LX have created a range of IoT products that can be used in numerous AgTech applications, drawing on their deep experience in product development services for connected devices. The products, which include connected sensors, trackers and accessories, were recently chosen from a competitive tender process for inclusion at the DATA Farm project at Longerenong Agricultural College in Horsham, Victoria. DATA is an acronym for Demonstration of Agricultural Technology Applications, and the aim of this project is to provide a best in class platform for Smart Farming in Australia. 

DATA Farm Overview
The DATA Farm in Numbers
LX IoT products in Smart Farming
IoT Connected Farms – A Future View

Data Farm Overview

The DATA Farm project commenced in July 2019, with the goal to be fully functional by the end of 2020. This initiative is part of a smart farming partnership where The Wimmera – Southern Mallee Regional Partnership joined with a range of leading organisations including the Wimmera Development Association, Longerenong College, Skillinvest Ltd, Birchip Cropping Group and Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water to develop the business case for the DATA Farm.  

The DATA Farm is a component of a larger project known as AgTIDE (Ag Technology, Innovation, Development & Extension) and the project was funded by a grant from the Victorian State Government. The DATA Farm component involves a fully-enabled smart farm, covering around 1,070 hectares, at Longerenong College, or ‘Longy’ as it’s affectionately known.

Using best in class smart farming technologies and IoT products, the data collected on the farm will be aggregated and displayed across dashboards within a ‘spaceship command style’ learning environment.

The vision is that the farm will showcase and educate on the application of smart farming systems in a real-life operating environment. Students, Agronomists, researchers, growers and both local and international visitors will be able to learn more about how data from connected IoT systems can be used to inform and lead key operational decisions, leading to efficiencies across process, time and resource use. For students it is the ideal learning environment and for growers; a platform for practical based training in new technologies designed to enhance their business. 

The DATA Farm in Numbers

Across the Farm, more than 30,000 data points will be collected per day as well as imagery from a number of cameras. The data will be displayed and analysed on dashboards developed by LX. The data from these sensors will also support harvest data and remote crop and paddock data from satellites, drones and a vehicle-mounted topsoil mapper.

Over 250 LX devices will be deployed across the DATA Farm

One of the exciting outcomes of the DATA farm being at Longerenong Agricultural College will be the introduction of digital agriculture content into all of their courses so that students can take this knowledge into their future careers in the industry or back to their family farms.

LX IoT Products in Smart Farming

The LX product ecosystem is underpinned by the Blue Node, a static sensing node. It works on a 1:1 or 1:2 basis with sensors for measuring multiple different data streams and has been configured to work with versions of sensors you already know, like the Davis Weather Station. LX’s IoT Sensors and trackers were not specifically designed for Smart Farming and the range of applications is potentially limitless. However, when the DATA Farm project was announced, it was obvious that there were clear correlations between the existing functionality of the Blue Node and the requirements of the DATA Farm project.

The beauty of the LX IoT product range is that, as a connected ecosystem, it is designed to work both as a single blue node and sensor collecting one form of data and also through the application of large numbers of nodes and sensors, aggregating various data streams into one intuitive user interface.

With the ability to connect a Blue Node to existing sensors for measuring everything from leaf wetness to soil moisture to a complete weather station, LX products could be deployed across a smart farm to collect thousands of key data points at a frequency configured to the needs of the user.

The Node itself is hard wearing and it’s IP67 water and dust rating makes it ideal for use in rural areas. Added to this its simple ‘plug and play’ installation design and easy to use dashboards for data visualisation, and it is easy to see the value the range could bring to a project like the DATA Farm.

Speaking about LX’s application, John Goldsmith, Longerenong College Head of Campus and General Manager said,

“LX were awarded the DATA Farm sensor and platform tender after an extensive selection process.  They have illustrated high level ongoing commitment to the project already, ensuring the DATA Farm will be a world class facility servicing the broadacre cropping industry.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the LX products for smart farming, click below to speak to our Sales and Installation Lead, Ben.

High technology innovations for increasing productivity in agriculture

IoT connected Farms – A Future View

So what is the future of farming and technology? Taking the DATA Farm project as a basis, in the immediate term we’ll hopefully see the wider adoption of smart farming systems. This technology is about enabling farmers to make decisions using not only their knowledge and the standard sensory input i.e. what they can see, smell, touch, but also with data providing insights into the ‘unseen’.

On a micro level the use of IoT in an agricultural setting, be that cropping, livestock or horticulture, is able to improve efficiencies for the operator. That could be time saved by removing manual checking of levels like tank water or rain gauges, or peace of mind about livestock security. 

On a macro level, we see benefits around preservation of resources and protection of local ecosystems. Particularly when operators adopt this technology at scale. Imagine if every farmer was utilising an IoT system to reduce pesticide spray drift and leaching into local natural habitats. The impact that smart farming technologies could have on such a practise would be positive and far reaching. 

Added to this, the global conversations around how we efficiently feed a population that is rapidly outstripping current production. Then the question becomes not ‘Why should we adopt smart farming technologies’ but ‘can we afford not to?’

chrisharoldLX IoT sensors driving Innovation in AgTech

Inspiration has struck. You’ve identified not just a need within your market, but an idea for an innovative, IOT-driven solution that has the potential to benefit both your customers and your company.

So what comes next? Do you file a patent? Hop on the first jet to China to start consulting with prospective manufacturing partners?

Although it may be fun to start brainstorming branding or putting together prototypes, a solid IOT development process begins with an assessment of two key factors: technical and commercial feasibility.

Determining Technical Feasibility

The goal of determining an idea’s technical feasibility is simple: can the product be made?

Of course, actually answering this question is much more challenging. Determining whether or not an idea is feasible from a technical standpoint requires that you first define its desired performance attributes. What specifically does the product need to do? Every individual feature adds technical complexity, which is why it’s worth considering which features are truly critical and which might be saved for future releases or product line extensions.

The answers to these questions will inform the selection of your product’s key technology, though your starting point will vary. Are you trying to integrate existing IOT technology into one of your current products? If not – if you’ll be building a new, bespoke product from the ground up – which technology stack components will be required, and how will the architecture be structured?

Determining technical feasibility begins with this type of ideation, but then progresses through stages of prototyping, user testing, product documentation and engineering sample creation before manufacturing at scale can begin.

Evaluating Commercial Feasibility

Technical considerations are only half the battle. Commercial feasibility asks, “can the product be sold?”

Again, there are many variables that must be taken into consideration, including the way the solution needs to be priced in order to be profitable, relative to the price point your market will support. If your IOT wearable must be priced at $250 to sustainably turn a profit, while competitors are priced at $50, you’ll face a hard road towards commercial success – even if your idea is technically feasible.

Other questions to ask at this stage include:

  • Is there measurable demand for the type of product I plan to create?
  • What will it cost to reach my target customers?
  • Which distribution channels will be most appropriate for my product, and how easily can I access them?
  • Does the product have long-term sales or recurring revenue potential that’ll offset initial development costs?
  • Are there any potential legal issues, regulatory challenges or other risks that could negatively impact my ability to sell my product?

Questions like these become even more critical if you’ll be raising funds for your IOT solution (rather than financing its development yourself). You can expect that an investor will examine every aspect of your commercial objectives before handing over any of their hard-earned capital.

Finding an IOT Development Partner

If you’ve never waded into the waters of IOT development before, you may find some of these questions to be impossible to answer. If you aren’t an engineer, for example, you may have no idea what the term “full stack” means – let alone how to apply it to the planning process for your idea.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on your IOT dreams. It just means that you need a partner who can guide you through the process. At LX Group, we offer a range of Fast Start and Launch Pad Workshops – ranging from initial idea validation sessions to immersive workshops that tap into our broad technical and commercial expertise – that are appropriate for startups, SMEs and large enterprises like Actron, Telstra and Vodafone.

Taking the Next Steps

There’s nothing like the excitement of a new idea. If you’ve got an IOT idea that ticks all the boxes of technical and commercial feasibility, know that the road from idea to execution can be a long, but exciting one.

To learn more about how LX Group can support you on this path, book a free, confidential call with our team or call +61 2 9209 4133.

chrisharoldYou’ve Got an IOT Idea. What Comes Next?

LX is excited to be named by Analytics Insight Magazine as one of the Top 10 Most Valuable IoT Companies to Watch in 2019. “It’s a huge honour to be included in this list of companies”, says Founder and Director, Simon Blyth. “We are excited about where the industry is going, and our part within it.”

The accolade recognises companies offering intelligent and highly scalable IoT solutions, laying a path to success for thousands of global companies planning to shape their digital transformation journey across industries.

LX is an award winning innovative IoT electronics product development company specialising in the creation of next-generation IoT devices. LX offers a range of tracking & sensing solutions (CATM1, NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, Bluetooth and WiFi) to help enterprises across a wide range of industries focus on generating value.

LX’s full-stack platform, IoT Cores, accelerates the development of the bespoke IoT devices from custom IoT hardware design through to the cloud backend. LX also undertakes the turnkey design of custom embedded systems and wireless technologies from concept through to production.

Contact LX Group for more information about our IoT products and bespoke solutions.

chrisharoldLX Named as one of the Top 10 IoT Companies to Watch in 2019
The know how of branding

The know how of branding

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chrisharoldThe know how of branding

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chrisharoldThe birth of a new brand

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chrisharoldThe corporate style rules