Partnering opportunity

Romanian company seeks the integration of its farming management system with other complementary systems.

Summary

A Romanian company specialized in precision agriculture developed a modern farming management concept using digital techniques to monitor and optimize agricultural production processes. The system is a compact integrated hardware and software device, which provides in real-time critical information about soil, air and light parameters, fundamental to the development of various crops. The company is searching partners for integration with other complementary monitoring systems.

Partner sought

The company is looking for partners from research or industry, involved in the environmental sector or precision agriculture. The establishing long-term relations must focus on integration with other complementary monitoring systems. In addition, the partner should have expertise in the future of farming in Europe and experts for culture in greenhouse, viticulture or pomiculture.

Description

The Romanian company delivers high-performance Internet of Things (IoT) solutions on a single platform integrating different technologies, communication protocols and sensors to respond to the connectivity requirements that companies and the public sector need to meet in areas like environment, smart city, smart building, industrial control, logistic, security, media and casino management. As a proof of service quality solutions, it has over 150 customers worldwide. Now, the company offers an application that delivers comprehensive real-time information about the environment and development conditions at different phenological stages of crops, fruits and vegetables, based on which proactive treatment, planned fertilization, seeding, and harvesting could be achieved. Collecting information from sensors, the system monitors vital soil, air, and light parameters, sends the information to a central unit where the database is located and where the processing is performed and alerts to changes according to predefined levels and identifies patterns with predictive value for the most common disease, insect damage, and weed pressures. In a practical embodiment, the system consists of a base station to which different types of sensors are connected; the station communicates to a remote central unit through a gateway using the wireless technology best suited for IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications, long range low power (LoRa). There are several key elements which prevailed in the selection of this technology: the long range (15 – 20 km) that allows long distance monitoring, the high number of nodes that may be connected (theoretically – millions) and the consumption: LoRa technology is supported by circuits requiring very low power levels, thus the battery life may exceed 10 years. The base station is build around a very low power consumption microcontroller, however, to provide an energy reserve for a multiple sensor platform and future improvements, a redundant power scheme was considered. This allows the use of a mains independent power supply fed by solar cell buffered by rechargeable battery. The application hosted by the server can be accessed by mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) or desktop computers. It displays the values of the measured parameters, but can process the data to offer more information. The key monitored parameters are the following: - air temperature; - air relative humidity; - CO2 concentration; - harmful compounds in air; - rain amount; - light intensity; - wind speed and direction; - soil temperature and relative humidity; - soil potential of hydrogen (pH); - electro conductivity; - macronutrients. The basic kit contains: - 1 module that monitors the air, soil and light parameters; - 1 gateway that acquires data and transmits it to the server; - 1 server; - 1 device for displaying the data (tablet, desktop PC, smartphone). The company is seeking international growth for increased business opportunities and market diversification. Thus, it seeks partners with other complementary monitoring systems (satellites, drones, etc.) that can be integrated into various application domains: - Irrigation installations for agricultural crops, fruit trees, vines; - Installations for herbicides and fertilizers; - Ventilation, dehumidification, lighting or fire extinguishing systems (agricultural farms). Besides the benefits of this innovative and highly versatile solution, the partners can apply for funding through the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020 programme.

Advantages and innovations

The present solution uses unlicensed radio frequency band, so the users do not have to care about radio licenses. Operating temperature range from -40˚C to +85˚C. Estimated lifetime is minimum 10 years. The product provides wireless transmission by using two different technologies: - LoRa, which enables long range communication, the ability of the signal to pass through the walls, metallic structures makes it suitable for use in covered greenhouses, underground wine cellars, silos. - Wi-Fi, suitable for locations with standard Wi-Fi coverage. Only one base station can assure the monitoring of the parameters for an area of 0.5 ha; since they can be interconnected in a mesh network topology that can easily cover more than 500 ha. The temperature and humidity are measured simultaneously. These two parameters provide measurement areas from -25 °C to +85 °C, respectively from 0 to 100% humidity, under certain conditions. Moreover, the sensors provide valid measurements for at least 5 years, with admitted errors of +5% / - 5% (for humidity) and below 1°C (for temperature). The light intensity is determined by a highly precise sensor, which is equipped with both infrared radiation and full-spectrum diodes. The device is ideal for determining light intensity in any season. Soil moisture is determined by a sensor that measures the soil’s volumetric water content in the range between 0-58% VWC but this range can be extended to a full spectrum (0-100%). Soil temperature is obtained with a resistive analog sensor that provides readings between -50 °C and +200 °C, which covers the normal range in agriculture domain. pH is measured ranging from 0 to 14. For a high accuracy and efficient data processing, the system also uses other information such as: solstices and equinoxes, moon phase calendar and solar calculator. These data are useful and should be considered by the automatic irrigation systems because that watering should not be done in a sunny day.

Development stage

Already on the market

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patents granted


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