Krucial Co-founder and CTO Kevin explains the benefits of satellite communications to the aquaculture sector.
This article originally appeared on Fish Farming Expert at Fish farmers ‘must look to space for connectivity’
By Kevin Quillien, co-founder and CTO of Krucial (formerly R3-IoT)
Aquaculture’s ambition to feed the world sustainably and affordably is as big and bold as they come. Not only do operations need to be as streamlined and efficient as possible, minimising the impact on the environment is also crucial. To achieve that goal, we need a better understanding of our waters than ever before, which means more and better data. Reliable connectivity – and going beyond that to make the most of data collected – is a must.
My background is in the space industry, and I’ve seen for myself the time and money invested into new satellite technology. What I don’t see enough of is an effort to leverage those satellites to help businesses on the ground. Aquaculture is a sector challenged by remote operations, so will benefit hugely from satellite technology to improve connectivity, digitise, and gain new insights that better data provides.
As co-founder of Krucial, I spend a lot of time with people working in aquaculture to hear first-hand the main barriers to digitisation, and connectivity is among the most common. Remote locations are hindered by unreliable or non-existent connectivity infrastructure – and if there is a significant data blind spot, how can critical business decisions be fully informed?
It’s time to look to space. By using satellites on orbit to enable digital transformation on the ground, we no longer need to count on local infrastructure. And by embracing digitisation with smart devices on the ground, like sensors, we can shine a spotlight on operational areas we currently don’t know enough about.
Modern devices can measure metrics from water quality to equipment condition, and the resulting data can unlock more sustainable practices, improve feed efficiency and benefit fish welfare.
Take oxygen levels as an example. Ensuring correct oxygen levels within a pen is crucial – it directly impacts fish growth, mortality and overall welfare. Ideally, an operator would have constant and precise access to oxygen readings from any and every pen across their farms, providing them with the means to act quickly if a problem arises. Digitising the traditional way would require reliable connectivity coverage across all sites which is usually impossible – seamless satellite fallback removes local infrastructure constraints and enables digitisation anywhere and everywhere.
Utilising satellite technology can unlock large scale digitisation, so rather than being forced to ask ‘what do I currently know with the limited data I can collect at my sites?’, operators should ask themselves ‘what am I missing out on because of the data I CAN’T collect at my sites?’.
I was keen that Krucial solve the challenge not just of connectivity, but fully resilient end-to-end data services. With more sites now further offshore, reliance on cellular is a roll of the dice – especially when extreme weather can knock out a network. The ability to leverage multiple communication technologies at once is vital, and that is what Connected Seafarm doesn. When cellular service was recently knocked out across Western Scotland due to storms, our technology automatically switched to satellite to continue operating so the company still received uninterrupted data from its assets.
Going beyond connectivity
Satellite connectivity alone isn’t enough to digitise. Data collection and communication is only one piece of the puzzle – interpretation of the data is where value is truly unlocked. Our Aquatics Platform has been developed to securely process, store, access, and visualise data that has been collected across all connected sites. This allows users of the platform to turn raw numbers collected and transmitted from farms into better, faster data-driven decisions that improve business outcomes.
Digitising can be daunting – determining what technologies to invest in, what metrics to measure, and what staff to train will all play a part in the success of a digitisation effort. Resilient connectivity and genuinely useful interpretation of data is what will lead to a new era in aquaculture – which is why we’ve worked hard to make both a reality.
Connected Seafarm is the answer to unreliable cellular connectivity and power outages. It’s how you digitise all your farms and assets, no matter how remote.
If the cell network fails, satellite kicks in. If the power goes down – or mains power simply isn’t an option its designed to work off-grid. In short, that means secure always-on connectivity. From any location. No lag. No blindspots.
Connected Seafarm provides a complete ‘drop-in’ end-to-end solution: a private network, sensor options, secure connectivity, cloud and data insights dashboard. Everything is installed in less than six hours – with no specialist skills or training needed. Simply connect smart devices, such as sensors, to automate two-way data transmission via a secure LoRaWAN network across multiple pens, farms and infrastructure. Replicate your farm layout with our aquaculture insights dashboard to visualize and interpret live and historic data pen-to-pen data. Or integrate into your existing business systems.