BEFORE ‘internet of things’ (IoT) even entered our technological jargon, Dosec Designs was pioneering the smart farm.
The concept of connecting objects to allow them to send, receive and centralise data has been around as long as the radio, however the average person would be forgiven for buying into the marketing hype implying the IoT sector consisted of just recent start-ups.
Dosec Design, managing director, Ric Otton said the company had spent a decade developing instruments, sensors and telemetry platforms for agriculture, which are now sold in 47 countries, both on farms and for research.
There is nothing like being on a property and actually talking to a farmer and seeing exactly what they want to do and why they want to do it- Ric Otton
“The University of New England’s Smart Farm was our first big telemetry network,” he said.
Mr Otton said since then, the company has expanded on its product range, moving further into the automation market.
“We are involved in a project automating cotton irrigation and are at commercial deployment, and in greenhouses we have done work providing data from sensors and feeding it into existing systems,” he said.
“We are now working on misting of macadamias when conditions are hot, to prevent the trees from dropping their flowers.”
Mr Otton said his company aimed to continue building on their offering, identifying problems and automating responses, ultimately freeing up farmers for other work.
“Improved use of resources is our main driver,” he said.
Mr Otton said his company found working directly with farming businesses to provide solutions yielded benefits to its business.
“We have learnt over time that having a direct relationship with farmers means we learn a great deal,” he said.
“There is nothing like being on a property and actually talking to a farmer and seeing exactly what they want to do and why they want to do it.”
Dosec Designs, business development and engineering manager, Michelle Quaglia said it was important to tailor a solution depending on where the farm was based and its individual connectivity requirement.
“Our EnviroNode range is very modular, depending on your situation and what you need, things can be switched around,” she said.
“Take a broadacre scenario, such as controlling an irrigation channel, you may use a radio connectivity to close the valve, that is useful, reliable and affordable, you don’t need to go via the cloud.
“Then you can begin to build a locally controlled network of devices and maybe have one connected to the cloud so the farmer has a snapshot.”
Ms Quaglia said the devices can be used for a multitude of purposes, from irrigation to automating a drafting gate for cattle.
“All of this can be locally controlled and remotely managed and accessed,” she said.
“We focus on using our technology to be the platform.”
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