Cisco Launches ‘Internet of Fish’ Initiative, Spawning New Opportunities to Connect the Unconnected

April 1, 2015 - 24 Comments

There’s no doubt that the Internet of Everything will have profound implications for all of the world’s industries. However, the vast majority of these industries are located on land, leaving the two-thirds of the Earth covered in water with minimal Internet connectivity.

With that, no greater opportunity exists to “connect the unconnected” than in the geographic area that has largely been untapped: the world’s bodies of water.

That’s where Cisco comes in.113352_340x193_CEC-Thumb

Today, Cisco is announcing a new global initiative that will provide the infrastructure necessary that will allow consistent Internet connectivity from sea to shining sea:

The Internet of Fish.

With an estimated 32,000 species of fish capable of connectivity around the globe, the possibilities when connecting millions of fish to the Internet become staggering. By attaching WiFi sensors and RFID tags to fish, Cisco is beginning the journey to create one enormous mesh network that provides solid connectivity all the way around the globe.

Initially, the project will be used to monitor and regulate some of the world’s largest and most distressed fisheries for sustainability reasons. From there, the program will be extended to more species with the ultimate goal of creating one giant Wi-Fi network – the more connected fish, the stronger the Wi-Fi signal becomes.

Select Engineers Kick Off the Tagging

Beginning today, Cisco employees will start the historic task of placing sensors on fish. Dubbed “Fish and Chips,” this is an exciting opportunity for select engineers around the country, who will begin tagging fish in their nearest oceans, lakes, rivers, and bays.

The specialized sensors—designed over the past two years—are non-lethal, biodegradable, and otherwise non-harmful. Specially trained fish engineers will manually tag the first wave of fish. Depending on the success of the signals, Cisco plans to “feed” the additional sensors and RFID tags to fish via extremely tiny sensors that will become ingested and then embedded in their intestines.

And although technically a mammal and not a fish, whales are part of the Internet of Fish initiative as well, as they will be tagged with larger Wi-Fi routers that connect all of the sensor-embedded fish.

Cisco’s fish-tagging efforts will begin in some of the world’s largest bodies of water, then continue in global streams, straits, gulfs, wetlands, inlets, sloughs, ponds, canals, 113352_300x275_WEX-Thumbharbors, gullies, channels, deltas, lagoons, hatcheries, bayous, bogs, lochs, brooks, waterfalls, tributaries, marshes, reservoirs, swamps, creeks, moats, puddles of water and kiddie pools.

Internet of Everything Value at Stake Skyrockets to $22.5 Trillion

The Internet of Fish (IoF) creates an even bigger financial opportunity that currently exists. Cisco currently estimates the Internet of Everything is poised to generate $19.9T in potential economic ‘value at stake’ exists over the next 10 years for private and public sectors.

However, when factoring in all the connected opportunities enabled by the Internet of Fish, new estimates released today calculate that the IoF will increase the financial opportunities by an additional $3,302,822,708.77 over that same time.

Many industries are expected to benefit tremendously from Cisco’s Internet of Fish initiative. Sailors and ocean-faring vessels will now be able to conduct Internet commerce and easily communicate with anyone around the world – let alone watch the latest movie hits – without any interruption. Scientists and researchers will be able to better conduct research in undersea stations and submarines for biological and environmental studies. And, most importantly, private watercraft will have more reliable means of sending distress signals and being located in the event of an emergency.

Initially, the project will monitor some of the world’s largest fish species such as tuna and salmon. Cisco engineers will then monitor crustaceans like scallops and shrimp, keeping an eye on the health of the Connected Fish so that fishermen can avoid catching unhealthy fish.

FishTime Initiative Makes the Internet of Fish Fun for Families

What’s most exciting is what will happen at Cisco. Engineers will equip about 10 percent of the fish with chips that also include mini cameras. From your desktop, you’ll be able to enjoy your own live aquarium, beginning in FY16.

Cisco plans to sell this Internet of Fish solution—called FishTime—to consumers around the world beginning in Q3 FY16. This will be an excellent way for schoolchildren to experience the underwater world without leaving their desks, and a new way for families to bond over screen time.

You can also help. Once we’ve equipped the first wave of fish with sensors—and have conducted testing—Cisco volunteers can take part with this massive global undertaking. This will likely be the sensor “feeding” portion of the initiative.

Cisco is currently looking for volunteers to help with this massive global undertaking. Anyone interested in helping tag fish can do so by contacting

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  1. congratulation! wish you success

  2. Cute! I know that connected cows are used to help farmers so could be useful. If you solve the technology working in water issue you’ll have a real tech success!

  3. The funny thing about this is that it’s not unbelievable…. Which says a lot about Ciscos blogging (marketing) approach

  4. Good one, almost got me !

  5. You almost fooled me!

  6. Great April Fools Joke… Although I was secretly hoping that I could hook up an RF finder to a fishing rod and actually catch something for once!

  7. April Fool!

  8. I was explaining the science of this to my wife until the last sentence!!! Hilarious!!! Having recently joined the efforts at Cisco here in Raleigh, I was open for anything!!

  9. Thanks for the thoughtful comments and posts on the subject. Hope you all had a wonderful April Fool’s Day today!

  10. Will it be RFC 1149, 2549 and 6214 compliant at this point or is that in the works?

    • Hi James. I would expect IPv6 support in the foreseeable future, but I don’t think avian carriers are sustainably compatible with the fish devices.

  11. Will FishTime be available as an Apple Watch app?

  12. Internet of Fish: would you like UCS chips with that?

  13. Internet of Fish: will it Scale?

  14. Additional Internet of Fish services planned include: Ethernet Enabled Loadbalancing (EEL), Collaboration on Demand (COD), and TelePresence Utilizing Native Access (TUNA). Can’t wait!

  15. a colleague of mine is a sailor. potentially, these internet-connected fish enable wifi out at sea, a kind of fish wifi, that will truly connect the un-connected (ships at sea, sailors, pirates, mermaids). this becomes a worldwide mesh of connectivity. fantastic!

  16. I personally think having this kind of internet coverage will be useful for providing free Internet access to everyone. Kudos to Cisco for taking a leap forward on this. I’d happily volunteer for Fish and Chips project if I was SCUBA certified.

  17. Give a man an internet connected fish and he can browse the web for a day; but teach a man to internet connect fish…

  18. is it April fools or real ?

  19. Are you kidding me? When I first read this I was happy to see that we could track our depleting resources and hopefully catch illegal fishing. Then when I read that fish would be used to build out connectivity I was APPALLED.
    I hope Sea Shepherd comes after you.

  20. Most excellent!

    I should note that this dovetails nicely into the joint Microsoft/Cisco Cross-Animal Technical Project (CATP) from 2 years ago: