Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 05.09.2018.| 15:45
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Controllers manage irrigation straight from your home – Smart Watering Solutions develops software for remote control of irrigation systems

– I entered the world of Agriculture which had nothing to do with my field of expertise quite spontaneously. It began when I planted a hazel tree back in the Fall of 2015 and when I decided to buy a device that would give me, a small, amateur farmer, remote control of the watering system. However, there was no right product on the market for it. So I decided to take the matter into my own hands and I started building a device and writing a software that will enable to control and manage the watering of my hazels remotely. After three moths of work we got the first version of the device which we thereafter continued to develop.
This is how Lazar Jovanovic, one of the founders of Smart Watering Solutions company explained how he came to connect agriculture and IT in his business idea. Talking to eKapija portal he said that precision in agriculture is well established in the Western countries for 10 years now, while the concept in Serbia is still relatively new and in development.

– However, when our farmers, at least the ones who are just starting out, see the advantages of the precise farming they invest more and more in this type of equipment which helps the production and which is certainly the future, Lazar pointed out.

Smart Watering controllers are smart electronic devices which are controlled with mobile and web applications. They have a two-fold role – to collect the data about the state of the land plot and at the same time to manage the process of irrigation and replenishing plant nutrients.

According to our collocutor remote control irrigation system is a new product on Serbian market. It is a remote and programmable system who can be easily adjusted according to the buyer`s wishes. The land plot should preferably have electricity and cellular network range and those are only requirements needed to use the system.

– The greatest benefit for the user is that in only several clicks they can programme their irrigation process and all the parameter relevant to their land plot are at their disposal. That is how an important part of the process is automatized without having to be plot, Lazar pointed out and added that the basic idea here was to make the management of irrigation systems more economic. The main goal for Serbia is to “ improve the irrigation systems, optimize and reduce water consumption which will in turn save time and money and increase production.”
Lazar Jovanovic and Zoran Djukic
The first version of the software and the controller were released in 2016 but Lazar Jovanovic and Zoran Djukic, the founders of Smart Watering Solutions are still, after nearly three years, working on developing and improving the solution. They have consultants and collaborate with people with years of experience in irrigation systems
and together they are work on solutions which are attractive for the market.

- Our first prototype required several thousand euros. Since we went through many iterations and versions of the product the total amount was over tens of thousands of euros.

Farmers and especially fruit growers who own land plots up to 50 ha are their target group. They proudly state that in some way their clients are also their chief partners who constantly help them to improve their systems and to make them even better and more competent. Their partners also include the irrigation systems distributors and watering system designers and manufactures.

- We are pleased with the results achieved so far but we certainly strive to make them better. We want,through friendly relations we have with our customers, to develop solutions they need. Our main challenge are the sales, how do we reach the customer. Often the large number of people involved in the irrigation project execution presents another challenge since our solution is a part of a complex system and represents its brains. However, we are working to avoid these issues in the future, Lazar Jovanovic underlined.

Smart Watering solutions was one of the seven teams that were chosen for Delta Business Incubator mid-July. They expect for this experience to show them how scalable their business is and whether they have the chance in large agricultural systems with areas of land over 100 ha. Their mentors are people with with decades of experience in fruit growing and melioration so Lazar and Zoran hope to bring their mentors` experience and their own knowledge together in order to create a product that could also compete on the world market.

– We plan to integrate our software into weather stations by different manufacturers and we want to create solutions which will have learning mechanisms, with complete automation of the irrigation systems as the end goal, Lazar Jovanovic concluded in his interview with eKapija.

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