Bringing down the risks of crop failure by using IoT technology
Example of riot7 dashboard
Farmers are discovering how to bring down the risks of crop failure by using IoT technology to reveal hidden secrets on their farms. riot7 are making it easy for farmers to do this everyday.
UK crop yields have been affected by adverse weather in recent years. Technology can’t change the weather, but it can provide a dashboard to reveal how crops, soil and livestock environments are performing. In some cases, having this information can make the difference between crop failure or preventative action. Introducing riot7, a company whose founders have been working for three years on making this technology accessible to UK farmers, and who are now offering affordable and easy to use solutions to provide farmers with the intelligence they need to make better management decisions.
riot7 farming solutions enable this intelligence by offering a range of wireless sensors to measure things of interest to a farmer; soil temperature, moisture levels, humidity, rainfall, ambient temperature and more. The sensors send data using a wireless technology that’s been used by military and space agencies for decades. Using this technology, a sensor can take measurements every twenty minutes, send data up to five miles away, and can operate on a single battery for up to ten years.
The sensors communicate with a gateway, installed on the farm, which relays the sensor data to riot7 where it is stored and made available to the farmer through a dashboard. Using the dashboard, a farmer can access information; for example,
- Alerts when temperature and humidity levels mean that conditions are ripe for a crop disease outbreak
- Track ‘Growing Degree Days’ to more accurately predict the stages of crop development and pest life cycles
- Monitor the conditions in barns and poultry units to ensure the temperature and humidity levels are within a specified range
The riot7 team have been working with this technology for farming customers and agritech innovation centres for three years. During that time they have repeatedly observed two challenges, which they believe have restricted the uptake of this type of technology. Firstly, where farmers have attempted to build these solutions themselves, sometimes part funded by government grants, they generally don’t have the IT knowledge to connect everything together in order to realise any value. Secondly, although there are a number of niche IoT solutions already on the market place, it seems that farmers could easily end up with several costly contracts to manage and several different dashboards and apps to use if they want to extend beyond the limits of one solution.
riot7 solutions are provided as fully configured solutions, which means that the sensors and gateways are already configured to send data to riot7 servers. The sensors just need to be positioned in suitable locations on the farm; they don’t need to be configured. The dashboards will display this data as soon as the sensors are positioned. Once up and running, riot7 keep watch to ensure everything is operating correctly.
riot7 solutions are extensible, which means a farmer may opt to start with just one or two sensors but can add additional sensors as the need arises, without having to sign up for another contract or use an additional dashboard. For example a farm may decide to start with soil sensors to monitor soil conditions, and then extend the solution to monitor conditions in a barn or poultry unit.
Future Space Guest Blog: Jack Thompson, Founder of Ginkgo Business Development
Jack joined the advisory_space programme earlier this year as our virtual in-residence Business Development and Sales specialist, providing expert advice and support to the Future Space community. We asked Jack why having a good network is so important for businesses.
An interview with Thanh Quan-Nicholls, Lead for the Digital Innovation Fund at UWE
Lead for the Digital Innovation Fund at the University of the West of England (UWE), Thanh caught up with us recently to talk about her role, some of the work the team do to support start-ups and SMEs, and their plans to expand the business support offering in 2021.
Future Space businesses joining the B Corp movement
Five weeks ago, three Future Space businesses joined the B Corp Business Impact Assessment (BIA) cohort with Andy Hawkins. They set out on a 10-week programme to complete their BIA, the first step on the journey to becoming a B Corp certified company. We caught up with Andy Hawkins (Chief Purpose Officer, Business On Purpose) to see how the first half of the programme has progressed.