Melbourne-based partners, DiUS and CiBUS Group, have collaborated on the creation of technology that is aimed at improving processes within the agri-business space.
Both companies designed a connected intelligent fertiliser tank that tracks conditions and usage to help farmers better manage their fertiliser.
The monitoring solution also notifies fertiliser suppliers when the bins are full to reduce costly trips to re-fill containers that may not be needed.
The solution was created at a week-long Hackathon run by Telstra, with the solution eventually winning the 2017 Telstra Innovation Challenge award under the public stream category.
Focused for the first time on agricultural Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, DiUS and CiBUS Group stood out from the rest of the pack for having the potential to solve some current industry challenges, especially ones that confront Aussie farmers.
Both companies decided to embark on this innovation challenge following some recent projects they collectively worked on over the last six months as Amazon Web Services (AWS) partners.
CiBUS Group principal Richard Herbst told ARN both companies brainstormed on what the potential idea could be in that world and decided to single in on on-farm storage of liquid fertilisers, which could also apply to other products on farms.
“It addresses supply chain issues, whether that be for the farmer, distributor, or manufacturer," he said.
"We narrowed in on that specific input and then passed it over to the DiUS team to work on the tech side of things."
DiUS senior consultant Zoran Angelovski told ARN that this was then handed over to its team of four consultants and engineers from DiUS to formulate a solution.
“As a business, we develop custom solutions on IoT platforms," Angelovski said. "We span anywhere from user research and design to software development and also the embedded world – so hardware and firmware development.
"We have our own data scientists as well to solve problems using data from some of the IoT platforms we’ve created.
“So, for this collaboration, we developed an end-to-end solution based on Telstra kit and on its machine-to-machine (M2M) network and connecting to its cloud service.
"We created some cost-effective sensors for this idea that paired with Telstra technology."
Angelovski explained that the magnetic sensors determine levels, with data moving up the Telstra network into its data platform and becoming available through an API.
DiUS then develops a presentation based around what it determines the business problem to be.
“There are similar sensors out there in the market, but they are far too expensive to be viable from a commercial perspective," he said. "We developed a technique that was cheap, and that was the aim of the challenge for us."
According to Herbst, the agribusiness strategy partner is now talking to prospective clients about this solution.
“This was created in a week and is still in its infancy. There needs to be more thought and due diligence put into it but it’s in both of our ambitions to get this working into deals. Agriculture is the new frontier for some of this new technology and our previous partnership worked well for this challenge," Herbst added.
“The win proves that the work that DiUS and CiBUS are doing and the discussions that we’re having are relevant and are of value in the industry."
Both companies won a $10,000 prize for winning the challenge, which they have fully donated to the Flying Robot School program, an initiative that encourages rural children to pursue careers in STEM.