Precision Agriculture & Water Management with WaterBit
On this week’s episode of Real World IoT, host Ken Briodagh discusses water conservation through IoT with Co-Founder and President of Waterbit, Manu Pillai WaterBit is a precision ag irrigation company with a mission to optimize water use in farming across the globe. By means of IoT technology, they have produced unobtrusive, easy to use, and reliable systems that can translate data in real time, allowing farmers to water their crops in the right locations at just the right times. WaterBit is directly helping to translate technology into tangible value for growers and, with a recent $11.4M Series A financing round in June 2018, their impact will only continue to grow.
With the typical alternating wet-dry farming practice, rice farming is extremely water intensive, with single farms using billions of gallons of water every year. While financially costly, these large water fields are also known to produce high levels of methane and greenhouse gasses which are harmful to the environment. In a recent case study, Kanpeki Rice, located in California, partnered with WaterBit to use its precision irrigation solutions to enhance its growing process. With access to real-time measurements of soil moisture and temperature levels, farmers at Kanpeki were able to transition towards a drier farming practice. By pinpointing the optimal times to water the fields, they were actively reducing weed growth nutrient loss, while also decreasing their water costs. In the end, Kanpeki experienced a 33% improvement overall, and surprisingly, was producing yields 4-6 times better than rice yields in Asia.
Kanpeki is just one example, but its results show great promise for the smart ag industry. While the possibility of large, indoor, vertical farms may be among conversation for addressing the rising concerns about the world hunger crisis, Pillai argues this is a first-world solution. Though these artificial ecosystems have proven to produce impressively high yields, they require large amounts of reliable energy, which is not always accessible. However, whether it is indoors or out, agriculture is still one of the world’s largest employers and most important industries for sustaining human life. For most farms, the goal is to produce good products, that are free of chemicals and taste good, and to do this they must have good water and good soil — both of which can be optimized by specialized WaterBit sensors. With a goal to make amazingly simple technology that can adjust to unique environments, efficiently use resources, and eliminate worry from farmers across the globe, WaterBit is on a mission for positive growth, and the possibilities of positive changes are endless.
Strong B2B partnerships and the desire for connectivity will carry this industry forward. While the population may be growing, with the support of IoT, the world is getting smaller every day and it is an exciting time to be in the middle of it. Stay tuned for our next episode of the Real World IoT podcast. If you’d like to learn more about how 151 Advisors’ IoT consultants can help you adopt your own IoT strategy, please contact us today.