Computer Merchants has developed a reputation for early engagement with customers working on very complex issues. Recently we were engaged with a company solving some unique IT problems around big data.

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

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 expressed by Slade and Marjolein 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?

Computer Merchants work with EcoThought and supply them with software, servers and networking infrastructure as well as assisting them with their concepts. Want to see how we can help you? Contact Computer Merchants on 1800 777 111 or Click Here!

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