AgriAce - Fault Alert
Whenever you put two IoT-passionate people in a room, it’s likely that they’re going to strike up an interesting conversation or two.
This is how Agtech Consultant Scott Glover met our Head of Technology Heath Raftery. The conversations didn’t end at a single Newcastle IoT Pioneers meet-up, however. Having a shared interest in the efficiencies of simple IoT product development, Heath and Scott recognised a project and a long-term partnership beginning to take shape.
A smart solution for a simple frustration
With a combined background in software development and cattle farming, Scott wasn’t going to let a problem faced on the farm remain unresolved - particularly where his passion for technology was concerned.
Similar to the frustrations experienced by our client South West Stone when monitoring cattle troughs, Scott like many other cattle farmers, found himself having to commit an unreasonable amount of time to manually monitor various electric fences running around his property. As stock will often escape a paddock when a fence fails, the need to employ consistent quality control is essential. Despite the daily importance of this measure, the tedious and time-exhaustive nature of electric fence monitoring is a frustratingly inefficient process.
Bespoke development for rapid manufacturing
To provide a solution for this widespread inefficiency, Scott developed a Proof of Concept for the AgriAce FaultAlert. Using a sensor-based IoT device, the FaultAlert communicates real-time electric fence quality and fault location data directly to the farmer's phone. The device’s connection capabilities are both long-range and low-powered due to the LoRaWAN network that the technology communicates within.
The long-range coverage and extended battery life achieved through LoRa technology is something Agtech providers are only beginning to trial within the Australian market. With an eye to getting ahead of the curve and provide the most accessible and easy-to-use product for his customers, Scott agreed to partner with NewieVentures in order to further develop his Proof of Concept into a manufacturable product ready for the market.
Through our deep understanding of product development from idea to commercialisation, we were able to further develop Scott’s prototype into a product that could be manufactured to stand the test of time before entering the market. Once this Minimum Viable Product was established, Scott had the confidence that the FaultAlert was at a standard and price-range best suited to his customers.
Agtech that doesn’t overcomplicate things
Although LoRaWAN technology is still in its infancy within the Australian Agtech market, the responses from FaultAlert product users foretell the rapid adoption projected to come. Over the course of its field trials, the AgriAce FaultAlert has made a significant impact on farming efficiency.
One customer from North Canterbury in New Zealand shared the story of their increased efficiency thanks to Scotts product:
“We are too busy to be traveling to different areas to test fence voltage every day and in the past would only realise we had a problem after cattle had done some damage, then the repair was a big job.
This would be the first year I have had no bulls out or mixed as we have been able to identify when we had a short and fix it quickly…The [AgriAce] system meets all of my expectations”
Tom Canterbury, North Canterbury New Zealand
It isn’t just our Eastern neighbours that are jumping aboard LoRaWAN connected IoT farming efficiencies. A promising growth in the the Australian market’s demand for these field-relevant LoRa technologies is taking place as well.
“LoRaWAN is gaining traction among Australian primary producers as a way for gathering data from around the farm to monitor and improve their operations” says Scott,
“Word got out and people were asking for a product themselves, so I decided to make it available to the public and I’ve been working on that for the past twelve months” he said.
Although Australian customers may take some time familiarising themselves with the installation and configuration of a LoRaWAN network on their farms, NewieVentures is pioneering to further integrate this technology and educate an increasing number of users in the wealth of efficiencies it can enable. The more innovators within the field adopting this technology, the greater the opportunities for technical understanding and on-site technology training will be.
Through working with rural innovators like Scott Glover of AgriAce and the team at South West Stone for their Trough Monitor, a compelling case for simple, IoT-enabled product design continues to present itself.
Do you wish to implement smart, customer efficient technology into your product? Is your prototype requiring some further development to ensure effective commercialisation?