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Bees gave teacher idea for hive of connected activity

CONNECtivity is a big buzzword in business - and now it is bees that are benefiting.

Hostabee is the first connected device that can be put into a hive so keepers can look after their bees by checking temperature and humidity levels via an app ( 

It is part of a growing market for connected objects that allow monitoring from a distance.

Hostabee inventor Maxime Mularz, based in Aisne, said: “This connected product is not a gadget but something practical which can be of real assistance to beekeepers at a time when many are losing their hives to disease and invasions from Asian hornets.

“Bees control their surrounding temperature at 33C in the summer, lower in winter, so any fluctuations show whether there is a problem. Certain fluctuations will mean the queen is starting to lay eggs, others will indicate a problem and so the beekeeper will be able to react accordingly. He will avoid unnecessary visits, but will know when it is urgent and may be able to save his hive before it is too late.”

Former maths teacher Mr Mularz gave up his job to dedicate his time to the business he started three years ago after spotting the usefulness of introducing technology into an area which usually has no dealings with the digital world. He now employs five people.

He sold 300 devices, currently priced at €96, last year and has 2,000 more in production - of which 1,800 have already been bought. He hopes to sell 300,000 in the next few years.

“This is realistic as there are 1.2million hives in France and 15million in Europe, so I am only aiming to equip a very small percentage of those hives,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Toulouse start-up has created a baggage tracker that does not use GPS. It was developed at the request of Louis Vuitton and is sold with its luxury Horizon luggage range for €250. Cédric Rosemont, chief executive of Axible (, says he hopes the price will eventually fall to make it affordable for all travellers: “The advantage of our system over a GPS locator is that it uses the Sigfox network, which means it uses little power, won’t need charging for six months and is small, only 10cm long, and fits easily into luggage. It uses an app to give information to the owner.”

Sigfox is an international low-power network which connects objects to each other and was also developed in Toulouse.

The most complex part of the development was to ensure it switched off during flights, in accordance with safety regulations. Mr Rosemont said: “We created complex algorithms to detect take-off and landing.”

The company was founded in 2007, has 18 employees and turned over €2.5million in 2017. It hopes to quadruple that in three years.  

Mr Rosemont said: “We are developing a system now for ports and container boats so that companies can track goods they are exporting. A boat may not leave on the scheduled day, and with this information the company can inform clients and give a reason for late delivery.”

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