20 July 2018

Ranchers Tackle Cattle Theft Head on with Next-Gen Wireless Alarms

Blog Post
IoT securing farms

Powered by Sigfox’s IoT network, new technology provides a reliable option for ranch security that doesn’t depend on WiFi or cell service.


As long as there have been cattle ranchers, there has been cattle theft. It’s an age-old problem that persists, despite every effort to contain it. Worldwide, rustlers still cost ranchers millions of dollars in losses each year. Ranch security is an important tool in the fight against cattle theft, but the remoteness of ranches puts most high-tech security options out of reach. Until now.


The next-generation of wireless alarms finally gives ranches a high-tech solution to this age-old problem.



Cattle Industry Seeks Ranch Security Option that Meets Its Unique Needs


This might sound like a familiar situation: Imagine a mid-sized Texas rancher who is looking for a better way to protect his 700 head of cattle. Ten years ago, cattle theft in the area was at an all-time low, but with the price of beef on the rise over the past few years, cattle rustlers have returned in full force and many neighboring ranches have been targeted. Most thefts in the area are relatively small, with six or seven cattle loaded into a stock trailer in the middle of the night.


As any rancher knows, though, even a small loss hits hard, especially for a mid-sized operation. Knowing it is only a matter of time, the cattle rancher installs new padlocks on his gates and flood lights to surround them. But despite these efforts, rustlers finally breach his property. Undeterred by the floodlights and armed with a pair of bolt cutters, they cut the lock and make off with five cattle.


Even though the stolen animals were branded, they have yet to be recovered, and at this point he doubts they ever will. The rancher asks around, and a few people suggested installing gate alarms. But to his disappointment, all of the traditional gate alarm options are powered by 3G or 4G. Cell service is spotty across his ranch and particularly bad near the gate that was breached. He needs a solution that works well for his remote location.



Next-Gen Wireless Alarms Secure Even the Most Remote Ranch Gates

As luck would have it, the rancher attends a trade expo and hears about a new type of wireless alarm that isn’t dependent on WiFi or cell coverage.


Instead, the device connects to Sigfox’s global network dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT). This secure, global network was built specifically for this type of alarm application and other smart devices. It allows wireless security systems to function in even the most remote agricultural areas.


The rancher is still skeptical that this will work for his remote location, but he soon learns that unlike traditional alarm systems, this device doesn’t require a long-term contract. He can rent month-to-month.


Figuring he has nothing to lose by trying, he rents three devices, placing each one at a different gate. He is also happy to hear about other features that make this type of alarm ideal for the ranch. Each device has a range of ten to fifteen meters - roughly fifty feet - so he will be alerted if anyone tries to drive just off the access road and bypass one of his gates.


They are also specifically designed to be tamper-proof and durable enough for rugged outdoor environments. Their intelligent technology is exceptionally good at differentiating between human and animal movement, which is, of course, an important feature on the ranch.


Securing a ranch gate for a year with a next-generation wireless alarm is only a small fraction of the cost to replace stolen cattle. [CLICK TO TWEET]


Intelligent Alarms Offer a Powerful Return-on-Investment for Ranch Security


A few weeks go by, and the rancher largely forgets about his new wireless alarms. He’s glad to know they are there, but he’s too busy to give it much thought.


Then, one night around two in the morning, he gets an alert on his security system’s mobile app. The system has detected human activity near one of his gates. His dashboard has a picture and text label for each alarm unit, so when he sees the picture of the unit at his southernmost gate is flashing red, he heads in that direction. 

By the time he arrives, the rustlers are gone, having been scared away by the sound of the alarm.


He can still see the tire tracks where they sped out. They didn’t even manage to breach the gate, let alone steal any cattle. After experiencing how well this alarm works, the rancher decides to keep all three, and even orders one for his ranch house and another for his barn. As he suspects, word travels fast and rustlers never return to his property.



Read our full case study to learn more about how Sigfox’s global IoT network is changing the face of farm and ranch security:


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