The Internet of Things and Agriculture with EcoThought

Truis has developed a reputation for early engagement with customers working on very complex issues. Recently we were engaged with Ecothought solving some unique IT problems with big data and reducing costs in agriculture.

EcoThought is the Australian-owned brainchild of Slade and Marjolein Beard. They specialise in the analysis and design of sustainable human systems based on the integration of technology to meet human needs. This results in the creation of environments which are sustainable, not only in terms of their environmental impact, but also in their ability to sustain comfortable human life.

The EcoThought Farm

The EcoThought Farm was established as a testbed for the development and testing of technologies that support the creation of smart farms which reduce farm input costs.

Consider the costs of running a remote million-acre property; Labour, fertiliser, feed, and stock on properties of this scale are driving farmers out of business or forcing large properties to be carved up into hobby farms that are not producing much.

EcoThought develops technologies that allow the reintroduction of agriculture to traditional properties. These technologies enable low-cost automation – essentially, an Internet of Things (IoT) integrated farming operation.

Networking and IoT

LoRaWAN is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national, or global networks, and targets key IoT requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility, and localisation services. LoRaWAN is especially effective at long-range, bi-directional communications, low data rate, and is low cost making it ideal for IoT applications and industrial automation of low-power, battery-operated sensors.

EcoThought is currently testing battery-powered sensors which measure various environments and communicate the condition to the remote homestead using a LoRaWAN networking protocol, in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server.

Imagine our million-acre property where it takes a week to inspect each water trough once. Now introduce sensors that detect the water level of every trough and wirelessly communicate the values to a remote homestead using low battery power.

These sensors can be used to monitor water quality in the trough, or take a photograph in case something that might pollute or poison the water has fallen into the trough; sensors that detect whether farm gates are open or control sprinkler systems and measure water flow; sensors that measure water consumption against an allowance, even ground sensors that measure moisture level, or weather stations that report on rain, wind, and temperature.

All this is possible and can drive down much of the cost of running very large properties, possibly returning them to profitability, financial viability and sustainability. The sensors simply communicate with the homestead server via gateway devices, there data is analysed and consolidated with data from other properties.

More than just Agriculture

Truis engaged with EcoThought to simplifying the procurement and solution design for the networking hardware, servers and software for the projects.

EcoThought’s Farm and mission is one that can easily be applied to many industries and it’s easy to see how the principles can be extended to other applications –the concepts can be applied to industrial sites, shopping centres, or mining operations. EcoThought is on the threshold of revolutionising large-scale agriculture, perhaps the same technology can revolutionise your business?

Want to see how we can help you? Contact Truis on 1800 777 111

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4 Key Drivers of the Future Workplace

The modern workplace is changing. With the change in working conditions around the world, businesses are looking to make a flexible change for their employees with working from home. Here are 4 key drivers that signal change in the workplace.

There’s change happening, as we speak the landscape of the professional workplace is in a state of transformation from the traditional cubicle-centric space, to one that’s decentralized and mobile. The acceleration of technological development in recent years has paved the way for this transformation that is now inevitable across all business sizes and industries. There are four key elements that are driving this move to the modern workplace – an office of the future that is becoming increasingly device-centered.

Millennials

Pew Research Centre reports that millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 20251. Meanwhile, the number of retirees is growing at a rate more than double that of people entering the workforce. Millennials are digital natives, that is, they’re people who’ve grown up in an environment where the internet, social media and smart devices are ever-present. These demographical trends will create a considerable gap in the workforce which will facilitate young, tech savvy professionals having a strong, highly prevalent influence on the manner and means in which work is performed. These younger generations have high expectations for the devices and tools they utilise at work, expectations that align with their personal lives where they place a premium on accessibility and flexibility.

Mobility

With the changing demographics of tomorrow’s workforce, the line between personal life and professional life is becoming increasingly blurred. 81 per cent of workers now handle work activities during their personal time2, creating demand for greater mobility from their devices with the ability to access business applications and data remotely. With the right tools, employees can work anywhere and anytime without being confined to a particular space, a transformation that’s quickly turning work into an activity as opposed to a place.

Collaboration

On average, 60% of desks are vacant within an office3 due to a multitude of factors. As workplaces digitally transition, employees need the devices necessary to collaborate among colleagues, departments and even industries. To facilitate a mobile, flexible and connected workforce employees need tools that enable efficient communication and project execution, connectivity that can create competitive business opportunities and software that underpins these needs but also assists productivity and business efficiencies.

Security

Security is the glue that enables mobility and collaboration to function. Devices need to be optimized in a way that keeps them secure from foreign and familiar threats that include, but aren’t limited to, stolen devices, ransomware and visual hacking. Furthermore, for businesses to maintain efficiency these security measures must be easy to deploy, while also having the ability to synchronize efficiently with business-driven initiatives and end-user needs.

An evolving workplace is essential to staying competitive in today’s digital world, achieving tomorrow’s workplace means planning and implementing today, and Computer Merchants’ Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model can give your business the technology and services necessary to accommodate and embrace mobility, collaboration, security and the millennial impact.

Give us a call and learn how, through managing your devices, we can help you create agile workflows and business processes built for change and mobility that will equip you with the tools for tomorrow, today and allow you to use technology to manufacture strong, intuitive connections between your staff and devices.

1 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers
2 The Evolving Workplace: Global Trends, Hewlett Packard Development Company, 2017
3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=80&v=Z9bTeU3VwIw

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