on the pollination of crops carried out by bees. 

Bees are vitally important to planet earth and everyone on it - but they are in danger. Between April 2019 and 2020, 43% of US hives were lost. Bee hives have been devastated by:

  • Parasites
  • Pesticides
  • Climate change

Tech firms have taken on one of the world’s oldest occupations, beekeeping, in order to maintain the welfare of the the mighty bumblebee. 


Best Bees Company bumbles forward

US business, Best Bees Company, was shocked at the plight of the American bee colonies.

Best Bees install hives and then use an advanced software system to monitor and record the health of each bee hive.

"We are looking at why thriving beehives live", said Wilson-Rich, chief scientific officer at Best Bees. "We need to understand why they're doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits... it is telling us how the bees are actually doing."

Best Bees also harvests and bottles the honey for the property owners, of where the hives sit, to enjoy.

The data is being shared with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers are trying to understand and assist the bees in their duty.


Tech saves beekeepers time and labour 

The Irish business ApisProtect is also utilising technology to help the bees, through their wireless in-hive sensors, which transmit data.

"We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data," said  Fiona Edwards Murphy, chief executive "What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead."

The technology means beekeepers no longer have to manually inspect hives, which saves time and effort and allows the bees to go about their business uninterrupted. 

"In a commercial operation only about 20% of hives at any given time need intervention," concludes Edwards Murphy. "The problem is that beekeepers don't know which 20%. They literally go out and pick around a hive to see if it's the one they should be looking at. What we do is enable them to get a picture of what's happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping."

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