Rural Connectivity: Emerging Options for Farms
Time & Location
About the Event
We talk to countless growers that struggle with connectivity while out and about on their farms. And while innov8.ag is an ag data-focused company, we know that connectivity is critical to not only collecting data to enable new scenarios, but enabling growers to ACCESS the data contextually while on the go.
In August, the innov8.ag team had the opportunity to work with our close partners at Microsoft on a global hackathon project where we addressed the dilemma of growers not having enough connectivity to operate their farm/orchard operation at full potential. Whether it be connecting with irrigation leads to view/discuss a water main blowout, calling team members while growers are in-canopy to let someone know that they forgot to spray row C, or being able to see sensor data - soil moisture, imagery, data from a sensor. Growers more often than not, simply just don't have enough wireless connectivity to complete these kinds of tasks. To learn more about our connectivity hackathon project with Microsoft, please take a moment to view our recent blog "Connectivity for Farmers"
With technology becoming more and more dependent upon the exchange of data over wireless connections (even something as simple as a text message) there's an increasing need to build infrastructure where that connectivity is lacking. This need to build network infrastructures is far more prevalent and difficult to do in industries like agriculture due to wide open spaces w/ limited population - which is how carriers typically justify network investment. Sadly, this creates a tremendous disservice for growers as the cost to install infrastructure such as fixed wireless systems or mesh networks, is often times extremely cost prohibitive for most sized farms. As any industry works where the larger corporations are the first to break through on what seems like insurmountable obstacles, so too do larger farms that have more resources to invest in implementing connectivity for new scenarios such as equipment automation. But in reality, this may disadvantage small farms that already have insane amounts of pressure from rising costs and diminishing returns. So the balance is finding breakthroughs that can help both large & smaller farms alike.
So what's different about 5G and edge computing? 5G of course brings higher speeds, enables new scenarios inclusive of Private LTE & CBRS (enabling growers to potentially supplement "mobile connectivity dead zones"), while edge computing brings high-CPU/GPU processing closer to the user/equipment for processing lots of imagery/video...without having to move the data all the way up to the cloud for processing.
5g Food Resiliency Project:
innov8.ag was privileged to be invited to be a startup member of the "5G Open Innovation Lab" alongside Intel, T-Mobile, NASA, Microsoft, Amdocs, Dell, and VMware, where we will explore and test the viability of bringing affordable connectivity to a lacking industry and community. We see a tremendous amount of value in helping one of the largest industries in the world to get appropriate amounts of service to increase productivity and profitability.
On Feb. 2nd, 2021 innov8.ag, alongside its partnership with the 5G Open Innovation Lab announced the opening of it's First Application Development Field Lab for the agricultural industry. The goal of this operation is to provide access to real-time data for food resiliency and supply chain logistics. The Food Resiliency Project, an economic development initiative funded by a grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), establishes a virtual and physical space for Snohomish County to bring together food growers, and distributors with technology companies to collaboratively develop new capabilities that will improve the resiliency of Snohomish County’s agriculture sector and minimize future food service disruptions for consumers and regional agribusiness.
About the Lab:
The 5G Open Innovation Lab is a global ecosystem of developers, start-ups, enterprises, academia and government institutions working together with start-ups to fuel the development of new 5G & edge compute capabilities, use cases and market categories that will transform the way we work, live and play, both now and in the future. By being funded by Intel, T-Mobile, NASA, Microsoft, Amdocs, Dell, and VMware this Lab provides developers at all stages unparalleled access to open platforms, enterprises and markets needed to create, test and deploy new use cases and innovations for 5G w/ edge computing. Overall, the use cases will cover industries like Manufacturing, Energy Utility, Retail, Agriculture, Transport & Logistics, Media & Entertainment, Autonomous Vehicles, and lastly Space & Satellites.
Andrew Nelson- Grower at Nelson Wheat
innov8.ag is proud to work alongside Andrew Nelson who is a grower and is also on our Advisory Board. Andrew, a fifth generation farmer in the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington farms 9,000 acres of dryland wheat with his brother Bruce Nelson, his wife, and two sons. Hear personally from Andrew on how he's stuggled with connectivity and the alternatives that he's taken to better manage his farm.
Prior to Andrew continuing on with the family tradition, he was a software consultant in the Seattle area and led many software teams in developing solutions for multiple Fortune 100 companies. Receiving a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington has provided him with extensive knowledge both in technical and business management skills. This not only allows Andrew to successfully continue his career as a farmer but also in consulting as a software developer.
Scott Waller- CEO and Co-founder of Thingy, LLC
Scott has over 25 years in Networking and Telecommunications. Spent 10 years at Microsoft as an Architect and then 14 years at Cisco in Engineering, Sales, and Senior Leadership; leading teams to over $500MM in annual sales to the Microsoft and Amazon accounts. Outside of the day job he was a volunteer Firefighter for 10 years and has been a volunteer ski patroller for 17 years now. He's always applied technology to these life-safety and first responder activities and has developed a number of programs for Avalanche safety and wildfire detection.
The wildfire sensor was what started Thingy IOT, now a leader in LoRaWAN networks. Thingy IOT is an Integrator, Developer, and Consultant in all things LP-WAN solving the challenges of connectivity in Environmental monitoring and Agriculture.
Scott decided to leave Cisco in late 2019 to dedicate my time to growing Thingy IOT and LoRaWAN networks in the US markets.
Todd Brandenburg- President and CEO of PocketiNet
Todd Brandenburg is an accomplished Senior Executive and Entrepreneur with more than 35 years of success in the telecom, engineering - IP/video services, wide area network, surveillance, and security industries. Leveraging extensive experience in administration of radio station groups and broadcast engineering, he is a valuable asset for mid-cap and startup tech-related companies entering a new market built around the Internet, product development, funding, and finance. His broad areas of expertise include executive leadership, P&L, budget responsibility, financial and business model strategy, strategic development and implementation of highly technical products and services, and development of teams.
Throughout his executive career, Todd has held leadership positions at PocketiNet Communications and Bridge Broadcasting. He is the President and CEO of PocketiNet, a regional telecom company that he founded. Technologies and services include construction and operation of Fiber Optic Networks in multiple areas, Active Ethernet, GPON, Fixed Wireless, Dedicated Microwave, VDSL, VOIP via AWS Cloud Phone service, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Networks, Home Automation and Security Services, Video Surveillance systems, Managed WiFi and Routing services, as well as video streaming services. PocketiNet is unique in that it has built its infrastructure in methodical ways over the years to grow capacity and customer base in response to customer need. Todd has enjoyed building the company and its team over the years including the development of new products while continuing to innovate. Prior to starting PocketiNet, Todd was the Vice President of Bridge Broadcasting, a local three radio station group company. In that role, he oversaw the development of markets in radio advertising for many Eastern Washington cities.