AgriSens helping the farmers by introducing precision agriculture – Modern IT solutions ever more present in farms
Although the two areas seem as far apart as they can be, globally, the search for the ways in which modern technologies may enhance agricultural production is well on its way. This is practically becoming an imperative, since the world population is facing the challenge of producing increasingly larger amounts of food using increasingly fewer resources.
– In essence, we came upon this idea by following global scientific and technological trends, and this area is known as precision agriculture. What characterizes the bond between the two sectors nowadays is a great gap between technological advancements and the potential they create and its practical implementation in solving real everyday problems of farmers and agricultural communities. In other words, using technological potentials, the end results for farmers and the usability in practice are coming into focus as the missing link, and in fact, this is the area in which we are innovating, even globally – Milan Dobrota, Managing Director of LOGIT Solutions, the company which has developed the software solution AgriSens, explains in his interview for eKapija.
The AgriSens technology works as a kind of expert system founded on a variety of computer vision techniques. The digital images are mostly captured by drones and then edited to provide farmers with concrete, succinct and usable information for various purposes.
– We have been developing the technology for nearly two years. At certain points, up to 20 experts worked on the project, which included not just IT experts, but also numerous associates from the fields of agronomy, statistics, electrical engineering, as well as marketing and sales, in order to successfully create a sustainable business model. Up to 10 experts, on average, have been continually employed on the development of the technology – Dobrota says for eKapija.
An investment worth hundreds of thousands of euros
The investments in AgriSens made so far measure in hundreds of thousands of euros. Our interviewee says that a part of the assets has been procured from the EU funds as an incentive for the development of innovative technological solutions in agriculture, whereas the rest has come from their own assets.
– Most of our clients are certainly agricultural producers who want to improve their production and reduce expenses and risks, followed by insurance companies which use the technology to estimate the damage and the premiums, seed producers and researchers in the area of agriculture, but also the public sector in the areas of legislation, supervision and planning in the agricultural sector – Milan Dobrota emphasizes.
AgriSens enables farmers to review the quality of plantations, the expected yield, areas endangered by various forms of plant stress, with minimal expenses and no special skills for using the modern technology required. Our interviewee says that potential clients aren't yet familiar enough with the benefits that the technology might provide them with, but that LOGIT Solutions is working hard on getting the message through to as many farmers as possible.
– I believe that the biggest contribution of AgriSens to raising awareness of the importance of the implementation of IT solutions in agriculture is the fact that we don't promote the technology as such, as something new and trendy, but its application, its usability and real benefits and values it can bring to clients. This is the key to popularizing the application of technology in any industry, including agriculture – Dobrota claims.
Further commercialization and market expansion planned
LOGIT Solutions cooperates very closely with the American company DroneDeploy on the AgriSens project. DroneDeploy is one of the most innovative and advanced companies in this area on a global level. Together, they are developing a platform which is a kind of an operating system for managing drones and processing the gathered images.
– Our application then, at the client's request, takes over the performing of an analysis in order to provide concrete information to farmers, which makes this cooperation an ideal bond – Milan Dobrota says and adds that they are very satisfied with what has been achieved so far, although the technology and its commercialization are still in their early stages.
– This is not just our opinion, as the professional community, which monitors our progress attentively, thinks so as well. Our main challenge is to constantly balance between enhancing the existing applications and demands of the clients and the development of new applications, also in line with the client's demands. More precisely, the possibilities are enormous, and even though we have the competence and the know-how, resources are always limited – eKapija's interviewee emphasizes.
Milan Dobrota says that the plans for the coming period mostly pertain to increased commercial activities and the expansion of the application of the existing product in the global and local markets, but also to research and development (R&D) in order to be able to provide the clients with as much quality information as possible.