IoT enabled smart farm
Smart cows with IoT - Farmnote
Improving the productivity of cattle management
Farmnote is a technology startup that offers “smart farm” solutions. One key issue dairy and livestock farmers face when increasing the productivity of their farms is detecting illness and mating conditions among the cattle. Farmnote’s solution involves attaching sensors to the cattle and collecting data on their activity. The data is paired with clinical data in the cloud and artificial intelligence is used to analyze the state of each cow. The results are used to notify farmers with the information they need, creating a cattle management system that can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Mobile communications needed for a wide agricultural area
The Farmnote Color sensor device and Farmnote Air Gateway work with Bluetooth-enabled sensors on the cattle to push data to a gateway installed in a barn. Given that telecom infrastructure varies greatly by agricultural region, infrastructure needs to be tailored to each farm’s environment.
SORACOM Air can be installed anywhere and allows for mobile communication across a wide area, which was ideal for Farmnote’s needs, allowing them to integrate with the cloud even across vast farmland areas.
Remote management and flexible, scalable pricing plans
One great benefit of using SORACOM Air SIMs is the User Console. Soracom enables management of SIM cards on the web and start / stop communications for each device. Farmnote Air Gateway devices are installed in the barns of every customer. Pushing data over long distances with the ability to check communication status in real-time proved extremely convenient.
Another reason for choosing Soracom – pricing structure. Soracom enabled Farmnote to get started with minimal up-front investment as the data is metered and priced based on actual use. Farmnote’s customers run dairy and cattle farms of all different sizes, from a few cattle to several thousand. Other SIM carriers’ plans were based on fixed data volume, meaning smaller farms with lighter needs still needed to pay high rates per gateway.
With Soracom, data is metered based on actual usage, so Farmnote just pays the base rate for each gateway plus the cost of pushing data for each additional head of cattle. This greatly lowered the barrier to letting them offer a scalable solution.
Aggregating a greater variety of farming data and using technology to stimulate local regions
Farmnote is looking at SORACOM’s LoRaWAN™ initiative for low power wide area networks. There are limits on how far they can push data over Bluetooth, and there are installation costs associated with having a gateway in each barn. With LoRaWAN, Farmnote could offer a unified base station and push data across a wide area, reducing the burden on farms and supporting much wider coverage such as free-grazing farms.
Farmnote is also planning on developing a farmland cultivation platform and collecting productivity data on agriculture across the board to create a farm “brain” for global farming.