“I run around chasing the information I need to make decisions.”
When asked how they spend their day during growing season, most growers will give you a variation of this response. A few days of rain, it’s high alert for disease conditions. A dry week, better get an extra spray on. A chance of frost, say goodbye to a good night’s sleep.
So, when we sat down with our engineers to design Sensing+ for Agriculture™, developing a simple way to deliver important weather information was top of the list. Fast forward to today and we think we’ve cracked a really simple, effective way to achieve this using in-app notifications.
For those yet to familiarise themselves with Sensing+™, it’s an ecosystem of hardware, in the form of sensors and a communications gateway, software, via our secure Microsoft cloud platform, and apps – both mobile (on your phone) and web-based (on your laptop or desktop computer).
The first step in a Sensing+™ deployment is to have our hardware professionally installed on your farm. We then connect your sensor data to our cloud, and start recording all your important growing conditions, including:
· Air temperature
· Wind speed and direction
· Relative humidity
· Total solar radiation
· Photosynthetic active radiation
· Soil moisture and temperature (at multiple depths)
· Leaf & berry wetness
· Air pressure
Once your sensor data is encrypted and sent to our data platform, we apply analytics and artificial intelligence to create 7-day predictions for your farm. Sensing+™ also provides water balance insights like ETo and ETc by combining multiple conditions with data modelling.
As well as seeing your conditions for today, tomorrow and the week ahead, there will be times when you need to know something as it happens, or is imminent. This is where setting notifications in the mobile app becomes incredibly useful.
The basic premise of notifications is that you, as a grower, determine which conditions or events you need to be aware of and their location. (Your farm is set up in blocks as identified by you during install). You then create a simple notification in the app, and decide how you want to be informed when these conditions are reached. You can choose to have a badge notification on your phone (suitable for all the things you need to know but don't don't require immediate action), or you can have a text message delivered (for conditions that require urgent attention).
Here’s a few common scenarios where you might use notifications in Sensing+™.
1. When wind speed and/or direction impacts irrigation. If the wind picks up or changes direction in a certain area, half your crop misses out on water. Create a notification to say: when the wind reaches X k/ph and is blowing X direction, send me a text message.
2. Adverse spraying conditions. The app can also let you know when spray conditions are adverse by setting a notification that combines wind speed and Delta-T.
3. Approaching disease conditions. If leaf wetness is at X% for 24 hours, send a text notification so you have time to protect the crop before a disease outbreak.
4. Monitoring soil moisture levels. If soil moisture reaches X% at depth 1, send a badge notification, so you can fit in an extra water, or extend the duration of planned irrigation.
In the Notifications section of the app itself, you can choose to Action Now or Dismiss. If you Dismiss but choose to keep the notification turned on, it will reappear in your notifications list as soon as conditions are reached again.
The feedback from Sensing+™ field trials growers is that the notifications is a powerful, time-saving feature, as it acts as a timely prompt for them in the event of adverse conditions.
As we roll our more features in the Sensing+™ mobile app, we’ll be continuously refining and adding to the capabilities of the notifications experience.
Stay tuned for our next product update which will delve into Sensing+™ hardware, including the components that have been manufactured by leading engineers at Bosch.