Digital technologies including wearables, apps, sensors and satellites promise to transform real-time information capture for animal owners and their veterinary advisors. This will enable improved understanding of animal health and early identification of problems in a similar manner to eHealth for people.
Furthermore, creation of digital platforms in animal health and the development of sophisticated machine-learning analytics will facilitate early warning surveillance of population threats such as the Schmallenberg virus and Bluetongue epidemics we have witnessed in recent years.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Alex Cook, Head of vHive at the University of Surrey, said: “This pioneering Centre has been created to serve as a science and technology smart business hub that will welcome the involvement of other partners – as observers, as participants in projects and as investors in the future of the Centre. We look forward to developing important, collaborative projects to utilise rapidly evolving digital technology.”
Dr Alejandro Bernal of Zoetis added: “From disease prevention to the management of health and wellbeing of animals, digital innovation is opening a new era in animal health, helping veterinarians and farmers to make more data-driven decisions. At Zoetis, we are delighted to be partnering with the University of Surrey as we can benefit from complementary areas of expertise, gathering information and building practical solutions to enable vets and farmers to perform even better in their business."
The University of Surrey has invested over £127 million in developing vHive, a truly multidisciplinary research environment that includes the 5G Innovation Centre, the Centre for the Digital Economy in the Surrey Business School and the new School of Veterinary Medicine. These combined resources provide a unique opportunity to harness the benefits of our digital age for the health and welfare of animals, their owners and wider society.
Partnering with Zoetis means that the Centre will have access to the company’s world-class capacities in developing innovative products and services and in translating new technologies into valuable tools for their customers.
The collaboration is supported with approximately £8.5 million co-investment in resources dedicated to the development and adoption of new technologies in animal health, as well as support from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership.
vHive was opened on 27 April 2016 by Professor G.Q. Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey and Dr Alejandro Bernal, Executive Vice President and Group President, Strategy, Commercial and Business Development at Zoetis. At the launch event speakers explained the critical importance of digital and data innovation to animal health. This collaboration follows the launch of Zoetis’s Centre for Digital Innovation in the heart of London’s Tech.